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Doctortear

Fire Emblem: Brave Unknown IC

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Inigo/Laslow Soleil user posted imageuser posted image

One might think that an interdimensional time traveler who fought in three wars against god-like dragons intent on destroying the world would be prepared for anything. Just repeating the term “interdimensional time traveler” in his head made Inigo want to laugh at the absurdity of it. His utterly ridiculous life felt more like something out a fantasy book, a poorly written one at that, than something he had actually lived through. After everything that had happened to him, Inigo should have realized that his life wasn’t going to stay in a cycle of normalcy forever, but, just as always, he was completely caught off guard when his vision was suddenly swarmed with light.

Minutes before the the light flashed in Inigo’s eyes, he was sitting in a cafe with Soleil, sipping a cup of tea as she gushed about a cute girl she saw the previous day. Xander’s day was fill to the brim with all sorts of engagements most of which were audiences that consisted of various nobles who were eager tell the king about their demands and woes. Since there were plenty of guards in the throne room already, there was no need for Inigo or Peri to be there. Instead, Inigo could spend time with his daughter which he, as always, enjoyed greatly.

“You should have seen the dog she was walking,” Soleil said as Inigo lowered his cup. “It was huge—” Soleil held her arms apart to emphasize just how giant the dog was. “—and so fluffy! The girl—her name was Celine by the way—stopped so I could pet the dog and he just sat there with his tongue rolled out. She said his name was Mr. Meatball! Isn’t that a great name? He was such a good boy, he was really friend and—have you ever ran into a girl with a big dog before?”
“Not one as big as the one you’re talking about,” Inigo replied, unable to squash the grin growing on his lips. “Anyways,” Soleil continued, “She said he was only two years old! Isn’t that young for a dog? Oh, but she had the cutest smile on her face when I said…”

Inigo never heard the rest of Soleil’s story. Just as she was beginning to explain what she said to Celine, Inigo’s vision burst into white. He let out a yelp of confusion as the chair underneath him suddenly vanished, causing him to flail wildly in the open air as he fell onto the ground with an undignified “oof”. The blinding light remained for only a few heartbeats longer before dispersing abruptly, leaving Inigo to stare up at bright blue sky. For a moment, Inigo couldn’t bring himself to move, let alone process what had just happened through his muddled thoughts. He could do little more than breath as he stared up at the sky that was far too warm and inviting for Nohr and yet too familiar to belong in Hoshido.

“Dad? Where are you?”
Hearing his daughter's voice snapped Inigo out of his momentary daze.
“Soleil?” He called as he pushed himself off the ground. He glanced around frantically, calling Soleil a second time and third time before spotting her standing a few feet away, glancing nervously to and fro. Inigo sighed in relief as tension building up his chest melted away.
“Soleil,” he called as he marched towards her. “I’m over here! Are you alright?”

The delighted expression on Soleil’s was just as heartwarming as her unexpected scream was heart-wrenching. Her expression shifted as she knitted her eyebrows in confusion. Inigo stood in place, glancing over his shoulder to see what had made Soleil panic.
“Soleil?” Inigo asked as he looked around. “What’s wrong?” Soleil bit her lip anxiously as she shifted her feet.
“You’re uh face,” she said, not quite meeting Inigo’s gaze. “Or rather, your hair and right eye. They’re… different.”
“Different?” Inigo asked with a kindhearted chuckle. “What could you possibly—” Inigo closed his mouth as realization flooded over him. He had been in Nohr for so long that he had nearly forgotten that his appearance had been altered. It was necessary to look different while he was in Nohr least someone recognize him, but the magic that made him look different was supposed to have lasted throughout his entire stay. The spell couldn’t have reversed, could it?

Gingerly, Inigo raised his hand and plucked out a strand of hair. Inigo’s breath caught in his throat at the sight of the navy strand that should have been gray. Instinctively, Inigo’s shaking hand shot up to his right eye. Part of him wanted to ask Soleil to describe what his eye looked like, but he already knew what her answer would be. After so many years, Inigo knew he would recognize the Mark of the Exalt in an instant.

Inigo turned around, desperate to hide his bewildered expression from Soleil, as he dug his nails into his chest with one hand and covered his mouth with the other. His eyes wandered the landscape, taking in open plains before him. He knew this place—the Northroad. There was no way he was back in Nohr but, oh gods, how did he return to Ylisse? Were Owain and Servera back as well? Who was the Exalt? Father? Lucina? Gods, he didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye to everyone. How would everyone react once they realized he had simply vanished? Would any of his friends, Azura, Mozu, Saizo, and Keaton, among others go looking for him? Would Peri mourn the lose of her fellow retainer? How would Xander feel?

“Dad, are you alright?” Inigo had nearly forgotten that Soleil was standing right behind him. He gasped softly, straightening his back as he heard his daughter approach.
No, he thought to himself. I have to be strong for her. She can’t see me like this. Plastering a grin upon his face, Inigo spun around.
“Everything is just sunshine and rainbows!” he beamed with a wink. “I just didn’t recognize where we were for a second, that’s all.” The concern in Soleil’s face momentarily subsided as she suddenly perked up.

“So you know where we are?” Soleil asked, her voice filled with hope.
“Absolutely!” Inigo replied, smiling wider as Soleil grinned back at him. The Northroad was a roadway that connected Southtown to Ylisstol. If Inigo wanted to figure out how he and Soleil were teleported to Ylisse, their best bet was to speak to the Exalt who, coincidentally, was related to the two. Unfortunately, traveling to the capital would take several days, and without supplies, Inigio and Soleil would sooner face starvation or dehydration than reach the city. Inigo knew the Northroad intimately and, judging by where they currently were, Southtown was only a few hours away. If that was the case…

“Before we do anything, we’ll need to get some supplies,” Inigo announced. “There’s a town not too far from here. We can gather what we need there and then head off on our way. I know someone who might able to help us. Sound good?” Soleil opened her mouth like she wanted to ask something, but Inigo, still astonished by his unexpected arrival to his homeland, was not in the mood for answering question. “No? Alright, let’s go! I’ll explain everything on the way!” Not waiting for a reply, Inigo turned around and began heading down the road to Southtown.

Truth be told, Inigo wasn’t sure where to begin explaining nor was he sure he had the mental and emotional capacity to inform Soleil about his history and just exactly where they were. Despite all his confusion and the amalgamation of conflicting emotions bouncing around in his head, Inigo could look back, see Soleil chasing after him with her never-ending enthusiasm evident in her smile, and know that he wasn’t going to go through this alone.

—————

  Forrest user posted image

It had been a terrible day. Forrest took pride in his ability to shake off nasty comments and care only about the opinions of those who mattered. Unfortunately, Forrest wasn’t always able to keep his feelings at bay. He had an argument with his father in the morning over something silly, and his entire day had been captivated by what was said during that exchange. What his father said was nothing new, but it had somehow struck a chord within Forrest. He felt disgust and angry writhe through his body throughout the entire day. He could cover his emotions when he didn’t let the memories resurface, but he found himself unable to think about anything else. Forrest knew he couldn’t stay cool and composed with so many emotions flitting through his mind so, he went to the one place he could calm down: the lake.

Save for sewing, there was nothing that calmed Forrest down more than riding alongside the lake. Ethlyn, his faithful mare, trotted quietly alongside the lake as Forrest stared down at the water. He had learned long ago that holding in tears didn’t help one bit, but that didn’t mean he was willing to bawl in front of Father. A shuddering breath escaped Forrest’s throat and he, realizing his cheeks were wet, pulled out a handkerchief from his pants and dabbed his tears away.

“This shouldn’t bother me,” Forrest said absentmindedly as he gently patted Ethlyn’s neck. “I’ve been through this hundreds of times.” Forrest chuckle darkly. “Father and I have always fought over small things. I should be used to it by now so why am I…?” Forrest didn’t even know what he was going to ask. He almost hoped that some magical force would tell him what it was he wanted to ask so maybe then he could understand why he was so upset. Alas, the world had nothing to offer and although Forrest could not find a way to distill his feelings, he could at least take some comfort in Ethlyn’s quiet, yet calming, presence.

He had rode Ethlyn by the lake for about two hours when her sharp whinny suddenly filled the air. Before Forrest had the time to process what had caused her to cry out, a blinding light flashed before his eyes. He let out a shriek of terror as his vision blanked out. For a moment, he was stuck in perpetual white and, just as soon as it came, the light vanished. When Forrest could see again, he was still mounted on Ethlyn who was whining in distress. Forrest’s first instinct was to lean down, rub her mane soothingly, and whisper calmly into her ear. After realizing that Ethlyn was not going to start running away, he loosened the rein before quickly surveying the nearby area.

It was a blessing that Ethlyn was naturally easy to calm, because Forrest wasn’t sure he’d be able to pacify a rowdy horse now that he realized where he was. Somehow, both he and Ethlyn had been transported to what Forrest could describe as the outskirts of a bustling city. Forrest had to lure Ethlyn towards the side of the road they were on once nearby passersby began shouting at them to get out of the way. Wiping his face with his sleeve, Forrest glanced around to get a better look at where he was. Realization hit Forrest like a brick once he glanced up at one of the nearby street signs. He was in Macarath, a city in Nohr that was quite far away from the lake he was by a few seconds ago. The only thing Forrest knew about Macarath was that his grandfather used to own a villa there. Besides that, he was utterly clueless. Dazed and still not sure he wasn’t somehow hallucinating, Forrest ushered Ethlyn to take a few steps backwards as he nervously glanced around, unsure how he arrived in Macarath or what to do next.

—————

Takumi  user posted image

“Hinata, did you seriously just try to jump on a boar’s back?”
“Oh come on, don’t tell me you weren’t thinking about doing it too!”
“I can assure you I wasn’t.”
“You don’t need to lie, Oboro. We all know you were thinking it too.”
I wasn’t!
“Will you two stop yelling at each other and help me kill this thing?”

Takumi’s retainers ceased their squabbling once Takumi spoke. He glared at the two and certainly would have shared a few choice words if there wasn’t a very large and extraordinarily angry boar just a few yards away from them. Takumi pointed towards the boar who had begun pawing the dirt as though it was preparing to charge. Oboro and Hinata followed Takumi’s finger, stiffening once they realized exactly what he was pointing at. “Could you two hold off on arguing until after the raging boar is dead?” Hinata and Oboro didn’t answer, but seeing as they took fighting stances, Takumi could assume they knew what to do.

Backing up, Takumi watched as Oboro and Hinata began to slowly advance upon the quarry. The boar shook its shaggy head wildly and snorted loudly as the two humans grew closer. Oboro kept the boar at bay with her lance, jumping back when the creature jumped towards her. Takumi swung the Fujin Yumi from his back to his right hand. Breathing in two quick sharp breaths, Takumi lifted the yumi and watched as the magical bowstring materialized. The dimly glowing blue bowstring tickled Takumi’s fingers when he pulled it back, causing an arrow to manifest and notch itself on the string. Watching as Oboro and Hinata leaped back from the boar, Takumi breathed out steadily. He counted in his head, feeling the tension within the string. One, Oboro sidestepped as the boar leaped forward. Two, Hinata slashed at the boar’s side, causing it to stumble over and gurgle out a strangled scream. Three—

Takumi’s vision blanked out. Stunned, Takumi gasped and let go of the string. His sight returned nearly instantly. He stared as he watched the arrow fly across and empty sand landscape, hitting absolutely nothing. He watched as the blue light dissipated into the distance, unable to comprehend what was going on. Lowering his yumi, Takumi glanced at his surroundings, blinking in wonder. He was in forest just a few moments ago, but now he was in the middle of what appeared to be an endless desert. A startled chuckle left Takumi because really, what else was he supposed to do? It had to be some sort of elaborate prank, a hex of some sort.

“Hinata, Oboro, are you seeing this?” he called out, laughing softly. “All I see is a desert, gods. Is the boar dead yet because I…” The corners of Takumi’s lips turned downward. No, this wasn’t right. Only nobles and royals could be in the forest he was hunting in and he didn’t know anyone who could perform a hallucinatory hex that affected every sense. Takumi could feel the unwavering heat of the sun and the coarse sand underneath his shoes. He could see the expansive desert and the sweat and blood Takumi could smell while in the forest was gone. No, this was no hex or, at least, no normal hex. Oboro or Hinata would have helped him by now if that was the case.

Takumi found himself stumped. If he was hexed, then there wasn’t really anything for him to do in order to get out of out. He’d have to be helped by an outside source, but gods knew how long that would take. If he wasn’t hexed then he didn’t know what to think. He couldn’t have been randomly teleported to a desert, could he? There was a small chance he had been transported outside of the Wind Tribe, but he was vaguely familiar with the desert near there. Checking the surroundings again, Takumi confirmed that yes, he had no idea where he was and yes, he was getting more and more pissed by the second.

“Well great,” Takumi muttered to himself. “Now what am I supposed to do?” He didn’t really know what to do in either possible scenario. Were people who were hexed aware of what was going on while they were hallucinating? Was being teleported somewhere else possible to reverse?
No, Takumi reassured himself. Forgot about figuring out what’s going on. Real or not, if I don’t get out of this desert soon I’m going to dehydrate. Takumi wasn’t sure what happened if someone died while being hexed, but he didn’t want to find out. Scanning the horizon once more, Takumi spotted what appeared to be a gathering of dark shapes. What was it, some rocks? People? A village? It didn’t matter. It was the only thing Takumi could see besides sand and the empty blue sky. Unsure of what was going on, but determined to not just stand around and do nothing, Takumi began to trek across the desert and towards whatever laid in the distance.

(Alright folks, you can go ahead and post! As mention in the OOC, only two worlds are opened up and maps are provided for each open zone. Inigo and Soleil are on the Northroad which is in Ylisse, Forrest is in Macarath which is in Nohr, and Takumi is in the Border Sands which is also in Ylisse. You can throw your characters wherever you like, but do keep in mind interactions may be hard if you're characters are nowhere near anyone else's. If you have any questions, head on over to the OOC!)

Edited by Doctortear

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There was a cold wind blowing today. Winter was coming to this part of the timeline, an icy chill which the person standing on the parapets of the castle knew very well. Almost too well. He brought his cloak closer around his shoulders as he gazed out upon the terrain he'd stared at each day for centuries.

A bustling town. People talking. A kingdom he ruled with his own hands. One he had built from the ground up following his conquering of it. So much he had done. So much he could still do. He laid both of his hands on the banister before him and sighed heavily, the crown on his head bearing far more weight than usual.

"Three hundred years it took for me to bring people here. To bring back what had been lost." he began, saddened. "Any other king... would have been pleased. Ryoma.... Xander... would this have been what you would have wanted?"

 

He put his hands on his face yet again as he had for many times and breathed deeply, avoiding the tears as memories flooded back into his skull. Every century had taken so much from him that he'd finally given up on crying.

There was a sound in the air as someone materialized behind him. He didn't have to look to know who it was.

 

"...My Queen?" Ryuusha asked, uncertain. "....What is it that you require of me?"

Behind him stood a female clad in miko-like garb, a fan clasped gingerly in her right hand. Further behind her, spirits coalesced and moved around her, searching, seeking, feeling her emotions. A book hung around her waist. Her hair fell down her backside, gold and blonde, but with a streak of pinkish-red near the front. She stood solemnly behind him, but she smiled as she always had.

"A game, perhaps?" she whispered, hopeful. "Anything that you wish, really, you silly King."

She moved to stand by him at the banister, leaning against it. Years ago, the people had all bowed in awe of her beauty. As she had aged as his Queen, so too had her form. The noble line of Hoshido was present in every feature and facet, but so were the features of her kitsune lineage as well. A child of human and kitsune blood, standing by him, her hand on his shoulder in a comforting fashion.

"I want to know what you truly desire from this world you created." she added, rubbing his arm. "Because I still don't know. And I hate not knowing things."

"...I wanted joy." he replied, leaning forward. "But I lost that long ago."

"How did you lose it?.... Do you need help finding it?" she asked innocently.

"It's not that easy, my love." Ryuusha chuckled. "I'm speaking about the actual feeling."

"Then how did you lose it?"

"I lost it when my brothers died. When my sisters died." he responded, sighing. "When your mother passed."

"But she died happily! She died without owing any favors. Without any regrets!" Selkie protested, hands clasped in fists. "But she wouldn't be happy if she saw you now..."

Ryuusha went silent for a moment, hiding his face from her in his arms.

 

"No, she probably would not. But what else am I supposed to feel? So much I have done but with no one to witness it - no one I know any longer." he corrected, turning to her.

"What about me?" she asked, forlorn. "I suppose I don't matter then?"

"NEVER say that!" he quickly said, putting both hands on her shoulders. "You mean FAR more than you realize.."

"Then why can't you be content with that?"

"I just wish... I just wish Ryoma and Xander could have known what I've done.... What I've tried to do... I wonder if they'd be proud... Or have I done it all wr-?"

He quickly wrapped his cloak around them both as a flash of light blinded him. His instincts for combat forced him to reach for his sword just as gravity seemed to leave him behind. Selkie released herself from his cloak to look around them both, but he held her close.

 

"Woah! What is this cool stuff going on?!" Selkie yelled out, excited, as she grabbed hold of his hand. The two of them soared through what appeared to be a tunnel, some form of wormhole. The appearance reminded him of the Dragon's Gate, but something was off.

Suddenly, a force grabbed hold of Selkie and began to drag her away from him. He refused to let her go, gazing ahead. He saw what the force was trying to do.

There were two paths up ahead, and it was pulling her to the one on the right. He couldn't hold on to her any longer. Furious, he grabbed her tightly one last time.

 

"I will not leave you for long." he promised, whispering into her ear as she looked at him confused. "Stay safe. Wait for me again... Please."

He pushed her away from himself, going down the path the force wished for HER to go, grabbing the hilt of his sword as he watched her fade into the other realm. He heard her screaming for him, her concern apparent. She had no idea what was happening either.

But Xander and Leo had taught him well, just as Ryoma and Takumi had. And Camilla. And ALL of his family. There was always a path. Always a way. He had found it once.

He'd find it again.

 

------

 

"Hidden power: BLACK FLAMES OF VENGEANCE!"

"You did that one before."

"Damn!" Owain grimaced. "You're right. Ophelia, write that one down and change it to something better. I have faith in you, prodigy of the night!"

"As you wish, Odin Dark, Lord of the Final Star!" Ophelia quickly grabbed a quill and penned it down in her special book - the one she had made JUST to make lists of his new ideas.

Severa took a drink of her tea as she leaned nonchalantly in her chair. Across from her sat her husband and her daughter, both entirely too dorky to be believed. Across the entire establishment sat Inigo and HIS daughter who were currently discussing something about dogs. Everyone was nuts. Severa sighed.

 

"Mother?"

Severa blinked, then turned to Ophelia, who was sitting in her chair with her red hair falling down her backside and almost over the chair. It reminded Severa of someone else... Someone ..older.. But she'd never compare her daughter to her.

"Yes, dearest Ophelia?" Severa changed her tune immediately, sincerely happy to be spoken to. The last half hour had been nothing but skill names and new ideas. Then again, this WAS their hour for that.

As part of their relationship plans, Owain had convinced Severa he would be less likely to name random weapons if he was given an hour a day to try to brainstorm as many as possible for later, and if she would critique them. Severa had decided this would be a good idea (anything to prevent him from doing it around newcomers) and had agreed quickly.

She didn't regret it, but she hadn't considered how fast the man could come up with ideas.

 

"How come you never try to come up with any new weapon ideas like Father does?" Ophelia asked, head cocked.

Severa gave her a glance.

"That's not my skill as a chosen one." she responded, taking another drink.

"Then what is it?" Ophelia pressed, interested. Owain was also leaning forward, his full attention now on the twintailed wife of his.

"Uh..." Severa began, putting her cup down. "It's ...um..."

She pondered for a moment.

"Oh, right. I'm the uh... the balancer of Odin's dark powers." Severa held out both hands, waving them for emphasis. "I'm needed in order to limit them and prevent them from going out of control."

"WOAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Owain and Ophelia said in unison. "OF COURSE!"

"You see I was... uh.. born under a star which makes me able to absorb.. magical energy!" Severa continued. "So I take it and keep it for later, and use it myself in combat and such."

"Fascinating, Mother!" Ophelia said, happy. "How genius!"

"Thank you thank you." Severa waved.

 

The three of them ate in silence for a moment before there was a sudden change of scenery. A blinding flash of light erupted, and a force grasped the three of them. Ophelia screeched in both fear and anger as she tried to reach for her magical tome.

"Unhand me, you beast!" Ophelia yelled, turning to her parents. "Mother! Father! Fear not! I will handle this situation quickly! They will learn the name of Ophelia Dusk!"

"Daughter, it's too late!" Owain grimaced for theatrical effect. "I FEAR WE MUST FOLLOW THIS PATH! But surely we shall remain safe so long as we stick together!"

"Of course!"

"YOU TWO ARE REALLY BEING CALM ABOUT THIS!" Severa screamed as the three of them were thrown through a tunnel. "WHAT IS THIS?! THE OUTREALMS?!"

She felt two hands interlace in both of her own and she sighed.

"But I guess as long as we all stay together..." she said, calming down slightly. "Fine fine. If you guys can be calm. I can be calm."

The three of them seemed to be flying just fine until a stronger force took hold of Ophelia. Severa struggled to keep a hand on her but her fingers began to slip.

"OWAIN! HELP ME GRAB HER HAND!" Severa screamed, but then realized what she said. Ophelia gave her an odd look but Owain quickly reached over, grasping her hand alongside Severa's.

"Selena, did you hear what you just said?!" he said quickly. "You called me some strange title!"

"IT DOESN'T MATTER RIGHT NOW! Help me keep her with u-"

But it was too late. Ophelia was torn from their grasps and hurled down another tunnel. The two tried to follow her but were pulled through another gate.

"OUR DAUGHTER! NO! I PROMISED I'D NEVER LEAVE HER! I'm not my mother! I'm not going to leave her behind!" Severa roared, trying to swim backward.

But the two of them were pulled into a new world....

 

-----

 

"Oh! What in the world?!"

Owain was laying face down as a familiar figure stood over him, her cloak billowing behind her.

"OWAIN!" she screeched, as she picked him up with inhuman strength and began to dance around. "Severa! Where on earth have you two been!? Have you seen your father?!"

"Mother?..." Owain asked, confused. He shook his head, releasing himself from her tight grasp and taking a pose.

"Wait, you possible illusion!" Owain yelled, putting a hand on his sword. "I have a question for you, to test your honesty!"

"...What." Lissa replied, concerned. "What game is it this time?"

"WHERE IS YOUR MARK OF THE EXALT?!" Owain pointed.

"....Wow, Owain. That's really mean." Lissa pouted. "I don't have one... I still don't. Isn't that really rude to say to your mother? Ugh, I guess you don't love me after all. Fine I'll go find your dad myself."

"MOTHER!" Owain shouted, embracing her. "I'M SO SORRY BUT IT WAS SO WEIRD THAT I HAD TO QUESTION IF YOU WERE REAL. GODS I'VE MISSED YOU! Oh I have so much to TELL you!"

"Oh, do you now?" Lissa frowned, crossing her arms and not returning the hug. "Well maybe since I don't have a Mark I shouldn't care!"

"PLEASE MOTHER FORGIVE YOUR FOOLISH SON!" Owain fell to his knees, taking a formal bow, prostrating himself before her. "I'm so sorry!"

"It's ok!" Lissa giggled. "I wouldn't get mad about that, dear!... Ok maybe not as much as you seem to believe, anyway."

"Ugh..."

Severa rubbed her head from behind Owain, but then looked at her hand.

 

"OWAIN!"

"What is it, dearest?!"

"My hair! MY HAIR!" Severa replied, quickly standing to her feet.

"Looks normal to me." Lissa stated, hand on a hip. "What's up?"

"It's black!" Severa said. "Then that means we really are..."

"BACK IN YLISSE? HOW?!" Owain said. "And where's Ophelia?!"

"Ophelia?" Lissa asked, confused.

"Our daughter!"

"YOU HAD A DAUGHTER WITHOUT ME BEING THERE?!"

There was silence as Owain turned to his mother and realized what he had just done.

"Ok... maybe this wasn't the time to tell you-"

"YOU HAD A CHILD. YOU STARTED A FAMILY, AND DIDN'T TELL YOUR DEAR MOTHER WHERE YOU WERE GOING OR WHAT YOU WERE DOING!? I WAS WORRIED SICK FOR DAYS! AND YOUR DAD WENT HUNTING FOR YOU FOR WEEKS AT A TIME!" Lissa screamed, berating him. "AND NOW YOU COME HOME FROM SOME RANDOM HOLE IN THE SKY AND TELL ME YOU HAD A DAUGHTER?! I missed her birth!? WHERE'S THE BABY!?"

"Oh there is no baby."

"WHAT?! SHE DIED?"

"No no no! Mother I'm a good parent! I threw her into the Deeprealm since we were in the middle of a war-"

"WHAT IN THE HECK IS A DEEPREALM!?"

"Well uh.. it's actually another portal to another world where time passes more quickly than in our world so... she kinda aged to like... I dunno, sixteen? Seventeen? I never really asked. She looks a lot like you though-"

"YOU THREW YOUR INFANT DAUGHTER INTO ANOTHER REALM OF EXISTENCE UNTIL SHE TURNED SEVENTEEN!?"

"...Ok when you say it like that it sounds really irresponsible." Owain said, pondering. "I mean, yes?"

"AND YOU LET HIM DO THIS, SEVERA?!" Lissa turned on the girl, utterly baffled.

"Well, I mean, it was the safest place at the-... Wait how dare you tell me how to raise my daughter!" Severa took an aggressive tone, but Lissa shot her a glance.

"Yes. I allowed him to do it." Severa amended, going silent.

Lissa was normally a very cute girl. Lissa normally did no wrong. But right now, the younger of the Exalts was currently lost in confusion. It wasn't certain if she was angry, but she definitely wasn't pleased.

"Well where is she now!?" Lissa finally asked, exasperated.

"Oh when we got pulled into this world she got taken from us and thrown to gods know where. But she'll be fine! She knows magic!"

"Oh, well of course she was magical!" Lissa nodded. "Because she got it from her grandmother."

She put her hands on her hips proudly. But then looked at him.

"Wait, who taught her how to use it?"

"Me!" Owain flourished, his Dread Fighter cloak flying behind him. "I was a sorcerer for a short time when I went to that other world."

"Owain. When did you learn magic?"

".....Self-taught."

"Oh gods my granddaughter is doomed!" Lissa put her face in her hands. "We have to find her! Her and your father! Oh I hope he appeared near her! I don't know what's going on anymore!"

"Neither do I! That's half the fun, Mother!"

"Owain, I hope you're ready to explain yourself to your father when we find him!" Lissa said.

"Not... really." Owain replied sheepishly.

 

----

 

Meanwhile, a fox-girl's figure appeared in an unknown land, laying on the earth next to a blonde-haired male - but it wasn't her husband.

She shook her head of grass and dirt, standing to her feet so she could wipe off her robes. She then walked slowly over to the male figure next to her. He groaned as he shook his head off as well, then looked up at her.

"Oh.... what?"

"I could say the same thing." Selkie replied, holding out her hand to him. "Are you a Dread Fighter?"

"Yeah. Why?" the man asked, taking her hand and letting her pull him to his feet.

"My husband once chose that path for a short time. He liked to experiment with different fighting styles and classes." she smiled in remembrance.

"Oh! Really? I did the same thing." the man wiped off his armor, frowning. "But who are you?"

"I'm Selkie!" she said, pleased, holding out her hand. Her tail wagged slightly and the spirits behind her all seemed happy.

 

"Oh... I'm Ryuki. Tactician of the armies and current crown prince of a portion of Ylisse, soon to be King when the things get finalized. I'm apparently supposed to say that part." he smirked. "Frederick DOES love his legalities."

"Who's Frederick?" Selkie replied, then a thought hit her. "Oh! Wait, does he use a lance and ride a horse?!"

"Uh.. yeah. Wait, how do you know him?" Ryuki asked, concerned.

"Well, my husband once got told by our maid that we had to go to another world because some of our enemies were invading it... which I guess was this one... and then when we got there, we met a blue-haired guy, and a guy on a horse! Oh, and this cute priestess girl..."

"Chrom, Frederick, and my wife- Lissa?" Ryuki asked, arms crossed. "But that means you're not from here, with how you talk."

"You don't seem that shocked." Selkie said, slightly despondent. "I love when people get all freaked out about it when we show up in their worlds."

"Sorry to disappoint." Ryuki grinned. "But I've had my fair share of world travel and time shenanigans. Oh, but tell me, have you perchance met someone named Owain? A blonde man? Probably makes up weapon names? Acts weird? Yells out skills? Or a girl named Severa? She's kinda cold to strangers? Black hair?"

"....Uh.... Well I do know a guy like the first one... But his name is Odin or something..." Selkie rubbed her forehead. "And he died a long time ago, along with his red-haired wife."

"Oh then that can't be him." Ryuki sighed. "Severa's hair was definitely black. But it's funny to know there's someone like him in your world."

"Very true. He was a good hero." Selkie added. "But do you need help finding them?"

"To be honest, I just need help finding my OWN wife for the moment. There was a flash of light, and now I'm over here. But are we in your world, or mine?"

"I guess we just have to find out! Friends?!" Selkie held out her hand for a shake.

"...Friends." Ryuki replied. "You know, a long time ago I would have been more cautious about trusting random people, but that blue-haired man you met taught me a lot about faith."

"He sounds like a good man." Selkie said. "He WAS nice when we spoke to him."

"Sounds like him." Ryuki said. "We might be able to meet him again after we get this sorted out. Come on. Let's see if we can't find your husband too."

"Right!"

 

----

 

The flames burned so fiercely that he thought for sure he had gone to the Pit. He covered his face with his cloak as he gazed upon a familiar scene. Faceless decorated the landscape, killing the innocent.

Ryuusha slashed through a few of them, confused. He was certain the death of Anankos had removed them from the world, though some still had remained in Valla that he had fought off several times. But what was this?

He was certain this was Hoshido. But it couldn't possibly be Hoshido. Hoshido was thriving now, a beautiful city after Xander and Ryoma had made the truce, and Nohrian immigration had helped the city build and raise following Garon's invasions. Before his last visit, Ryuusha had left and Shiro had been king. Life was bright...

This wasn't what he had left behind.

He stepped over a few of the dead, but a hand reached from the ground and grabbed his leg, almost tripping him.

"...Brother...?"

His entire life reeled around as he began to turn his head. Thousands of memories flooded into his brain, some painful, some pleasant. His eyes were wide as he looked down at the one grasping his shin. There was no way - no possible way - that he could be alive.

Red armor decorated a broken body with a helm that had been crushed near him. A stab wound was bleeding heavily from his abdomen.

 

"...R...Ryoma...?..." Ryuusha uttered, falling to his knees. "No... NO... Who did this to you!? You were the King! I'll find help!"

"But... why...?" Ryoma coughed, pulling his hand away. "Why do you look... older?... Is this the work of the Nohrians you chose..?"

"The Nohrians?..." Ryuusha replied, reaching into his bags to find his staff. "No! I chose neither side! I stayed faithful to both of you! We saved V-"...

He began, but for some reason felt an instinctive urge not to speak the word. He breathed, putting a hand on his brother's arm. But Ryoma removed his hand from him.

"You traitor! You.. you speak lies!" Ryoma grimaced. "I took my life so that you didn't have to! Not so you... could come back and... lie to me.."

"I'm. Not. LYING!" Ryuusha grasped his brother's shoulders again, refusing to let go. "Ryoma! I swear to you! I saved you! I saved everyone! And I'll PROVE IT!"

He grabbed the Sun Festal from his bag and began to heal his brother's wounds, ignoring his protests.

 

"You are my brother. When you passed, I felt so despaired.. so broken... I won't watch you die again, Ryoma. I refuse to do it. Shiro would hate me if I allowed his father to die."

"Who... is Shiro...?"

Ryuusha blinked, then shook his head.

"I see... you never married Elise here, did you?"

"Why would I marry a Nohrian princess?! Do you take me for a betrayer!?" Ryoma grimaced as the healing began.

"No. She was cute and innocent. And in my time, you loved her. I see what's happening now." Ryuusha replied, healing him slowly. "Ryoma, you have to listen to me. I can make things right."

"You've made them right. For the NOHRIANS."

"Stop SAYING that!" Ryuusha screamed, holding up his sword as a Faceless attempted to punch him. "I am a King in my own right! And I chose neither side! I will not allow you to speak of me as a traitor to either of you!"

He slew the Faceless, then turned back to his brother, furious.

"Do you want to see me angry, Ryoma?! Do you want me to scream at you until you understand what I sacrificed, what I did, to make everything right?!" he said, enraged. "Stand up, King of Hoshido. Stand if you still believe in your kingdom!"

There was a long pause, but Ryoma grasped the hilt of his sword, using it to help himself stand to his feet. He towered over Ryuusha at his full height, appraising the man.

 

"You are not the Corrin I remember." Ryoma frowned. "But a fair better one. One who found the certainty of himself I hoped you would find."

Ryuusha exhaled, then held out his hand.

"I am Ryuusha, step-son of Sumeragi. I may not be your blood, Ryoma, but I am your brother."

"How did you discover-"

"I am not of this time, Ryoma. I am of a timeline where things were far better. And I will make this right. Take me to the true foe. Show me what I did to you." Ryuusha stated. "Let us find the state of things."

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[ gerome ; the future --> northroad, current time ]

They are beginning their mission.

 

Gerome thinks it foolish, but he takes a breath and stands still and watches as the magic washes over Lucina, enveloping her completely.

 

Minerva stirs at his side, and he places a light touch on her hide.

 

Soon. (Won't you be lonely?)

 

He watches as their group shimmers under the magic-mystic-forbidden spell, and Gerome almost believes in Lucina's steadfast faith when their war-ravaged world disappears, replaced by gentle springs and blossoming greens.

 

He feels the light come at him, seeking him out. A voice whispers in his ears, but he is a deaf man walking along the streams of consciousness. He feels a ring in his palm, hears the church-bells in his head, and sees blood.

 

(There are no regrets for a man without sentiments.)

 

He allows the light to take his form, and vanishes as the children of tomorrow come to reclaim their families.

 

--

 

When he lands where the light has brought him, he is confused. Below him, Minerva stirs and screeches and slams her head towards the skies, unsettled by the shift in parallels.

 

She thunders in the skies, and Gerome feels rather than hears her panic as they begin to descend from the sky.

 

"Oh," he says, before he jerks on the reins.

 

Minerva slides just short of crashing into a dirt road, and they have a rather violent landing before Gerome disengages himself, axe in hand.

 

"Minervykins," he mumbles, voice low. "Are you alright? What happened?"

 

A spike of anxiety is at his throat, a fear that drums low in his veins. He came to this world with the intention of letting Minerva go free; what would he do afterwards?

 

(Without her, who is he?)

 

--

 

[ leon ; nohr --> border sands, current time ]

 

"My lord."

 

Leon turns at the call, even as the iron-steel-hurts crown is heavy threaded through his locks.

 

There is someone there that he cannot see, but rather the vast wastelands of his country and the bodies strewn across his fields. Twenty-three years under a father without bounds, and Leon has never felt more alone.

 

--

 

Here is his recalled memory:

 

He is eighteen, a man who is old beyond his years, and the beginnings of a war spark at his fingertips with a throat made for battle-spells and a mark that is tender-red-hurts and a retainer from Garon.

 

He didn't trust the dark mage that had been sent by his father--or perhaps just a man, but the king--but there was nothing he could do but obey. He is too old to cry to Camilla and too young to cast out the doubts in his heart, like Xander.

 

There is something on his mind that sounds faintly like the whisperings of death, and he knows. He would leave this world as he entered: nothing.

 

Only, that doesn't happen.

 

Niles and Odin, this strange, strange man, are forever at his side, and he wants ...

 

He fantasies of the war, even as he storms into battle on the back of a mount clothed in steel, even as he feels whispers against his backside and the calling of his name. He's fighting not for himself, but for them. Xander, Camilla, Elise, even Corrin. His family.

 

They lost.

 

The mark of a Nohrian: everything is so much harder.

 

--

 

When the light comes, brightening the isles of a throne room long abandoned, he closes his eyes.

 

--

 

It's hot.

 

Beneath him, his horse whimpers and slams armed hooves against the ground. Leon feels a familiar sense stir in his blood, and he clutches Brynhildr close.

 

Was this a trick? Some ploy to bring down the last remainders of the Nohrian Empire?

 

He laughs to himself: he would have given up the crown willingly.

 

(It is a burden he wishes someone else would take.)

 

From the corner of his eye, he sights a familiar form.

 

What?

 

"You," he calls, pulling reigns with all the accuracy of someone who has mastered riding, approaching with the skill of someone who has seen too much war.

 

Before him is a familiar form--Takumi, his mind supplies. The second prince of Hoshido.

 

The victor.

 

"Have you come to mock me?" he demands, eyes directed away from the other in a nonchalant matter. He scans the horizon for the possibility of approaching troops, and holds his tome close.

 

He would rather die than become a prisoner, though the difference is not so clear.

 

--

 

[ shigure ; hoshido --> nohr, current time ]

 

He loves the feeling of the air through his hair as he rides.

 

Shigure hums a small melody to himself, feeling the wind stir through his form as his pegasus slides across the open skies. At his side, there is nothing; no weapon, and in his mind there is only the melody carried through the winds.

 

No thoughts of war. The event is over now, and peace has been reached on both sides. There is nothing left to regret over.

 

Across the horizon, he sees a figure in the distance.

 

"Mother!" he calls, even though she is too far away to hear. He pats his steed on the neck, running gloved fingertips through her mane, and descends.

 

However, before he reaches the grassy fields, there is a slight shift in the air, and Shigure feels his pegasus stumble.

 

"There, there," he says, calmly sliding his fingers across the hair as his other hand grips the reigns. "Nothing to worry about."

 

However, his words were soon proven false as a blinding light streaked through the sky. His pegasus let out a panicked flutter of the wings, and just as Shigure felt his centre of gravity begin to shift, a light scattered across his field of vision and everything went dark.

 

--

 

When he wakes up, it's in an unfamiliar place.

 

Or rather--he knows where he is, but is unsure how he got there.

 

"A Nohrian city?" he murmurs to himself, and Shigure is surprised to find a familiar weapon at his side.

 

"I suppose we stand out a bit," he says goodheartedly, still in good spirits, albeit slightly confused. His next course of action? It would be best if he could find someone familiar. With that thought in mind, Shigure began to head in an unspecified location.

 

 

((gonna skip henry this round ; o ; ))

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He stood at the twin doors, filled with resolve. He turned to Ryoma, his face filled with certainty.

 

Wasn't there a moment like this, once before?

 

He pushed the great doors open, allowing the sound to echo throughout the chamber. Within, there was a great battle raging, between the Faceless and a party that Ryuusha remembered well.

 

His siblings.. all of them.. Wait, no. There were some missing.

 

"Xander! Leo!" Ryuusha yelled over the din of battle. Faces turned to him. But one in particular caught his vision.

A younger, slender manakete, who gazed back in horror.

"Garon! Is this another twisted vision of yours?!" Xander shouted over the sound of swords. "You twisted soul! I'll never fall for such a terrible illusion!"

"Garon..?" Ryuusha whispered, then looked past all of them. A great, disgusting abomination loomed at the end of the room. Is that what they meant? But in his timeline, Garon had never become THAT. True, he had been the true foe, but not THIS twisted.

Things were beginning to make sense. But why were the Nohrians in the Hoshidan throne room? Why had Ryoma attempted suicide? In Ryuusha's timeline, they had come to terms with themselves. And before that... in that other time...

He shook his head. That timeline no longer mattered. The one that did was where he had become King of Valla. He gripped his sword tightly, holding it aloft.

"An illusion? I think not!" he roared, bearing the sword for all to see. "I am Ryuusha, step-son of Sumeragi! Son of Mikoto! Son of Anankos! I am as real as the one you follow even now!"

The Faceless turned, confused, as even Garon seemed afraid of the blade that Ryuusha wielded. He retreated into the shadows, horrified.

The younger Ryuusha turned, looking down at his own sword as he did so.

"What... impossible..." he whispered. "There's only one Yato... Right?"

"In your timeline, yes." Ryuusha said, as he stepped to the party, over the bodies of the fallen. The Faceless who still lived backed away from him. They sensed something was wrong. "But there are quite a few. And the one which I hail from had a very different ending. One which you have been a fool to ignore."

He stepped to stand in front of his younger self as several of the party members around him began to aim their weapons at him. But Ryuusha gave them a glance.

"You won't be able to kill me, even if you try." he smirked. "But please, take a shot, Camilla. Or Charlotte. Odin, I'd be more than happy to test the magics you deliver. I dare you."

Corrin held up a hand for them to lower their weapons. The Faceless didn't know what to do.

"You frighten the Faceless and even the abomination Garon has become. How?" Corrin asked.

"Very easily." Ryuusha whispered, placing a hand on Corrin's shoulder. "Because I am a King."

"A king of WHAT, exactly?" Leo asked from atop his horse, unconvinced. "It could very well be that these enemies are backing away as part of some grand ploy by Fa-... Garon."

"Truly, Leo. It could be. But allow me to show you something to ease your doubts." Ryuusha said, as he retrieved a tome from his side.

"That-" Leo began, suddenly realizing. "Impossible!"

"What's impossible, Prince Leo?" Odin asked, concerned.

"That's an unfinished spell book I'm currently writing!" Leo grimaced, reaching into his own bag. "It was going to be a gift for-"

"For Corrin, on the day of his birth when he turned 20." Ryuusha finished, holding the book back by his side. "It was a year away. But you didn't get a chance because of the war. So you waited til the next year."

"....What trickery is this?..." Leo sneered. "How could you..."

"It's obvious. The only conclusion is that I had to have come from a time in which the book was finished." Ryuusha replied, placing the book back by his side. "But this is not a good timeline. You turned on Hoshido, Corrin, rather than choosing neither side, so you never met the girl you would come to love."

"...What...?" Corrin asked, despondent. "But I love my wife. I love Camilla."

Ryuusha stopped a moment, but then laughed hard.

"Ah! So this is a version of myself who followed those flights of fancy, never truly knowing love!" he laughed heartily, shaking his head. "Gods, I had forgotten I had ever wanted to be with her. Perhaps, in my youth. But her beauty began to fade. No..."

He laid a hand on Corrin's shoulder, sighing.

"She's a woman who never left us, Corrin. Who wanted to play. Who lived as long as we did. And waited for us to stop being so stupid."

"...Who...?"

"Perhaps it's better if you never know. If you continue living in this timeline to atone for your sins." Ryuusha removed his hand from Corrin's side, then smiled.

"I shall kill this beast for you all. It's the least I can do. But I do have one request." he asked, as he began to walk away from the group.

"What's that, brother?" Xander asked, arms crossed.

"Enjoy the time you have together. I fear I didn't do it enough." Ryuusha replied, and he then proceeded into the back of the chamber, sword drawn.

 

 

(( May add more tomorrow if no one else posts. ))

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-Year 653: Winter; Outreaches of Tellius-

 

 

Another year was coming to pass. Trees had shed their leaves down to the branches, save for the evergreens that dotted the countryside, favoring the north. The birds had long since abandoned the forests and their frosted nests, and the insects had settled now into their burrows in between the crests of white covering the fields, leaving the world stark and soundless, empty—truly cold. With the whispers of chilled wind whistling between lonesome weeds and barren wood came flickers of snow, sparse at first—naught more but speckles of light against the backdrop of indigo and orange--but more and more driven as evening fell to night. Frail grasses that had struggled to the sun during the winter interlude were smothered in minutes, and the ground lost memories of pawprints that had passed them, concealing that their phantoms had ever chanced their destiny.

 

Alone, its stone-wrought chimney hazy with woodsmoke, stood a lone cabin. Though the paths leading to its doorway and the outer lamps had been extinguished, it radiated a sense of warmth, of home. Perhaps it was the neatly shed filled full to the top with wood, visited less than guarded by rough-hewn statues of reclining cats and watchful birds; perhaps it was the ornate etchings along the door and siding, clearly stylized, but reminiscent of a long-forgotten language, meant to ward off misfortune and welcome positivity. And though it was quiet, the tiny vale seemed to buzz with life, and rang silent with words of endearment never spoken elsewhere. It was a comely cottage, and small—but it was theirs, and after all they’d given and lost in the last 7 years, it was a welcome, if not sometimes tenuous, reprieve.

 

 

“...to the flank, and that takes out both Trueblades and your General.”

 

 

Inside: a war rages. A soft shifting of paper. Notes written, edited, marked out and resituated. He watched him, this little warlord, as he made his move—two machine-mounted archers, bolts jutting out from the tiny bronze figures. He knew what was coming to him—his eyes watched his combatant’s fall to the standing Valkyrie, watched him tip the figures that guarded her, opening a prime weak spot. His fingers traced a line from his units to his, and when he brought them up to brush back his bangs, he caught it—a glimmer in his eyes. A twitch at his lip.

 

“I’m moving these Ballisticians into your range, and they’re going for the Valkyrie.” He expected him to ask for an Avoidance stat, but knowing him like he did, he’d already correctly calculated it and marked it for quick reference. He selected two polished dice from each of the sets on his side and gave them a shallow toss, only allowing them to fall as far as they needed. Both spun and jittered across the table for a moment before coming to a stop—15 and 20. He groaned in dismay. The warlord gave a quiet hiss of amusement, his quill making a quick dart across his notes before he leaned forward.

 

“Base 10 from Ballista 1...and 30 from Ballista 2 on a critical.” He checked his own scrawled pennings. After a moment of disbelief, he conceded with a sigh.

 

“She’s out.”

 

A pale index finger and thumb lay the departed to rest. His adversary sat back in his chair, crossing one slim leg over another and resting his elbow on his folded arm at his waist, his hand lingering at his jaw. That wicked smirk had creased into a full-blown grin, his angled brows portraying that leer of the evil prince with an uncanny exactness. Sometimes, he was stricken by this expression, by how much it reminded him of that mad king’s from so long ago...

 

“Your move...Commander.”

 

...but when it was accompanied by this oddly coy, simulated contempt, he couldn’t help but smile. He slouched forward, placed his hands on his seat and shifted, shaking his head at him.

 

“Man, you do not make this easy, Soren.”

 

 

At first, he’d held a considerable offense against the strategist. Their armies were well-matched against one another, and both were so versed in the art of warfare that for hours on end, both sides were at a near stalemate. That, however, quickly changed upon the demise of Soren’s Vanguard. Now he was driving his forces harder than ever, and he’d quickly beaten him back to his start point and advancing quickly. It was evident to him from the beginning that he’d chosen to withhold his true capabilities for the sake of a good battle, but now? Well...

 

Soren began collecting the myriad fallen pieces from the battlefield.

 

“Of course not. War isn’t easy, Ike...but I don’t need to tell you that.” As Soren placed the fallen heroes back into a large tin, he glanced up at him.

 

“You’ve done well; I certainly wouldn’t want to be your opposition, were this a real-life scenario. But perhaps you’d like to concede defeat now? We’ve been at it since before dusk.”

 

The sudden realization of how stiff his muscles were getting prompted Ike to lean his chair back, stretching out his back and arms with a yawn. It was getting late. Soren had the advantage, that much was undeniable., and there wasn’t much hope of recovery at this point. He was out of healers, low on supplies, and the mage was almost begging him to make a slip with his convoy. He looked over the battlefield one more time: a low-level Great Knight, a General and a Marshall, two Thunder Sages...a few assorted unpromoted units here and there...even Ike knew when it was time to relent. He ran a hand through his hair and leaned onto the table, folding his arms under his head.

 

“...yeah. We’ll retreat and regroup for now. I’m getting tired, anyway.”

 

“Very well”, he said, the chair knocking gently against the floor as he rose, “We’ll pick back up tomorrow night after we make our runs.”

 

With that, he closed his eyes, listening to the clinking of figures as they were gathered in Soren’s hand, the sliding of the map against the table and the crinkling of it being folded together. A clat-clat of paper being straightened, intermittent sffs as they were placed inside a leather trapperkeeper, and the snap! of the band around it to keep it in place; Ike’s eyelids went dark and cool as Soren passed beside him, setting the tin and the binder on a shelf near the fireplace. When he returned, he heard something being rolled out. He didn’t need to ask—he already knew.

 

“How do the maps look?”

 

“They are professional, if not archaic, but I can’t help but question their validity.” He opened his eyes to see what Soren was talking about. He had a blunt stylus out, pointing to a river on the tan parchment flowing through the west, cutting through what appeared to be a mountain range to the north. Beside it was a series of runes incomprehensible to him, but the explanation was soon to come.

 

“They say the Heigra River flows South to North.” Ike raised an eyebrow at him. South to North? He’d never heard of such a thing.

 

“Rivers don’t typically do that, do they?”

 

“No,” Soren said, “they don’t. And while I have no reason to disbelieve the observations of a people that have survived the land for the last several hundred years, I’d like to confirm it with my own eyes.” He began jotting down a few notes in his tiny, neatly handwriting. The swoops and swells of his letters were elegant and precise, a testament to his years amongst the clergy—honed to an art in ledgers and detailed missives in times of strife in a fashion completely unique to him—both austere and graceful in both form and subject. Ike could only admire him for it. His own hands felt so clumsy in comparison, too unsteady and ignorant of delicacy; he often thought that Soren would make a fantastic craftsman if it ever struck his fancy.

 

He rolled his head to the opposing arm to relieve it of pressure.

 

“So, that’s our destination, then? Heigra River?”

 

“If the weather allows. Though, judging by the snowfall, we may have to fight the door open just to get outside. And if that’s the case, I’d just prefer not to chance it and wait until another day.”

 

He moved a bit in place, looking at the walls of the cabin. Though it was sparsely decorated, there was something comfortable about the round juts of the logs and their subtle coloration in the firelight. It had been his early-summer project, and even if it wasn’t the most beautiful house, he was still proud of himself for being able to pull it off. If there was one small niggle he had about it, it was the fact that he hadn’t yet discovered a way to properly implement windows into it without compromising the heat, as they would allow for both a nice view of the weather and a point of vigilance. Disregarding that, it had a makeshift stovetop and an easy means of water access not too far away, and best of all, it was sturdy. No matter how far he went, no matter how long, Ike knew he’d have this little cabin for him and Soren to return to. A little blossom of affection bloomed down deep in his chest as he mused on this.

 

 

 

His eyes drifted back from the walls to Soren. He wanted to ask him.

 

 

 

“Hey, Soren?”

 

Red eyes flicked up from their captivation in response.

 

“Yes, Ike?”

 

He sat up, easing onto his elbows and clasping his hands together. There was a lingering sensation of anxiety building in his mind as he thought of the words to say. And how he’d thought and thought on these words--the preparation was hardly comforting, and never enough. But he needed Soren’s honesty now, and he knew better than to sugar-coat it. He breathed in.

 

“Are you happy here?”

 

Soren blinked.

 

’Happy’?”

 

“Yeah,” he diverted his gaze for a second as he rubbed at a spot behind his ear. “I mean...does this feel like a home to you? Are you comfortable?”

 

He waited. Soren’s expression seemed to go blank, his hands gathering in the middle of the table as he scooted forward. He seemed to contemplate the grain of the wood for an answer, and one did eventually come:

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

He exhaled, but not in exasperation, but at frustration at himself. A topic like this required more detail. When it came to difficult questions, Soren tended to respond better with more exact inquiries.

 

“More like...I don’t want you to inhibit yourself for my sake. Are you sure that you wouldn’t rather be doing something more...I don’t know, organized?”

 

“As in...?”

 

“Mmm...like...mercenary work. Or bookkeeping. Or scribing? Something other than running around a nearly uninhabited continent looking for who knows what?”

 

Soren’s brow furrowed in what looked like anger, but from Ike’s experience, he knew it was just confusion. This seemed to pass quickly into blankness and then...into amusement? Another half-smile crossed his face—an exceedingly rare commodity even now. His eyes widened a fraction as he watched Soren tremble with subdued laughter.

 

“Oh, Ike, I’d die of boredom if I ever took up those latter two!” Just as quick as it had come, the trembling ceased, but the smile remained. He motioned with a leisurely turn of his wrist.

 

“Besides, by all rights, you are still my commander. I’m happily employed being your cartographer as well as your strategist, and whatever else you may ask of me, I will comply to.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“It goes without saying,” Soren affirmed, and sat with his fingers laced together loosely, attentive. Ike felt a spread of warmth across his face at this, but it gladdened him all the same. He returned the smile and nodded.

 

“That’s good to hear.”

 

Soren rolled his shoulders and tilted his head to the side, a curious look on his face.

 

“And you? Are you happy, Ike? With this life?”

 

A seemingly simple question. Now that he’d heard Soren’s piece, he knew the answer. While he may occasionally withhold, he didn’t lie or mislead, and for that, he knew he could trust in Soren’s opinion. He flexed his right hand and laid it out in the light, the orange glow accentuating calluses and abrasions that had gathered there over the past year. Some were older and well-worn, but many had come up during the planning and building of the cabin. It was an entirely new league of physical exertion, and not one his many pairs of gloves could stand up to, unfortunately.

 

“Well...I’ve gained a new appreciation for woodworking. The feeling isn’t mutual, though.”

 

His view was obscured by another hand supporting his, cool to the touch and significantly softer than his own. The skin of his palm prickled a bit as he thumbed over the sore spots, but after a bit, he felt nothing but a sense of calmness. Thinking about the gravity of such a small motion made him feel...complex...but he pushed it aside to marvel instead. Touch was still a vastly unexplored area for both, seeing as neither were particularly adept at expressing through such means, but it was welcomed when it came. If anything, it made things feel more familial between them. A chiding sigh from Soren--

 

“You really shouldn’t push yourself so hard when you’re ill-equipped to do so.”

 

--and he became increasingly more aware of the mood shift, from serious and businesslike to tenderness. It was all in the way he spoke, his tone completely bereft of any sort of actual irritation; it was gentle, airy. Kind. He cupped the other hand underneath, his left thumb resting alongside Ike’s.

 

“We’ll purchase another set soon, tomorrow at the earliest. I’m certain the traders will offer nicer pieces than the bulk stalls back in Crimea.”

 

With that, together, they sat in silence, with Soren only moving long enough to retrieve some poultice from the shelf to work into his palm. Thankfully, it dissolved into the skin and left no color or scent behind, and he continued to hold his hand in leisure, as if he were trying to divine something from it. Almost as if they were finally at peace.

=================

You’ve changed.

 

Soren mused over the details of Ike’s hand: the texture, the size, the temperature. When was it last that he winced at nettles or cuts? That he startled at blood? He remembered, but it had been so long.

 

You’re always changing.

 

Even this wasn’t totally familiar. These hands had been smaller once, more vulnerable. They’d belonged to someone more impulsive and brash than the one sitting in front of him now. Yes, he was still impulsive and brash, but marginally by comparison. Of course, he didn’t mind at all. Rather, he found it invigorating—a sort of storm to his calm.

 

He allowed himself to drift away into dreamy solitude, closing his eyes and letting his thoughts wander. Doing things like this was something he’d dismissed in the past—he preferred to keep his mind sharp and his senses tuned—but just the simple act of enjoying the quiet comfort was therapeutic to both body and mind. It was becoming easier to wind down after a hard day, and he found his nights more pleasant and easier to sleep through. During the wars, he’d become so tightly-strung that he struggled to feel anything other than an underlying sense of dread and foreboding for the longest time. Now? There was always a lingering tension, but it could be eased away with tea and books, writing, or...even this. A moment of openness where it could be afforded. Admitting it could be so liberating.

 

 

 

“You’re getting awfully used to doing this, aren’t you?”

 

 

 

Soren jolted at the mention, looking from their hands up to his face and back in quick succession.

 

“Oh.”

 

He began to loosen his grasp before being interrupted by Ike’s voice.

 

“I’m teasing you. Keep them there.”

 

Soren met his eyes, narrowing with compulsive apprehension, but relaxing into mute surprise as both of his hands disappeared between his. The hairs along his arms raised from the sensation and his jaw became set, but it passed quicker than usual and he settled down. Progress, he knew, but it still felt foreign. Warmth spread throughout his fingers as they were shielded from the slight draft that was ever-present away from the fire. His eyelids lowered as he watched without seeing, attempting numbness but slowly giving in as time passed. There was no sense in barring himself from it any longer. There wasn’t time enough in the world to be petty...

 

 

Knowing what he did.

 

 

How he’d never changed. And how he never would, at least in a timely fashion. In a gap between, he saw the near-white of his own skin, completely unmarred and exactly as it was seven years ago. Barely looking seventeen now, and each benchmark growing seemingly farther and farther away...

 

Looking upon these weathered hands was a reminder. That this was borrowed time; that as this boy had matured from a child into a true hero and his name made beloved, he, too, would grow and age beyond this day; that months and years would eventually wizen his features, even beyond his father’s if he was lucky. Though he was certain he’d remain vicarious to the very end...the end would naturally come sooner for him than it would for Soren. One day...growth would come to deprecation...and then, to a halting end. A blue flame burning brightly—extinguished in a breath.

 

 

 

 

 

“Soren?”

 

 

 

 

A shuddering breath escaped him, his chest becoming tight without its support. He tried to recover, but the slip had been made, and he tugged his hands back and rested them on the edge on the table. He felt himself become so empty, so cold and angry at that realization, but there was no reason to burden Ike with that. His life was too short to spend it wallowing in self-pity. Too short to spend it wastefully.

 

For that, he fortified his expression and sat up straight, blinking away the blurriness threatening his composure. It was unnecessary to force any reassurance—if anything, the scowl he’d become notable for would save him from scrutiny.

 

“Mmh? Sorry, I must have zoned out. Did you say something?”

 

A pause. The chair moved across the floor. Then, a hand moving close.

 

“You’re crying.”

 

He flinched back away before contact was made again, feeling at his cheeks for confirmation of the claim. To his surprise, he was greeted by a wetness on his skin. Soren hesitated, but came up with a sufficient excuse:

 

“...it’s the weather drying my eyes out. Must be getting colder outside.” He thumbed the tears away and looked toward the door in ruse.

 

“I suppose we should restock the stove before we turn in for the night.” He gathered up the maps and pen and stood to put them in their right place. He took his time rolling and binding them with care, keeping his back turned from Ike as he chose a place they could be easily found again, but where nothing could damage them. When he turned back, he walked past him and retrieved a cloak and lantern from the hangars at the door.

 

“I don’t mind doing it. Let me go.” He held up the lantern and uttered a silent command. The wick inside burst with a magical flame, and he adjusted the knob on the side until the lamp was sufficiently lit. Ike shifted his weight to his left foot and crossed his arms, eyeing him with incredulity.

 

“You’re dressed in less than I am. I’ll go.” He looked down at himself. Yes, he was in little more than a long-sleeved shift, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t get dressed. He shook his head and headed into the bedroom, coming out shortly after dressed in his usual attire, his hair parted and tied. He donned the cloak and held the lantern in one hand, his other poised out from his body.

 

"The walkway will need to be cleared for tomorrow. I don’t think you want to shovel, either.”

 

He looked back. Ike hadn’t moved, instead standing still with a look of concern. Any sort of self-assuredness at his dishonesty was lost.

 

“Why don’t you just talk to me?”

 

The lantern’s handle squeaked as he faltered. He lifted it up, inspecting the joints; it would need oiling soon. Something else to remember...

 

“It’s nothing. Don’t let it bother you.”

 

“It’s not nothing. Come on, Soren, this is serious.” Though his tone was characteristically compassionate, he would not break. Not this time. Not yet.

 

“I said I’m fine. It’s not your problem, anyway.”

 

“So, it’s not the weather then?”

 

Another pause. He fiddled with the knob on the lamp. The wick needed rethreading.

 

“You’re acting off and I don’t know why. You don’t just cry for no reason. I think it concerns me quite a bit.”

 

“...”

 

A crack in the façade. How easy it happened when it came to him. He watched the flame dance inside the lamp, casting shadows against his face. Perhaps just something to placate the situation for the time being, not a lie...he exhaled through his nose and dropped his arm.

 

“...I need to gather my thoughts. Can it wait until tomorrow?”

 

“Are you going to be okay?”

 

“Yeah...of course.” He would have to be. The night would pass into day, and perhaps, if he was fortunate, Ike would simply forget. He knew deep down he wouldn’t, but...he could hope.

 

“Hmm...well, only if you promise to make good on it.”

 

“Do I ever break my promises?”

 

“No,” he said, articulated by a short tremor of mirth, “no, you do not.”

 

He turned, Soren watching after him until he left his sight. He nodded to himself and went to the door, giving it a tug and bracing himself against the cold. Holding out the lantern, he whispered to the Wind spirits, brushing away the drifts of snow at the doorway. He looked out, first toward the shed, but then—

 

 

The ground shuddered underfoot, causing him to stumble and lose the flame. He cursed quietly and relit it with a roll of the tongue, and he stepped out into the elements, the wind brushing large flakes into his hair. Somewhere in the distance--

 

“Wh...what?”

 

...a light? But that wasn’t possible. The beast laguz living in these parts had a great aversion to fire, as their coats were long and easy to catch. There were no beorc living in this part of the wood besides themselves, so that wasn’t a possibility...he retreated with haste to the doorway and grabbed a satchel and the nearest staves, accounting for Rexcalibur and Bolganone inside. Something wasn’t right. He called out.

 

“Ike, we have a problem.”

 

“A ‘problem’? Did you feel that tremor just now?” Soren went to the shelf and retrieved a blue vial and gave it a shake, noting the weight of fluid inside, and pocketed it swiftly. His brow was drawn and his eyes narrowed. Something was happening. And during this simulacrum of peace, of all times...he could feel the weariness of it all weighing in his bones.

 

“I did, but there’s no evident sign of its origin. Furthermore, there’s an errant light out on the horizon.”

 

“There shouldn’t be anyone out here right now, though. Any bodies you could make out?”

 

“No...not yet, at least. I rushed in as soon as I saw it.” He gave the staves—a Physic and Restore—a quick review before sliding them into the straps on his back. Soon after, armored footsteps alerted him to Ike’s presence. It seemed he, too, had the prescience to take heed and prepare. He expected no less.

 

“Do we investigate?”

 

“We do. Make sure you’re fully equipped; I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

 

After grabbing a cloak for himself and stepping into the lead, Ike ventured out into the storm with Soren following close behind. The light was growing more and more evident, and before either could properly respond, the light flared out and engulfed them, blinding them for a moment before wiping them of cognizance.

 

---------

 

All that remained for those short seconds was disbelief. Disbelief...and a sense of dread...

 

--------

 

-Year Unknown: Season Unknown; Border Sands-

 

 

 

 

 

Crrrunch.

 

 

His vision sparkled for a bit before his mind could properly process his surroundings. Something was stinging his face, and a stray bit in the wind tore at his eye, causing him to yelp. His hand came up from his cloak to grab at his hood.

 

Heat?

 

Heat, on his hand. Not the pleasant, somewhat straining heat of another’s hand. Intense, angry, unforgiving heat—the scalding of the sun. When his feet moved, he heard it again—

 

 

Crrrghh.

 

 

Compact ground. But how? There was sand in the air, indicating...

 

...a...desert?

 

He looked around.

 

 

Everywhere, in all directions, stretching out beyond where Soren’s eyes could see was nothing but an expanse of yellow dunes, mostly level but some rising up like the rungs of a twisted snake. He had to squint in order to hone any detail, his eyes watering from legitimate pain, but there was little to be found. The land was devoid of vegetation, and the horizon offered little but the backdrop of a blue, cloudless sky.

 

This...isn't possible...?

 

No matter—it wasn’t important for now. It was a desert, and that information alone was enough to weigh his situation with. He placed a hand at the side of his mouth.

 

 

“Ike!”

 

 

“I’m right here!”

 

A hand on his shoulder, never before feeling so secure. He spun and found Ike standing behind him, looking no worse for wear aside from a dusting of sand up the side of his face. He gave him a questioning look.

 

“I got stunned when the light hit us and lost my balance. Sorry to make you worry.” Soren studied him for a moment before motioning for him to lean down. When he did, he quickly brushed his fingers back and forth through Ike’s hair, knocking free the sand that had gathered there from his fall. He also took the time to pull up his hood, undoing the tie at the neck and pulling the strings tighter, tying them back closer than before.

 

“There. Keep your hood up to prevent accumulation and protect yourself from the sun. I can’t have you going blind out here.”

 

Soren chose to ignore the growing look of endearment on Ike’s face, but was gracious that he chose not to extrapolate on it. He placed his hands on his hips and looked out toward the expanse, seeing likely the same that Soren had.

 

“So, any idea where we are now?”

 

“I’m sorry to say that I don’t, honestly. Given prior experience, I’d guess and say Grann, but that’s all it is—a baseless hypothesis. That’s not even compounding it with the fact that there should be no conceivable way we would be here, given that we were just standing out in the middle of a snowstorm.”

 

“Maybe we were hit with some sort of poison? Or a spell?”

 

Soren considered it for a moment before dismissing it.

 

“...no, I don’t think so. Magic of that caliber in our world isn’t possible, and I’m confident I’d know a toxin when I’m induced with one by now, and I feel no evident adverse effects.” To be sure, he canted a short bit of Bolganone and produced a fire in his palm. No magical drains, no Silences, and no mind-control...certainly, the madness of such realities had passed...

 

“Neither do I. I’ve had some vivid dreams, but this feels pretty real.”

 

“Yes, it does seem that everything has that intense vitality of reality. Subtracting the possibility of poisoning, magic, and dreams, we’re left with only two other likelihoods: we are either dead, or we’ve been transported by some external means to another place or reality. Seeing as our past experiences have proven that multiple existences are possible, I’d venture to say that the latter is more likely than the former, in this instance.”

 

“Well”, Ike said, “I suppose until we know for certain, the only thing we can do is search for answers. The only question is where to start.”

 

Soren stepped forward, his hand still holding at his cloak. With a bit more inspection, he saw what looked like a dilapidated fort or something in the distance. Beyond, he thought he saw something that looked beorc, but whatever was beside it alluded him. Regardless of the identity, it was the only landmark within reach, and he intended to make full use of his resources, no matter what lie ahead. He took Ike’s arm and directed him behind him. As he moved, the sand beneath him stilled and solidified, and the outlying mounds pushed away for ease of access.

 

“Walk behind me. There’s a gathering of walls up ahead, and I think there are people beyond it. Once we reach those walls, you’ll take the lead and we’ll proceed from there.”

 

A hand on his shoulder was all the confirmation he needed.

 

“Understood.”

---------

 

Once they arrived, the figures just out of range were more visible, more discernable. Ike was standing against one of the walls, looking over his shoulder at them through a break between; Soren was doing similar on the opposite side. After awhile, Ike spoke:

 

“Looks like we have a mounted unit and an archer. That’s certainly an odd couple.”

 

“Their contrast isn’t their only striking feature. Take a look at the archer first.” He noted the bow in hand, but something was definitely off.

 

“He has a bow, but no quiver. Some archers keep them on their hip, but I see no restraints for such a setup. He’s also dressed in an unfamiliar fashion...”

 

He then directed his attention to the mounted man. His garb was dark, and his features were equally foreign. However, unlike his counterpart, he seemed distinctly familiar. His mind wandered back to over a year ago, when his life had changed upon the arrival of a woman who strode on bare feet.

 

“As for the other...do you remember ‘her’?”

 

“Do I remember ‘her’? It’s only been a year.” He tilted his head at him knowingly. “I know you certainly didn’t forget.”

 

Soren scoffed at him, but he wasn’t wrong. He’d never forget; he’d made a promise.

 

“She once told me she had a brother who I reminded her of. I fail to see how, honestly, but I clearly recall her description of him: a blond-haired boy wearing headwear of some fashion, mounted on a dark steed and possessing of a particular tome called ‘Brynhildr’. Though the alignment of the tome is unknown, I would chance another guess and say it is likely closest to Dark magic.”

 

“And what are the chances that this one is the same brother, if he is who you think he is?”

 

“...slim to nonexistent. Though we won’t have the luxury of ‘her’ good graces to take us through an engagement, at least we bear information on a potential ally...” He rubbed a finger over Rexcalibur’s spine.

 

“...or enemy, whatever it may come to.”

 

Ike tugged at Ragnell, making sure the blade was secure against him.

 

“What do we do, then? Judging by the blond one’s face, he doesn’t look too keen on that archer.” He shrugged under his cloak and reached to brush away a stray hair that had found its way into his view.

 

“We watch. We wait. We’ll decipher their intentions from afar. Should they convene on common ground we’ll approach them. If not, and they come to blows, we side with the victor. And if the victor raises his weapon against us? We’ll have no choice.”

 

His face contorted in dismay, but after a moment, he nodded to Soren in agreement. Invoking bloodshed was neither Ike’s intention nor was it Soren’s , but when it came to their survival against an unknown, Soren would dash the opposition against the ground every time without remorse.

 

“Keep your eyes on them, but be wary of any backup. Don’t kneel, either; if they see us rise, they may take it as ambush. If they want our weapons, we’ll make them known, but do not relinquish them.”

 

“Sounds like a plan. Stay sharp.”

 

 

 

 

((SO THAT TOOK THREE DAYS. I'll have Libers and Jordan up tomorrow.))

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Ryuusha

 

Ryuusha bore Omega Yato with both hands as the abomination gaped its maw at him, murmuring and trying to speak.

"I know now who you are, Garon." Ryuusha said, holding the sword before him. "Not that it matters now, Father. You won in this timeline. They will never know who you truly were. However, what you don't know is that you'll never be able to return."

Ryuusha grinned, his sword flaring with divine fire.

"Tonight, on this day, I banish you to the kingdom which you forsook because it betrayed you. I seal you there with this sword, so that you may never return and cause harm to the descendants of your draconic bloodline." he stated, his cloak billowing behind him. "You DISGUSTING MONSTER!"

He charged forward, blade ready, and in another life, may have been allowed such a heroic victory, but a hand grabbed him and the world changed - just as he slashed the beast in half.

"My son, I don't think you understand your position." a familiar voice murmured, as a human hand held him aloft. He struggled feebly, his strength seeming as nothing to this simple grip. "You are a King of Nothing. In these timelines, you are as weak as you were then, to me."

"...Anankos..." Ryuusha whispered, grabbing the being's wrist.

"I would have preferred if you had called me FATHER, you whelp of a child." the being sighed, hurling him aside. Yato flew from Ryuusha's hand into the darkness.

Footsteps echoed in the blackness as the being walked over to him where he lay. A slender foot slammed on his hand just as he gripped his fingers around his sword.

"I will not relinquish it to you! Nothing to you!" Ryuusha grimaced. "Why can't you just leave me be?!"

"So long as my blood echoes in your veins, you will never be free of me, boy." Anankos smiled, rubbing his foot into Ryuusha's hand. "Why did you never tell your wife of me? Your child? Didn't you want them to meet dear old Dad?"

"You aren't real. You're an illusion!" Ryuusha said with conviction. "Leave me be!"

"Perhaps in YOUR world I was nothing more than an illusion, yes. A hallucination, born of your hidden misery, your fear of the days to come." Anankos began, leaning down and kneeling so that he was looking at Ryuusha from only a bit above him. "But surely you've noticed rules don't apply here."

He reached for Yato, trailing a finger down the blade without harm.

"Your sword can do nothing to me now. Your strength is meaningless. I'm surprised you're still so strong-willed." Anankos smirked, patting Ryuusha's shoulder. "I suppose you got that from me."

"If you are looking for thanks, I'll deliver it with my sword." Ryuusha spat, breaking free of Anankos' grip and baring his blade with both hands. "I'll kill you in any incarnation, illusion or not. Your taint on this world WILL be broken!"

"So my corruption, or your will..." Anankos lifted a finger to a pale chin, rubbing it thoughtfully. "I wonder which will break first?..."

 

-----

Severa, Owain, and Lissa

 

"So, Mother, what's happened in our absence?"

"Your father and I finally completed our engagement and are now officially married!" Lissa said happily, holding up her ring. "You should have seen how nervous he was when they were asking for our vows. You would think that stoic demeanor of his would never fail! Hah! You'd be wrong."

"You always did have a knack for breaking those defenses of his, mother!" Owain said proudly. "...He really did need you, a lot."

"Oh yes he did! Wait, why are we talking in past tense?" Lissa said, concerned. "We're still alive, Owain. Whatever timeline you came from no longer matters. WE'RE your Mother and Father now, right?"

"...You're right." Owain replied sheepishly.

"So? What about my Dad? And... Mom." Severa added the last part quietly.

"They're fine! Cordelia went off on a flight patrol recently to bring the King's new edicts out around the land, including Valm. Frederick followed her by foot, staying close like he always does. First Chrom, then his wife. Whoever he chooses to protect is going to have to accept he will ALWAYS be with them." Lissa giggled. "Picking up pebbles."

"Sounds like those two." Severa sighed. "At least Owain respects that I can handle myself!"

"...But we're always together too..." Owain began, but she shot him a glance.

"Yes but it's DIFFERENT for us." Severa stated firmly. "Because I stay with you because I... Because I lo-... B-because you need me, not because I need you to protect me or anything!"

Owain stopped a moment, then smiled.

"Oh, I see." he said, whistling.

"What are you g-getting all cocky about?" Severa asked, irritated.

"I'm not!" Owain said innocently.

"I'm happy to see you both are still close." Lissa said, pleased.

"Ugh..." Severa relented.

"It's weird though, Lissa." Owain pondered.

"What is?"

"Didn't Chrom erect a city here?"

"....Wait.." Lissa stopped, pausing. "...Wait a minute."

She gazed around their surroundings and then stopped again.

"He DID!" she gasped, confused, then turned back to them. "Wait wait wait! Chrom DID put something here! I remember him being so happy we'd have another trading post! I know he did!"

"Then where is it? Looks like this place has never been settled." Owain frowned, looking around. Trees decorated the landscape. The grass looked undisturbed save for maybe the footsteps of passing travelers. The road they were walking on right now was the only sign of civilization.

"....Ok this is really weird." Lissa said, uncomfortable. "We need to find Chrom."

"Agreed. And Dad too."

"And your father."

"Sister's with him, right?"

"....Wait.." Lissa began, concerned. "....Morgan wasn't with you?"

"Huh? No." Owain said, then he began to grow anxious.

"....MORGAN WASN'T WITH YOU?" He said after a moment, worried.

"NO! SHE DISAPPEARED WHEN YOU DID!" Lissa said. "She didn't even leave a letter. The only thing she told Laurent was that she was seeking 'An ancient source of power.'"

"SHE DIDN'T TAKE LAURENT?... Wait... That's not a huge surprise." Owain frowned. "I mean she did leave him out of a lot of her weird adventures. I'm pretty sure that was for the best."

"Yes but this time she was gone for as long as you were! We just began to assume she was with you!" Lissa said. "Oh gods how much worse can this situation get?! You lost your daughter! And your sister is missing!"

"WHY IS THIS MY FAULT?" Owain asked, baffled.

"IT'S NOT BUT I NEED SOMEONE TO YELL AT!" Lissa screamed, defeated. "Oh this is awful! My daughter! I haven't even had her yet!"

"Yeah you didn't have her until you were 21. You have some years to go." Owain promised.

"That doesn't help." Lissa sighed. "Aw forget it. Let's just find Chrom for now. It's not like HE'S missing."

"Uncle Chrom is normally pretty good about knowing where he is based on current latitude and longitude." Owain said, certain. "We can find him!"

"I hope so." Severa replied, looping some hair around her finger thoughtfully. But her daughter's absence was making her have a knot in her stomach. It was hard for her to even act like herself.

"I promised her I wouldn't... abandon her, Owain." Severa said. "....I promised."

"Oh no! Severa! Fret not! We will find her! She is a strong girl!" Owain said, turning and grabbing her shoulders. "I WILL ENSURE HER SAFETY AS HER FATHER! AND YOU TOO, AS HER MOTHER!"

She said nothing, but relaxed a bit. Owain sighed.

"It'll be ok. I promise." Owain said, patting her shoulders. "Alright?"

She nodded, but still felt nervous. She could only hope things could get better.

 

----

 

(( Will post Ryuki and Selkie when I get home. ))

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...I love you, Jordan.

 

He remembered that day. The wind whipping at their faces, familiar faces from the future and past alike together in arms, blades clashing and spells flying...

 

 

You may not understand why I’m doing this...knowing what’s coming when it’s all said and done...

 

 

It was like a choir. Maybe it was the hope of those around him, magnifying each other’s in turn and multiplying it tenfold, but he swore...it sounded like...singing...

 

 

...I don’t expect you to forgive me. I wouldn’t. But I gotta do what’s right, yanno?

 

 

The dragon underfoot pulsed with madness, and lifted its gaping maw in his direction. It uttered a deafening scream, darkness dripping from saw-like teeth, and he was nearly pulled to his knees. He was afraid. But she...

 

 

...yeah...I’m afraid, too. I’m more terrified now than I’ve ever been. Everything in me’s saying I’m crazy, and I wanna run so bad you can’t even know.

 

 

The woman, her mirror image save for her compassion, standing at the fell dragon’s shoulders snarled at him, and tore forward at an inhuman speed. He froze in place—

 

 

 

 

But I CAN’T! AND I WON’T!!!

 

 

 

 

CLANG! TSHH!! A flurry of sparks fell around him—the sound of Levin Swords grinding against one another, spitting their shimmering venom. The smell of not death, not sweat or iron or blood or decay.

 

 

 

The smell of patchouli.

 

 

 

She looked back, smiling even though she was sad.

 

 

 

You and your father...you are the light in my darkness!

 

 

He was pulled away, and moments stretched to infinity. But he couldn’t take his eyes away, even as leagues of undead threatened him at every pause. She was growing redder and redder, and it looked like she’d drop at any moment.

 

 

So don’t you dare stop me. I’ll give you the future ‘I’ couldn’t.

 

 

 

And the world stopped.

 

And he saw.

 

A perfect bridge.

 

Two twin Levin Swords.

 

In his mothers’ chests.

 

But she smiled when she caught him looking.

 

Even though she was dying.

 

 

 

 

I’ll give you a future worth living for.

==================

 

Zzt!

Jordan blinked. His vision was colors without shape. He blinked again and the blurriness faded. Another buzz of startled electricity and he looked down, seeing the old silk handkerchief dotted with moisture. He quickly folded the nap together, keeping the water away from Ilyana’s core.

 

“Sorry about that. I guess I got carried away.”

 

Jordan resumed the tedious process of tracing the zig-zag pattern from the element stone down the fuller. The silk rag was the key to keeping the blade in tip-top capacity, drawing charges from the stone to the rest of the blade and promoting a healthy flow of magic throughout. It took awhile for Jordan to get into the habit of doing so every few weeks, but since returning from the future, he felt a personal obligation to do so. After being shown the proper technique, the old blade was looking more gorgeous than any mock work made now, and he felt a sense of pride for it. When he lay his hands on the blade and hilt, he could feel the thrum of Thunder magic passing through, the spirits within made kind with love over the years. Jordan smiled in remembrance.

 

I’m doing good, aren’t I, Momma?

The only thing left for the day was to check his tomes’ bindings, namely Cereal Killer’s—or, as he called it, Ceka. It seemed silly and even a bit disrespectful, but as in its creator’s image, the magic responded to just about anything he called out to it with. That’s why he liked her weapons so much—they were simple and effective, and no matter what, he could always rely on them.

 

The tools he needed were inside. He stood up from the porch swing and went to the door. He reached out to the knob of the cozy cottage, but his fingers lingered before pulling away. Instead, he went to the window, peering in to make sure he wasn’t there.

 

...he should be in town by now...I should be good.

 

He turned the knob and headed inside, greeted by the scent of wood and flowers on the dining room table and lining the sills. He climbed up the stairs quickly and headed to his room, which was impressively sized in comparison to the rest of the house. Along the walls were all sorts of magical swords, from the Sonic Sword to a replica Durandal and everything in between, but the real draw was the expansive case lined with color-coordinated books and protected by a magic barrier. With a wave of his hand, the barrier dismissed, and he pulled out two Wind tomes and a Fire tome and set them in the holsters on his hips. One set, he restored the barrier with a nearby staff and retrieved his leather preservative, and made his way back downstairs

 

When he opened the door, he caught the look of a person in the way. He immediately cast his eyes down, and tried to duck around—

 

 

“Ah? Where are you off to so quickly?”

 

 

It was just a simple question—not accusatory at all. He didn’t have time for it, though. Jordan huffed and pushed past, but his father’s hand was quick to stop him.

 

 

“Jordan?”

 

 

Nowhere to go now. He tugged his shoulder from his grasp and turned, scowling at his face—one he saw more and more in the mirror every day.

 

“I’m just going to take care of Momma’s books.”

 

His father paused, but managed a smile regardless of his attitude. It wasn’t like he wanted to be so cold...but...

 

“That’s very dutiful of you, Jordan. You have an incredible work ethic. The day favors he who helps himself.” His eyes drifted to the side.

 

“Mhm.”

 

There was another long pause. Jordan moved his feet away from his father, fidgeting in place, waiting for an excuse to go--

 

“I came upon Nah earlier in the market. She was asking if you were available today.”

 

He felt a strange sensation in his stomach. Something somewhere between happiness and anxiety. She was really the only person he found he could talk to anymore...but for whatever the reason, the idea of entertaining another person today made him feel nauseous. Jordan only wanted the company of the breeze and the birds, the lull of the wind through the leaves and the sound of crickets. Anything else was...too much. Too stimulating. Like grating at raw flesh.

 

“I don’t feel up to anything. I mean, if she really wants to come over, she knows where we live, but I’m gonna be busy...”

 

He tried to leave, but yet, he insisted.

 

 

“Jordan...what’s wrong?”

 

 

There it was. The concern. The prod. Jordan’s blood coursed within him with a considerable ire. He knew it wasn’t his father’s fault. But he just had to press it further. He sighed and clutched at Ilyana’s hilt for support.

 

“Nothing. I just want to be alone. I’m not...I’m not like you. I don’t want people around me all the time.”

 

“I didn't intend to insinuate such. I assumed you might want someone a bit closer to your age group to talk to. Ever since Grima—“

 

“Shut up!” He spat at him, “Stop bringing up old censorkip.gif! Can’t you just...?!” He stepped back, his heart racing suddenly. He grabbed at the center of his shirt, feeling the stitch across the wound there. He was losing his temper again and couldn’t keep it under control. He rubbed at those stitches, remembering what had made the hole. It hurt like it was his.

 

“Not everything...” he breathed, “...I’m not that weak. I can feel things that don’t have a damn thing to do with it. I’m not dwelling anymore. Can you say that?!”

 

A startled gasp. Too harsh. His father was a good man—a pious one at that. Even in his youth, he’d given him everything, taught him much, held him close when the storms had frightened him and his loneliness threatened to take hold without relent. Even when she’d perished to Grima’s dominion, he was still there...wise and gentle, calm and stalwart...until he wasn’t.

 

 

And though that hateful day had come and pass, and a new era in the light had dawned and he was alive...she wasn’t. Like nothing had even changed.

 

 

His hands went to his face, hiding away the mouth that spoke such horror and the eyes sorrowful for it. Jordan turned from him and walked to the end of the step, evening his breaths until he could speak without humiliation.

 

“I...I’m sorry. I know it’s all over, but...” A sniffle racked his chest, stuttering his words, “I’m not d-done with it. I don’t w-want you mad at me...but I...I...I c-c...can’t...”

 

All I want is to hurt for awhile. Where no one can tell me they’re “sorry” for something they didn’t do. Where I don’t have to say “It’s fine; she’s a hero!”

 

But there was more than that, more than what he wanted to share. Maybe it was because he was selfish; maybe it was because of his father’s dedication to Naga, the divine dragon who held some dominion over the arcane realm. Really, what he wanted was an answer.

 

 

 

To why.

 

 

Without excusing himself, he fled down the steps and rounded the house, heading for the treeline. He heard his father call out, but he didn’t follow. Maybe, he could finally breathe. Maybe he could calm down—

 

 

A flash of light stopped him in his tracks.

============

 

???: ???; ???

 

 

 

Crowds. Sound and fury and speech and roaring--

 

 

 

"AaaaaAAGH!!"

 

 

 

He held his head as he was bombarded by the sound of people. Hundreds, no, even thousands of them, their dialogues full of nothing and buffeting against his ears. He could feel the anxiety building inside him--a panic that would devour him from the inside out.

 

 

I've got to get away.

 

 

He looked around at first, eyes darting feverishly from landmark to landmark. It was dark, the light was orange, it smelled of finery like sweets and alcohol--

 

 

"I-I'm gonna be sick."

 

 

He ran. In no particular direction he ran, feeling the suffocation of everything--the smell, the color, the memory, his mother, this place, Dad--

 

 

He needed air. There was none to be found here.

-------------------

 

After awhile of pushing past yelling pedestrians and following the walls of the villa, he eventually made his way outside where the stars were not so bleached from the sky. There was a path leading away from this place, wherever it was, and that was his focus now. It struck him at once that he had no idea where he was or what had happened, as none of the architecture seemed even vaguely familiar. The one thing that held true was this: it had been mid-morning, and now...it was dusk.

 

 

He leaned into the crevice of the wall, taking succor in the shadows it provided. He needed to slow down. Calm. Think. That's what a tactician did, right? Stayed calm regardless of their situation?

 

 

Smile even when the odds are against you...right...

 

 

He didn't try to force one, but he understood the message. He slid down to the ground and wrapped his arms around himself, trying to steady his shaking. Taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly, he steadily began to level out. Slowly, but steadily.

 

 

"Alright...it was midmorning...slightly cool, and I was running. There...was a light, I think...and I'm here now. It's dark, it smells, and it looks like a city..."

 

 

After processing this information over and over, thoroughly digesting what it entailed, he came to a decision. He brushed away his flaxen locks and huffed, rising carefully to his weakened knees.

 

"Gotta find some answers..."

 

 

He scanned the area for any sign of a friendly face. After only a moment, he saw a girl dressed all in pink guiding a horse around near the side of the road. He wasn't totally overjoyed by the prospect of approaching her, seeing as she was dressed nice enough to be royalty, and though he didn't take personal issue with that, the nobility could be...less than reasonable if approach in the wrong mood. Jordan started walking toward her, and when he caught sight of her face...

 

 

Wait.

 

 

He made his movements nonchalant, but now, he was just confused.

 

 

Why is a dude wearing such nice clothing?

 

 

He felt a little thunderstruck by his mistake. Oh, the joys of presupposition! It was so obvious closer up, but the outfit threw him off. He also seemed rather adept at styling hair...and he couldn't help but be a little envious of the length. He'd been trying for ages, and hardly an inch in years, it seemed...

 

 

Suddenly, all of the nervousness left his body.

 

 

"Hey, there! Uh...mhm, sir, I guess I should call you?...would you have any idea where or when I am? I'm a little lost..."

 

 

 

((I'll add Libra eventually)

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Inigo/Laslow, Soleil user posted imageuser posted image

It took a minute for Inigo to realize that Soleil was no longer by his side. He stood in place, turning his head as his eyebrows knitted with worry.
“Darling?” he called out as he caught sight of Soleil who had her head tilted upward.
“Dad,” she replied in a tone that was unfamiliarity monotone. “Did you hear that?” Inigo walked up from behind Soleil. The metal on his armor jiggled as he placed hands on his hips, pursing his lip as he listened intently into silence. Nothing reached his ears beyond the whistling wind and, for a moment, Inigo considered asking Soleil exactly what it was she heard.

A thrill shriek above the clouds blew away all of Inigo’s doubts. Up in the pristine white clouds, a shape burst out. It took only a moment for Inigo to identity the shape as a wyvern and what appeared to be a rider. The great beast was disoriented, flipping in awkward angles as she bellowed a panicked scream while her rider frantically grasped at the reins. Inigo could only watch aghast as the beast swerved mid-air, flapping her wings in a flurry as she repositioned herself into a reasonable enough position that allowed her to slow her descent.

The wyvern’s crash was anything but graceful. A cloud of dirt emerged from the ground, completely obscuring the wyvern and her rider from view. Soleil, ever perceptive, grabbed Inigo’s wrist in tightly.
“Dad, we have to go help them!” she said as he tugged at his father’s sleeve. Even if Inigo hadn’t seen the desperate look upon his daughter’s face, he would have heeded the call to help the wyvern and her rider anyhow.
Once a Shepherd, always a Shepard," Inigo thought as Soleil let go of his wrist, allowing him chase after her as she sprinted towards the slowly dissipating cloud of dirt.

Soleil reaches the crashed wyvern first. By the time she slows down to yell, “Are you two alright?” the mist of dirt dispersed completely. Up close, Inigo can see that the wyvern is adorned with a generous amount of armor with the quality of that akin to the vicious wyvern lords he had fought in the past. The wyvern was a decent size as well with experience shown through the various battle scars littering her body. The rider, just as well armored as his steed, dismounted with a hefty war axe in hand. Soleil must have felt the need to be cautious as her hand had strayed the handle of her sword. Inigo, however, knew there was no need to be wary.

An astounded gasp shuddered out of Inigo’s mouth as he stood and stared at the wyvern’s rider. It had been years since Inigo had last seen his friend. Gods, hadn’t they got into an argument before he, Severa, and Owain left for another world? Did Gerome blame himself for Inigo’s disappearance? Anxiety pulsated in Inigo’s chest as he licked his lips nervously.

“Gerome,” he said, awe evident in his tone. He couldn’t muster the courage to speak again so soon, instead diverting his gaze to the ground nervously.
“Dad? Do you know him?” Soleil asked with a curious glance towards her father. Inigo grasped Soleil’s hand and removed it from the handle of her sword in lieu of an appropriate response. He wasn’t supposed to show this much weakness in front of Soleil, but gods be damned if seeing Gerome didn’t make his knees go weak. He should have asked what was going on, who the Exalt was, if Minerva was faring well, if Gerome knew that he wasn’t why Inigo left, or anything, anything other than staring at the ground mutely.
“I… you don’t look like you aged a day.” Inigo internally cringed at his own words. Was that all he could say? He hadn’t seen his friend in years and all he could do was mention how young he looked? Gods, why couldn’t he look Gerome in the eye?

—————


Forrest user posted image

Forrest decided that standing in the middle of the road, waiting for some magical force to explain what had happened, wasn’t the best course of action. Of course, getting off the road would be a lot easier if there wasn’t a trickle of merchants and tourists marching down the road. Gently pulling at Ethlyn’s reins as he pressed his legs into her sides, Forrest steered her towards the left side of the dirt road. The white mare huffed loudly as a merchant with a wagon stopped in his tracks to shout a profane comment at the two as they crossed in front of him.
“I’m sorry!” Forrest called with an apologetic grin. “I’m just trying to get off the road! Oh, please excuse me, miss.” Forrest swerved Ethlyn to the side as a woman on her own horse nearly careened into Ethlyn’s side. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to—goodness!”

Ethlyn let out a high-pitched whinny and spun her head around and snapped into the open air. A man who had bumped into Ethlyn’s rear leaped back with a yelp as the mare turned her torso to face him. As realization dawned upon him, Forrest instinctively loosened one rein and pulled the other, yanking Ethlyn’s head towards her chest. Ethlyn let out a neigh of protest, pawing at the ground irritably,

“Gods, watch where you’re going!” the man scowled as glared at the duo with an gruntled expression before shaking his head and heading off towards the city.
“Gracious, I’m so sorry!” Forrest called after the man although he knew he wouldn’t be granted any forgiveness. “She’s war trained you see, and gets easily agitated in…” The man did not so much as glance behind him as he disappeared behind the mass of people swarming the city gates. Forrest stared at the spot the man disappeared despondently as the corners of his lips curved downward. “Well!” he said to himself in a soft voice. “Who needs him anyway? He shouldn’t have ran into me in the first place.”

Satisfied with his conclusion, Forrest ushered Ethlyn towards the side of the road and began to pat her mane comfortably. He could feel her muscles relax as she trotted of the side of the path and stopped a decent distance from the road. Forrest exhaled a sigh of relief; as wonderful as it was that Ethlyn was no longer in a position to attack someone, he still had no idea how he arrived outside of Macarath in the first place. He and Father had been stationed in an outpost not too far from Windmire which, coincidentally, was nowhere near Macarath.
“Perhaps someone performed a teleportation spell,” Forrest mused to himself aloud. “Wouldn’t that require a witch though? I should have noticed if a witch snuck up on me. Oh, maybe Uncle Corrin—”

“Hey, there! Uh...mhm, sir, I guess I should call you?...would you have any idea where or when I am? I'm a little lost…”

Startled out of his thoughts, Forrest glanced down from his mount to see a young man standing just a few feet away. If his clothing was any indication of his origin, then he was surely a foreigner of some description. His features appeared vaguely Nohrian, but Forrest was an expert of fashion in all three kingdoms and he had never seen such a peculiar design as what the stranger had on his clothing.

It was a bit jarring to hear the stranger call him sir considering that most people guessed his gender incorrectly. Most people who learned of his true gender either acted awkward like they just discovered an embarrassing secret or laughed at him with jeers of, “Seriously? Why are you wearing women’s clothes?” or, “Oh gods, you can’t be serious, can you?” The stranger, however, didn’t seem disrespectful, just reasonably anxious as people are when asking for a stranger’s advice. Although lost himself, Forrest could at least alleviate the worries of the stranger who no doubt got lost in the large, alien city.

“Please, just call me Forrest,” Forrest giggled kindly. “You’re currently on the outskirts of Macarath on the northern side.” Did the man ask for when he was? Did that mean he was asking for the time. Forrest momentarily glanced up at the overcast sky. All he could see was billows of grey clouds blocking out all signs of sunlight, but, luckily for him, Father had taught him how to tell the time from the environment and, considering the weather and the current crowd on the road… “It’s about two hours until noon,” Forrest explained as he looked back down at the stranger. The weather should most likely stay the same throughout the day but it’s always like that.”

Forrest shoved a unruly strand of hair back underneath his hat absentmindedly. Did the stranger not have a guide of any description? People had only recently begun traveling on the surface; the majority of those who weren’t fools or rich still functioned underground save for those who lived in highly populated cities.
“Are you foreigner, if you don’t mind me asking,” Forrest questioned with a gentle smile. “I’d like to think I’m rather informed when it comes to fashion and I’m sure I would have recognized such a delightful sense of fashion such as yours if it was local.” He paused and, remembering the incident with the merchant, quickly added, "Oh, do mind the horse! She's war trained so she gets a bit frisky around strangers."

—————


Takumiuser posted image

Takumi knew who was behind him before he turns around. How could he not? Midst the grueling nights during the war when Takumi would wander out of camp, Leo would follow. He always came alone, the soft creaking of his boots altering Takumi to his presence. He always came to Takumi’s side with a benign smile. At that point, whenever Takumi’s siblings smiled at him, all he saw was condescending sympathy as though they would only smile around him because they felt like he needed it in order to cope with the war. In Leo’s softened expression, Takumi could perceive the tender kindness that Leo hid underneath his stoic mask. His insistent pessimism wasn’t entirely a façade, but when the two of them were sitting alone, Takumi thought that Leo could feel a tingle of hope or, perhaps if he dreamed hard enough, see the first signs of sanguinity for the future. Sometimes the two talked of minor occurrences during the day—harmless gossip or stories about their homeland. Most of the time, the two just sat down, basking in a comfortable silence. They had one another’s company and that was enough.

A sliver of thrill spiked through Takumi’s body as he turned around to greet his best friend, but his grin crumbled once he saw Leo. It wasn’t that Takumi wasn’t used to seeing a scowl permanently fixated on Leo’s face, it was just that he was expecting a more cordial response to reuniting after nearly half a decade of being apart.

Takumi folded his arms across his chest (taking care to adjust his yumi so it wasn’t stabbing into him) as he dragged his gaze down from Leo’s head to his horse’s hooves. Xander’s spindly black crown was set upon Leo’s head for some unknown reason. Takumi knew that Leo did not desire the throne, let alone retain enough childlike wonder to toy with the fantasy of holding power. Leo was not the ostentatious type and had even privately expressed his relief to only feel the weight of his princely circlet and not that of the crown that sat on Xander’s head.

It was easy for Takumi to recognize the horse was Leo’s favored steed, Viktor. Contrary to Leo’s cold demeanor, Viktor was a big sweetheart who was incredibly responsive to Takumi when he first began to interact with him. Normally, Viktor would lower his head and snort in greeting, but his ears were perked up and his brown eyes were watching Takumi warily like he was stranger.

After so many years of being separated by work and obligations, Takumi expected a warmer reception. He shuffled his feet, feeling the coarse sand shift underneath him.
“I didn’t exactly come here—” Takumi motioned towards the seemingly endless desert with one arm. “—out of my free will, but if you’re looking to be mocked we can start with the fact that both you and your horse are wearing a full set of armor in the desert.”

Was the blazing heat making Leo cranky? The Nohrian prince got miffed hilariously easily when it came to small things like getting dirt on his clothes or waking up an hour ahead of his internal clock. It was possible that Leo and Viktor were part of whatever illusion had been cast upon Takumi, but his belief that he was underneath someone’s spell diminished the longer he waded underneath the unforgiving sun. Besides, why would someone give Leo the king’s crown? It shattered any semblance of reality completely. “Is there any special reason you’re wearing that thing?” Takumi asked as he nodded up at the crown on Leo’s head. “It makes you look more condescending than usual.” The crown really was an ugly, gangly thing what with how thin and sharp it was. If anything, it looked ridiculous on Leo and, in Takumi’s personal opinion, he would look exponentially better without it on.

 

 

Edited by Doctortear

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Selkie and Ryuki

 

A sword she remembered well. With it, he would cause ruin in his wake instead of the heroic acts she had once come to expect. He wouldn't even listen to her. He would proceed onward, crushing and consuming everything he saw or touched. She would call out to him, and he would finally reply by impaling her with his sword as he laid a hand on her face...

 

Selkie clutched her skull, her hair falling over her eyes as she backed up, suddenly stricken. Ryuki turned, confused.

"Oh, is there something wrong?" he asked, concerned. But she couldn't speak as the visions plagued her mind.

 

Blood and ruin. Destruction and despair. He had become the pawn of the thing he fought to stop. Who was it? Darkness brooded over him as his red eyes once filled with such kindness instead turned to chaos...

 

She grabbed her chest, doubling over. The very thought of something like that happen broke through her normally cheerful exterior. Her knuckles were white as she wrapped her robe tighter about herself. The spirits behind her were in utter distress.

"...N-...No......NO!... NOOOOOOOOOOO!..."

Hadn't he held her in his arms so long ago? Hadn't he kindly promised to play with her forever? Her emotions began to get the better of her. Fear? She had never felt fear before she met him. And then she feared losing him above all else.

Ryuki tried in vain to reach for her to console her but her spirits fought him off, spiraling around her in a tempest of anger and despair. Lightning crackled around her, making the grass ignite - but the fire didn't spread, it stopped a short distance from her, as though a barrier had been formed.

"No no no no NO NO NO!" Selkie screeched, her hands now holding both side of her head. It was impossible! But her visions had never been wrong! She had foreseen her husband's coronation! Foreseen assassination attempts by Faceless! She had helped him fight Anankos with her first true Foresight, something that even her mother Sakura had been proud of...

But this had to be wrong! He could never...

 

Flames would be all that remained. She could see it. His sadness. He didn't do this for no purpose. He did this for a cause, something he believed was just. He still cradled her body in his arms, bleeding and lifeless, as one final person remained to be killed...

 

"I WON'T BELIEVE THIS! I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT!" she yelled.

 

A red haired manakete faced him now, utterly in disbelief, as her sword had no hope to match his, or him. He sighed at her. He didn't want to do this. She felt the emotions....

 

"Don't hurt her! DON'T HURT HER!"

 

Another life lost. He would soon take his own. The end of empires had come. A thousand timelines ended and doomed by his actions. Why had he done it? She wanted to ask him but her corpse could not speak...

 

Selkie fell to her knees, her spirits in a fury around her. Tears fell from her wide eyes as she continued to hold her head in her hands. For a long while, she wailed back and forth, but finally she began to quiet. A new force replaced the old depression. Resolve.

"We have to find him. We have to find him now!" Selkie said, her voice unreadable, but certain.

"Find who? Your-"

"My HUSBAND!" Selkie stated, standing to her feet slowly. "We have to find him now! NOW! There is no time to lose! I have to change everything!"

She pulled her robes tighter about herself. Her normally carefree exterior was replaced with a priestess' certainty, a faith, and a desire.

"You dummy.. you dummy..." she muttered, tears coming close to her eyes. "Don't tell me I'm right. Let me be wrong. Mom please let me be wrong. It was so real, but I don't want it to be right. Just let me play with him again."

She wandered ahead of Ryuki, and his attempts to speak to her fell flat. He could tell nothing would get through to her now.

"Nothing for it then." he shrugged, and began to catch her pace.

 

------

 

Ryuusha

 

"Brother, can you at... least tell me again... Did you really want to kill Xander?..."

"No." he replied, continuing his pace.

She rubbed her face further in his shoulder, trying to hold on. Her weak hands, fragile and young, couldn't hold him as tightly as she wished.

"...Is everyone else ok?"

"I'm sure." he lied. How could they have been? They all died. He witnessed the fire that took them. Each of them. Anankos showed no mercy as he had walked out before him and killed each of them in front of him. But he had left a single one.

"That's good..." Elise whispered, sighing. "I just hope they don't see me like this."

"They won't.. I promise." Ryuusha said, stepping up the ruined staircase.

"Oh... Are you taking me back to my room?... You are, aren't you?... That's nice of you.." Elise muttered. "I'll heal quickly. I promise."

No you won't.

"And then we can walk around the castle again with Xander... and Camilla... And Leo will yell at us for being too carefree, right?..."

They can't. They can't possibly do that now..

"And I'll probably trip on something and.... and Leo will just say he told me so... And Camilla will want to make it all better... But I'm a strong... princess.. right?"

You were... You were the strongest of all of us...

Rain poured on the broken stones as the Faceless below continued to fight the fleeting remnants of the Nohrian army. Soon, there would be silence. He knew who would win. The Faceless would consume all of them, then search for more to hunt. The Hoshidans and the Nohrians had fallen this day.

It had been an alternating dream.... Ones where the Nohrians won... or ones where Ryoma successfully led a charge... But people continued to die... especially the ones he had loved the most.

Sakura... Camilla... Leo... Hinoka...

His empty eyes looked up the stairs as he saw that some of the rooms hadn't been destroyed. He could see hers, just as she had left it. The door was slightly open. She had been in such a hurry to escape the castle she'd forgotten to close it.

Sounded just like her.

"Oh... I'm sorry brother. You told me not to close my eyes... But I kind of want to sleep.."

You'll never wake up if you do.

His mind screamed the unspoken words. But he refused to speak them. Instead, he just paused for a moment.

"Do you want me to keep talking? Will that keep you awake?" Ryuusha hoped, even though he knew it was impossible. He kept walking, heading for her door.

"...Maybe... You were always... so good at telling stories... Even better than Xander... But don't tell him I said that, ok?" Elise giggled weakly.

"I would never.." Ryuusha gulped for a moment, trying not to cry. "I would never.. I would never tell him a secret between us."

"What was Hoshido like?"

Ryuusha paused for a moment, but then remembered - this Elise had never seen the skies that made her so happy... the cherry trees which never stopped growing.. She had never let that wind blow in her curly hair. She had never married ... the Prince she had come to love..

"It's a beautiful country. A peaceful place. Full of much." Ryuusha said, opening the door to Elise's room slowly. There he saw that the back wall had been torn asunder. But the bed still remained. She could at least sleep comfortably. She could... maybe she would wake up?.... Could he save at least one life? At least this one?

He carried her over to the bed, where he continued to speak.

"The sun, even when it goes down, is still warm upon the people. It doesn't feel so dark. It feels... full of light, like you."

"...I wish Xander would have let me go there.... But he always said we'd take it one day..." Elise said as he placed her on the mattress. "But... I didn't want to hurt anyone. I just wanted us to be friends with them. And Father wouldn't let us..."

"I know... Gods... I know..." Ryuusha said, taking a seat on a stool near her bed. The same stool where she had sat, possibly brushing her own hair. Or maybe her retainer Effie had done it for her. He put his hands together, sighing.

"Maybe, you'll see it in your dreams." he finally said, exhaling. "You can sleep now, Elise. I can't keep you awake any longer."

"But you said..."

"....If you are really tired, Elise... Then go ahead and sleep. I'll be here when you wake up, I promise." he said sincerely, patting her head. "Do you need anything?"

"...There's... a bunch of dolls in the box at the end of my bed." Elise admitted, slightly ashamed. "Do you think anyone would... make fun of me if I had them tonight? Just for tonight. You won't... tell anyone right..?"

"I think they would understand." Ryuusha said, stepping over to the box. He opened the top, gazing at the contents.

Childhood toys, some worn with use, the others brand new. He could only assume Garon's wives had bought them for her, or her siblings. Some were obvious hand me downs. One had to have been Leo's, since it looked so serious.

He grabbed a few of them and headed back over to her bedside, but her eyes were already closed. Her breathing was slowing.

The blood flowing from her missing leg had already stained the bed through the bandages he had made. He had attempted to use healing magic on it... but Anankos had made it impossible.

A corrupted wound cannot heal so easily...

He placed the dolls by her hands, helping her to clutch them tightly.

"...I.... I shall see you in the morning, Elise.... I promise.." he repeated, sitting back on the stool. He sat there for a moment, breathing shallow.

And then he cried. He cried and prayed. Tears flowed from his eyes as the King of Valla could no longer contain his despair. He knew Anankos was watching him now. So he prayed. He prayed to whatever gods existed that someone would come to save him.

Anyone... Anyone at all.

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[ gerome ; northroad ]

 

Gerome tenses as he hears a voice cut through the dust and smoke blown up by Minerva, as he wraps the reigns around his wrist and waits for the smoke to clear.

 

At his side, Minerva is not afraid. Having calmed down from their earlier surprise, the wyvern blinks once, twice. He counts the fluttering of his eyelashes in tandem with his heartbeat, and breathes.

 

He saw the girl's hand move towards a sword sheathed at her side--so they hadn't landed among allies.

 

(No matter. He has seen enough war to not fear battle.)

 

However, his name makes him hesitate, and Gerome is taken by surprise. That voice--

 

Inigo?

 

Behind the mask, his eyes widen. At his side, Minerva stirs, the wyvern unsettled by something. He rests a hand on her side, and gives Inigo and the newcomer a curt nod.

 

"Inigo." He is surprised, shocked, and if not a little bit relieved to find someone he knows in this strange new land, but Gerome reminds himself that the mask covers it all.

 

(He's not here to make friends--not with the impermanent people of the past, anyways.)

 

"Excuse my entrance." What is he doing here?

 

Wait.

 

He narrowed his eyes at the girl, who had abruptly called Inigo ... dad?

 

So in the time it had taken Gerome to fall from the sky, Inigo had already managed to seduce whoever Lucina's group had come upon their travels. But no, that couldn't be ... there was something unsettling about this situation, as if he hadn't the full truth of the matter, yet Gerome felt something clench in his chest. An internal sigh, the furrowing of brows behind his mask, and Gerome reminds himself that his silly attraction to Inigo was purely aesthetic and nothing else--the mercenary was attracted to women, and Gerome was anything but. Lucina's brother, the prince, had royal bearings and good looks, and Gerome found more comfort in wyverns than humans most days. The simple incompatibility between the two had been on the wyvern rider's mind since they had first met, and still it remained.

 

Gerome sheathed his axe--so maybe he did trust Inigo, slightly--and set to work on unravelling Minerva's reigns. At Inigo's comment, he looked up, raising an eyebrow before he remembered the mask.

 

"Of course not," he replied, voice perfectly level. He snapped the strap of leather, before tying them together and giving Minerva a gentle pet on the head. "We saw each other before Lucina ordered us to enter the portal." A pause. Inigo seemed to be avoiding his gaze.

 

Something feels off.

 

He tilted his gaze towards the girl by Inigo's side; curious enough to wonder, but not enough to verbalize his thoughts. Gerome stares, and waits.

 

--

 

[ leon ; border sands ]

 

Well. He wasn't expecting the Hoshidan prince to speak so ... mockingly, yet with a hint of familiarity that Leon narrowed his eyes towards, wondering if the desert's heat was affecting his ability to communicate.

 

He moved his horse closer warily; Viktor snorted under the combination of heavy armour plates and the blazing desert's sun, and Leon made a mental note to finish up here and reach a place where they could both breathe in peace. Already, he was feeling the heat of the unforgiving sun bearing down on his armour, a strange change from the barren, depressing shades so common to Nohr.

 

At Takumi's words, Leon reached up and felt his fingers brush the edges of the crown entwined between his locks.

 

(This doesn't belong to me.)

 

"It's .. the crown," he said incredulously, staring at the Hoshidan prince. "Of Nohr," he clarified, meeting Takumi's gaze. The archer seemed completely relaxed, if not annoyed at their surroundings, and the ease with what he spoke confused the Nohrian prince. "Yes," he agreed. "When I'm not the king, being condescending is my second job. Did you hit your head?"

 

--

 

[ henry ; ylisse --> border pass, current time ]

 

"Oh!"

 

After the light settles, Henry blinks away the fading pieces of confusion from his eyelids. So maybe that flash had taken him by surprise, and maybe exploring deeper into that mysterious cave on the borders of Wyvern Valley wasn't such a good idea, but Henry has spent most of his life not bothering to think of consequences.

 

(And, after had, had it not been for a certain Shepard and his team, he doubts he would even be here.)

 

(He owes a lot to Robin, and entirely too much to place into words.)

 

(So he runs.)

 

"Ah ..." the dark mage says, hearing his voice in the otherwise silent air as he glances around at the large, looming mountains that surround his current location. "What is this?"

 

He hums to himself, not at all worried at this sudden change in events. An excellent course of action from hereon in would be to find someone else; but, as far as the white-haired mage could see, the mountains were empty.

 

At the very least, he recognised the area. Somewhere along the border was where these large mountains guarded, and so long as he was in Ylisse there was no need to worry.

 

He has no ultimate endgoal in mind, so there was no need to rush. Henry lifts his face up to the sky, feeling the wind dance across his skin, and began walking in no specific direction.

 

 

 

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Soleil , Inigo/Laslowuser posted imageuser posted image

 

If Laslow hadn’t steadied Soleil’s sword hand, she would have wiped have whipped her blade out as soon as she caught the stranger’s glare. What was the big deal anyway? She asked Laslow a simple question and that somehow made the grumpy man, Gerome according to Laslow, suspicious all of a sudden. The hell was his problem? Did he have something against families or something? Was he one of those “mysterious” guys who acted all cool and swathe but secretly had daddy issues or something?

 

Albeit reluctantly, Soleil removed her hand from the handle of her sword, but not before shooting a glare at the stranger. Laslow’s uncharacteristically nervous demeanor didn’t escape Soleil’s notice and, with no other reasonable explanation in sight, she could only conclude that Gerome was the reason for her father’s uneasiness. At Gerome’s nonchalant reply, Laslow looked up with his eyes wide with surprise. He stared momentarily, opened his mouth to speak and then interrupted himself with an anxious chuckle.

“I suppose we did,” he said gently, carefully weighing his words. “We did see each other after we arrived, didn’t we?”

 

“Okay,” Soleil said, not giving Gerome a chance to reply to Laslow. “Could someone explain what’s going? Who is this man, Dad?” There was something to be said about the man who could turn Laslow into a blushing bundle of nerves, let alone the fact that he called Laslow by a foreign name that he replied to. Laslow blinked in surprise, glancing over at Soleil who had crossed her arms and raised an inquisitive eyebrow. The anxious spell that befell Laslow was wiped away by the goofy grin that spread across his lips.

 

“Ah, where are my manners?” Laslow said as he straightened himself up. “This—” Laslow made a vague motion towards Gerome, keeping his eyes on Soleil. “—is my good friend Gerome. We’ve known each other since we were children.”

“Oh!” Soleil felt her shoulder relax as she turned to look Gerome over. Laslow had told her numerous stories about a wyvern rider who always had girls flocking to him and who rode a wyvern who had taken a liking to Laslow’s dancing. If Gerome was an old friend of her father’s, then there was no reason to worry, right? Although Soleil, having known her father her entire life, could practically see him shoving his anxiety down his throat, she made no comment as he placed a hand on her shoulder and turned to Gerome. “It’s been a while,” he said cordially. “What have you been doing since I last saw you?”

 

—————

Takumiuser posted image

 

The absurdity of Leo’s response elicited a hearty chuckle out of Takumi.

“Are you sure being condescending isn’t your first job?” he asked. A warm smile spread upon his face as the familiarity of the back and forth teasing. He had craved for the casual intimacy between Leo and himself—the same intimacy he had been deprived of ever since he left Castle Shirasagi to help with war relief.

 

As wonderful as it was to see Leo again after so many years apart, there was something off with the encounter. There was no mistaking the suspicion within Leo’s narrowed eyes; the way his shoulders were tensed as he tilted his chin upward as though he was sneering down at Takumi. Leo’s expression held some semblance to how he looked at Takumi at the beginning of the war when neither of them wanted to even be within the same vicinity of one another, but no, that couldn’t be right. If Leo wasn’t an illusion and had somehow been teleported into the desert with Takumi, then he had every reason to be wary of his surroundings.

 

Takumi sighed softly, absentmindedly scratching the side of his neck as he slowly unraveled what he assumed was the truth of the situation. He and Leo were practically identical, heck, they had been given the nickname of “The Twins” for goodness sake. Takumi had been initially cautious, as he should have, just as Leo currently was. His behavior was perfectly rational. Well, it made sense all except for one little detail.

 

“Did you hit your head?” Takumi countered with a soft titter. “Last I checked, someone else was already king. Speaking of which, where is your circlet?” A quick survey of Viktor revealed that he wasn’t carrying any bags that Leo could have stored his circlet in. He wasn’t the type to weigh himself down with unnecessary accessories or pouches considering how hefty his armor was so he couldn’t possible be carrying his circlet on his person. Xander couldn’t have passed away so soon and, even if he did, Takumi had seen Camilia less than a week ago. Nothing that Leo said was in anyway logically coherent, but that might have to do with the glaring head beating down upon him.

 

Takumi glanced up, squinting up at the sky as he attempted to shade his face with his hand. The sun was truly unforgiving, wasn’t it? The simmering heat was only so bearable. Takumi, who was used to the humid climate of Hoshido, could already feel the dryness of his skin when he brushed his thumb against his arm; it was almost as though the sun had vaporized the moisture in his skin, leaving what would soon become a crusted surface. Nohr was drier than Hoshido, but there was no doubt in Takumi’s mind that Leo and Viktor would suffer even more considering how much armor they had draped over their bodies (not to mention that Takumi was sure neither of them had stepped foot in a desert outside of the time during the war where they had to).

 

“As much as I’d like to stand here and argue with you for the next give hours or sure, could we perhaps move this conversation elsewhere?” Takumi asked. He lowered his arms, grasping the Fujin Yumi firmly in his left hand. “You and Viktor are going to melt if you stand out here for too much longer.” Last Takumi had checked, there hadn’t been any nearby shelter to hold up at until night came. Straightening up, Takumi took another glance at the horizon and found that his initial assumption hadn’t be wholly accurate. There was a broken down fort within a clear walking distance, but it was disrepair. Far further off was what appeared to be what Takumi could only assume what was a small gathering of buildings or otherwise large distinguished objects. Takumi wasn’t sure how far it would take to reach the objects, let alone if they would provide any of the food, water, or shelter he and Leo so desperately needed if they were going to survive in the desert, but he wasn’t about to make an executive decision. If there was one thing both he and Leo hated, it was been spoken over like they didn’t matter. Brushing a strand of hair of his face, Takumi stared at Leo expectantly, waiting for him to speak.

 

—————

Chromuser posted image

 

There was no explanation for why Chrom was sailing through the air. Well, there probably was an explanation, but if there was any sense of reason within the situation, Chrom did not know what it was. It had been three months after Emmeryn passed away. King Gangrel had been defeated two months prior and Chrom took his place as the reigning Exalt.

 

He didn’t know how long he had been standing in front of his sister’s grave. He had drawn his cape closer in an effort to fight off the bitter cold, his fingers digging into the fabric. Robin had shown up, slowly walking up behind him before stopping by his side. Neither of them spoke—Chrom had learned long ago that Robin could comfort him without saying a word. Chrom felt Robin’s hands wrap around his arm, clutching him firmly. He instinctively pulled Robin towards him and let out a soft sigh that as he closed his eyes. He could feel Robin settle against his chest with a soft sigh of his own. Chrom listened to Robin’s even breathing as he intertwined their fingers together. There was a certain comfort that only Robin could offer; a type of relaxation that could only wash over Chrom when his closest friend was by his side. He wasn’t entirely sure if it had anything to do with them being kindred spirits, whatever that was, or if it was something greater. What mattered was that, despite everything, they were together and no matter what happened, they would have each other’s back.

 

They must have stood at the grave for hours because when Robin finally detached himself from Chrom’s arm, he yawned as he stretched his stiff limbs.

“Are you coming back?” Robin asked with a sideways glance (Chrom was thankful that he didn’t say anything about the dry tears staining his cheeks.) Chrom opened his eyes and shook his head.

“No, I’m going to stay out here for a little while longer.” Robin did not reply. He placed his hand on Chrom’s shoulder and gently squeezed. “Come back soon,” is what Chrom knew Robin wanted to say, but the tactician kept his lips pursed together. Chrom listened to the jiggle of his friend’s belt as he walked away. Breathing in, Chrom closed his eyes once more. He would follow Robin, he always would, but he needed more time.

 

Seconds after Chrom closed his eyes, the ground vanished from underneath him which brought him to his current situation. His eyes flew open as a shrill cry escaped his throat. He was falling through the air, limbs flailing wildly before his body suddenly crashed into the stone floor. The breath was knocked out of Chrom, causing him to arch his back as he began to cough profusely.

“Gods,” he groaned as he slowly rose to his knees. When he looked up, his entire body froze in place. On a bed covered by rainwater was what appeared to be a young girl laying down and a man who was sitting down on the bed. Was that man crying? Bewildered and curious, Chrom stood himself up, brushing the dust off his armor. “Um, hello?” Chrom called out cautiously. “Are you alright, sir?”

Edited by Doctortear

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There was at first a noise, as though time and space itself was distorted - as though an action was happening that shouldn't have happened.

Then, here had been a whistle in the wind, a hushed sound of pressure changing, as the man had appeared before him. Ryuusha sat upon the chair, his head lowered, at first unwilling to gaze upon the newcomer.

He believed it was another illusion of Anankos. He removed one of his gloves and rubbed his eyes clean of tears with his hand before placing his glove back on his cold palm.

 

Something isn't right. The newcomer has yet to speak. And it feels...

He looked up, confused, at the new shape standing before him, between him and Elise's broken body. This figure.. this face... Something was off. He knew the man. What had his name been?

"....Was your name... Chro... Chrom?" Ryuusha finished, utterly at loss for words. It had been ages since it had seen this man last, in another world, in another reality. The only reason he remembered the name was because Ryuki had mentioned it so many times - as well as Odin and Selena. Chrom, the King of Ylisse, another world far from Ryuusha's own...

Ryuusha stood to his feet, placing a hand on the man's shoulder to be sure of this reality. He patted the man's arm, forgetting his manners, his eyes full of desperation.

"You... You're REAL! You're truly warm and real!" Ryuusha said, grabbing the man's arms slightly harder than was probably kind. "I'm... How did you get here?! You feel far more real than anything else within this dimension!"

A mad grin covered his face and he released Chrom, laughing slightly.

"Finally, finally is there a way to escape this Pit of Damnation!?" he whispered, unable to believe it at first. "For if there is a way to get here.. there must also be a way out!"

He turned back to Chrom.

"You... Fellow King... I have grave news for you - this place is not a normal world." Ryuusha began, waving his hand for emphasis. "I know you may have many questions. So do I. But we cannot focus on them for now. You've been pulled within a Nightmare constructed of my mind, one I have not been able to escape. But if you are truly real - if you are not an illusion made by my Father - then we can work together to get out of here. I'm SURE of it. Please, I beg of you-"

He stepped to Chrom, grabbing the man's hand.

"Help me escape! This place tears at my mind! It shows me visions of the deaths of everyone I ever loved! The destruction of kingdoms I saved! Look around you! Behold, the power of this dimension!"

He gestured to outside of the room, where a war waged over the lost kingdom of Nohr.

"This... this was Nohr... A kingdom ruled by my adopted Father, Garon. But now, it is a waste, because of my TRUE father -... Anankos. Those are your answers. They are the truth." he said, eyes full of fire. "Believe what you will, but Anankos is our common enemy now."

 

-----

 

Lissa, Owain, and Severa

 

"This is REALLY worrying!" Lissa muttered, concerned. "I mean, I know my brother can be stupid, but he can't have forgotten where an entire town was! I know it was there!"

"I remember it too..." Owain said, frowning. "Mother, do you have any idea what may have happened?"

"No! All I remember was standing with Ryuki inside the castle, and him playing one of his tactical games again with Chrom... The next thing we know, we're BOTH grabbed by some weird light and thrown into the sky! Then there was a tunnel..."

"And you were separated..." Severa finished, rubbing her arms. "Ophelia..."

Owain turned back to her, at a loss for words. He'd never seen her like this. But he could understand her feelings. He pulled her close, hoping it would help.

"We need to find Chrom. He can tell us what happened, right?"

"...Right..."

 

-----

 

Selkie was on a determined path now, and nothing could stop her. As Ryuki tagged behind her, he could only wonder what had made her so convicted.

What had she seen?

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Posted (edited)

Jordan startled at the sound of the boy's laughter.

 

“Please, just call me Forrest."

 

Forrest? An odd name, not one he heard very often. For the obvious association, he imagined greens and grey-blues to accent his clothes, but pink was green's inverse, and so he decided "pink" would be only befitting to wreath this "Forrest".

 

 

He also considered how lucky he was no one could read his mind right about now.

 

 

"You’re currently on the outskirts of Macarath on the northern side," Forrest continued, but that didnt lend him any more information. "Macarath"? Was that a town? Maybe this town? Or...was it a kingdom? A city, more than a town? Or was it even as far as a continent??? Not like he'd be able to tell, even with a map: the place was drenched in a pitch-black haze, save for the pinpricks of light that escaped the murk. When he looked to them to argue this point, he realized something very peculiar...

 

Why...are the stars...moving???

 

Yes, indeed, that's what it appeared to be: the spots of bright would cover and obscure, shift, then appear for but a moment before disappearing in full again. Like little tears in the sky being sewn up in haste, seams spacing as the sky strained against such crude work...

 

“It’s about two hours until noon,” Forrest explained further, "The weather should most likely stay the same throughout the day, but it’s always like that.”

 

Jordan's eyes squinted and his lips lifted in disbelief. Not at Forrest, he didn't have any reason to not believe him; it was just unbelievable that a place like this could function under the cover of perpetual night! Why was it like that, he wondered, and how could plants grow here? But when he went to inspect the ground, he found the grasses short and bristly, not at all soft and lush like the verdant plains back home. One of his favorite things to do was run his feet through tender spring grass--this, though? It was as inviting as running through broken glass. He was betrayed by a quiet groan of mild disgust, and realized he was at risk of being rude, so he dragged his attention from the ground and back to Forrest, who was idly brushing a stray bit of hair back under his beret.

 

Oh no...I didn't bore him, did I?

 

He panicked and clutched his hands into fists, pushing them near his stomach to hide his nerves; Jordan tried to pick through what little had been said for a topic starter, but his mind went blank. What had Forrest just told him again? Something...about the weather? But that was such a cheap cop-out! His brow twitched, and he felt a bead of sweat beginning to form at his temple when Forrest piped up again.

 

“Are you foreigner, if you don’t mind me asking? I’d like to think I’m rather informed when it comes to fashion and I’m sure I would have recognized such a delightful sense of fashion such as yours if it was local.”

 

"Oh!" Jordan nearly burst with relief--he'd been saved! Who cared if it was probably just feigned interest? If someone was willing to take one for the sake of conversation, he wasn't about to ride them for it! At first, he confidence'd up his demeanor by standing straight, but realized puffing out his chest revealed the seam in the middle of his shirt. Did he see that?! Is he patronizing me?! Jordan was either not savvy enough tell--likely--or Forrest was exceptional at hiding it. No matter--he tugged his jacket closed in a fashion where it made him look more confident. Before he could answer, Forrest tacked on another bit of important information.

 

 

"Oh, do mind the horse! She's war trained so she gets a bit frisky around strangers."

 

 

"Good to know," he said, the words slipping out before he could stop them. Jordan liked horses plenty, especially the shapes of their bodies and their overall intelligence, but he'd never entertained the idea of approaching one. His mother had always been more of a dragon person, so it wasn't a surprise that Jordan had become one, too. Flying lizards he could deal with--horses: still under investigation.

 

But enough of that! Answer him before he dies waiting!

 

"Uh...well...I guess you'd say I am! Um...see, I've never heard of 'Macarath' before," he motioned somewhere behind him in no particular direction, "I'm from Ylisse. Do you know where that is from here?"

 

That suffices, right? He poured back through the conversation, now that his head would let him. He wasn't forgetting something, was he?

 

 

...a delightful sense of fashion such as yours...

 

 

Jordan felt himself freeze up in realization.

 

 

Oh, gods...I got complimented...

 

 

His fingers tightened around the edges of his jacket in response, and he felt himself stooping over from the crippling sensations overtaking him.

 

 

Oh...oh, gods...

 

 

What was he supposed to do? The most reasonable answer was to deny it. It's just clothes! Yours are so much nicer! It's not like I made them or something! This old thing? Pfeh! It's a hand-me down. I'm just commoner filth don't even start on me... It left him in a bind so tight it threatened to wind his body onto itself. He couldn't accept it as it was objectively lies...

 

 

But...

 

 

"...and..." he said, so quietly it was barely audible, "...uh...you...really think they're okay? These clothes?"

 

Just tell me no, he plead silently, knowing it was lies. Don't lie to me like that. Don't try to suck up to me...you don't even know me...you don't know who wore these clothes before me! Stop trying to be on my good side! What are you trying to accomplish?! Stop lying to me!...stop trying to be nice to me...

 

-------------------------------

 

He was gone before Libra could even say goodbye.

 

 

His hand, tensed and extended out towards his son, fell back to his side, listless.

 

A moment of tension throughout himself, then righting himself straight. The empty, reaching hand found succor on the basket over his shoulder, and he sighed—a deep, heavy sigh, but it could not ease the pressing around the center of his chest. Not just because of Jordan, no...he tightened his grasp and turned toward the house, easing the door closed behind him; it was a silly tendency he knew, but one hard to break.

 

The basket was placed on the dining room table, deftly unloaded and sorted and stored. The only items not matched to cupboards was a jar of rhubarb jam and a loaf of rye—a favorite in the household, with just a hint of citrus to compliment. Once the basket was placed back in the closet—she had a thing for haphazard organization, called it “chaos theory”—he plucked a couple cups and the teapot out as he went and placing them on the table. In the kitchen, he found the airtight jars--one decorated in apples and labeled “Sinnamon”, the other white with blue dragons labeled “Nighters”. Both were penned in graceless handwriting, faded by oily thumbing and sunlight, the edges curling and brittle with age. Without thinking, he brushed a thumb over one again, hearing it catch and ripple against the ridges in his skin. Without realizing it, her voice became clear as day again, and he saw her fiddling with the label in his place, little fingers nicked by nervous bites rolling the paper against the porcelain obsessively.

 

 

Damn things...I knew I shoulda had ‘um engraved...

 

 

The memory of gentle, adoring laughter at her expense.

 

 

But what if the contents were changed? Certainly, you don’t intend to refill them with the same two teas indefinitely?

 

 

Her cheek sucked in, and a click of her tongue—

 

 

...well, yeah...but it’s such a damn nuisance...

 

 

Tts!-tts!-tts!-tts!...forever the sound of parchment flicking adhesive. She’d never pulled them off and replaced them. So long as the teas remained, so would they.

 

 

You will just have to restrain yourself, dear.

 

 

And he’d pulled them away—that same pouty scowl.

 

 

Yeah, yeah...but that’s harder than you think.

 

 

But she’d pushed lightly against his abdomen, a frown turning to a smirk.

 

 

Betcha know what I’m talkin’ about, right?

 

 

...leaving him flustered and hot in many areas, his hands forced to relieve his frustrations into the shape of the jars. How even the barest, most open-faced lewdness could consume him—him! A man of the cloth!-- so easily, and all the while she’d walk off, leaned back in her appropriate chair at the table, an ear angled toward the window to lose herself to the sound of rain. Like nothing had ever happened.

 

 

Libers, make sure to grab the--

 

 

 

He was startled by the growing peal of the kettle—When did I start that?--just next to him, and he hurried to douse the burner and take the kettle along, but he was now utterly confused. When he looked for the tea canisters, he couldn’t find them, and in their place were the kettle...and a clear jar of honey. He took one more look around the kitchen just to prove he was sane, and went back to the dining room, finding white-and-blue and green-with-apples in their proper places, waiting expectantly. Guests in their own home, and Libra feeling all but like a stranger himself; he, too, remained still, unable to speak for the strain in his throat, unable to move for the weakness in his knees. It dawned on him.

 

 

 

He was becoming a creature of habit.

 

 

 

In place of spontaneity, there was ritual. Where there had been messes to clean and rooms to organize now reigned a nearly impregnable perfection. Tins of spices left in their places, trinkets and knickknacks on the mantle leaving shapes in the dust—though he did dust there; he just never moved them--, a stack of papers detailing the life and times of the Hero King, still yet to be published...

 

And he, moving in perfect synchronicity with it all. Even in the breadth of time between thoughts, he found himself filling the pot and spooning—W-where did I get this spoon?—some of the “Sinnamon” tea into the strainer. Two scoops, as it always was, followed by a second or so of pouring from the honey jar to the two cups. He didn’t bother stopping until the realization struck him again, this time worse than the last.

 

 

Tea for two.

 

 

The kettle fell to the wooden table, rattling the cups with its weight. Libra sat down in the far seat, facing the door, but he was disinterested in what lay outside. His hands slid up his face and he sat there, elbows on the table, watching the black behind his eyelids.

 

 

You are not wrong, my son...I am dwelling. We both suffer under the same torment, day-in and day-out. We are both wondering “why?”...

 

 

His fingers tensed against his head, thinking of the non-answer they’d been given.

 

 

...but if we do not forge onward, we will remain in this rut. While it is easier to walk a path than brave the wild, the path lends nothing but security. If I continue in this direction, the only place I am to be lead is nowhere.

 

 

And Libra, for all that he had once believed in, no longer wanted to be lead. He no longer wished to follow. Though he had kept his dedications intact, much of his faith had been discarded once his vows to his love had been established, and coming face-to-face with one’s patron deity only to learn that they were not, in fact, a deity to any degree somewhat scrubbed away any remaining alliance he’d once had with her. Yes, he followed Naga’s teachings, and yes, he still offered up his thanks before meals out of habit and respect—she had been instrumental in the continuation of the human species, after all—but he no longer attended mass or proclaimed the good word to any that would listen.

 

Now, he did everything out of kindness and for the love of people, not out of a sense of duty or fate. No longer was he plagued by any feelings of doubt and falsehood—his principles and morality, his goals and aspirations were galvanized in the storm of her candid inquisition.

 

 

For that, he knew who he owed thanks--not to Naga, but to “her”.

 

 

He stood to take up the cup across from him when a light rapping sounded from the door.

 

“Hey, Joooordan! Are you home?...oh!”

 

He recognized the voice immediately. Libra decided to leave the cup where it sat—it was going to see some use, if he knew her well—and opened the door to a particularly surprised Nah. Her hands were on her cheeks, and she appeared to be a little flushed. He tilted his head and smiled sweetly at her.

 

“Good day to you again, Miss Nah. Come to see Jordan, I presume?”

 

She began twiddling her fingers and looked off to the side.

 

“Y-yeah...I, uh...thought you were him, actually...do you know where he is?”

 

“I’m sorry to say I don’t unfortunately,” he said, the memory tightening his face for just a second. “As well, he admitted that he would like to have the day to himself, if you don’t mind. I’m sure he bears no ill will toward you.”

 

Nah’s expression fell a little, and her lips twitched to the side a bit.

 

“Aww...okay...well, if you see him, tell him I’ve got a present for him. I guess I’ll check back up on him tomorrow, if that’s okay.”

 

“That’s fine. I’m sure he’ll be gladdened to see you.” He opened the door wider and motioned in.

 

“Why don’t you join me for tea? You must be starving after such a long walk here; I procured a fresh loaf of rye and jam from the market, and I’ve just set the table for Jordan and myself. It would be a waste to let the pot go cold.”

 

Her expression brightened, a little gasp giving her away.

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Of course. I suppose he might be a bit rifled when he discovers I’ve cut the loaf without him,” he chuckled, “but that is the price he pays for tardiness.”

 

“Weeeell...okay. I can’t say no to free food!”

 

Allowing Nah to know the weight the situation wasn’t ideal, so he continued to skirt around it until she inevitably asked. She had a knack for reading Jordan’s movements and intentions more accurately what Libra could ever hope to accomplish, and she almost always checked in with him for updates on how he was doing; for now, though, she gratefully joined him at the table, immediately spying the apple-jar as he cut a pair of slices for the two of them.

 

“Ooh...what’s this one, Mr. L? Says here it’s called...’Sinnamon’? Is that a misspelling?”

 

He couldn’t repress a giggle at that. It would be hard to explain in detail—one needed an almanac to the mechanisms of the mind who named it, and it was so situational it was nearly absurd—so he gave her the short-form instead.

 

“Aha-ha-ha~...no, that was entirely intentional. I’ll only say that it is a complex joke on the owner’s part.” Libra began pouring Nah’s glass, shifting to fill his own next. The smell of cinnamon—the obvious flavor—, cardamom, ginger and licorice wafted across the table, coaxing a sound of delight from Nah.

 

“Wow, I guess I’m in on part of the joke, at least. That’s really spicy! It almost smells like gingerbread!”

 

“You’re correct,” he passed a spoon and the honey to her, “Ginger is one of the main components of this brew. It was one of Alex’s favorites for that reason.”

 

He felt himself go quiet at that, becoming aware of the strained look on her face as the silence was filled by birds. To distract himself, he began dolloping the rhubarb jam onto the slices. As he worked, he heard he set the jar down and pick up the other.

 

“Oh...uh...what about this one? This is ‘Nighters’? That’s a weird name. Does it has chamomile in it?”

 

Returning to his seat, he let the feeling lapse and offered another smile.

 

“Right again, Nah. While typically thought of as a sleep aid, we used both teas in tandem as a balancing act: Sinnamon for livening morning or lunch conversation, and Nighters to even us out going into afternoon or evening. She was a fan of ingredients that were possible to find in one’s backyard or home town; as such, this tea consists of elements such as the aforementioned chamomile, peppermint and spearmint, lavender and lemon, cornflowers—“

 

He halted.

 

 

...it’s like the bluest thing ever. We need to pick a bunch of ‘um and just litter the floors with them!

 

 

“—a-and roses,” he choked out. Nah was staring at him by this point; perhaps she felt awkward by the display, but she quickly replaced the tea next to its companion. Libra looked for a means of outlet, possibly the slice of bread just in front of him, but his appetite was waning. Instead, he brought the cup to his lips, focusing on the scent of ginger to drive the pain away.

 

 

 

“Are you okay?”

 

 

He finished the mouthful and set it back down, standing up and pushing the chain back under the table. He bowed slightly to the manakete, an apologetic smile on his face.

 

“If you would excuse me for a moment...I need to head outside for a bit. Please, enjoy as much of the meal as you’d like.” He retrieved his monk’s raiment—the coolness was a bit prickling to his thin black turtleneck—and headed toward the door. He looked over his shoulder one last time before continuing.

 

“I shall return shortly. Make yourself at home in the meantime.”

 

Without awaiting a reply, he went around to the back of the house and headed to the small, comely shed that stood there. He headed in and shut the door quietly—again, this old habit of his—and found a few familiar faces awaiting him. There was a Brave Axe, a Bolt Axe, and an assortment of staves up on the wall, but he had no need for them. For now, all he wanted was quiet, without a pair of eyes watching him...no matter how well-intent they were.

 

 

It seems we, too, bear our sorrows similarly...if only I could convince you that I understand.

 

 

 

 

He closed his eyes, but the dark did not come.

--------

 

“---uugh?!”

 

Falling. Falling...falling so quickly, so fast without warning coming up onto him the ground sO FAST---!!!

 

 

“Gh—AAGH!!!”

 

His everything collided with hard, compacted ground. He grimaced and tried to open his eyes, but they forced shut with the sound of weapons striking the dirt all around him. Libra thought for certain he was close to being hit, but the racket stopped aside from the sound of a staff rolling to a stop against the stone. He eased his eyes open, successfully this time, and examined his surroundings.

 

But he didn’t believe it.

 

“What?! B...the border--?!”

 

Yes, he recognized this area. This was the mountainous path that made up the border between Plegia and Ylisse. How in the world was that possible?!

 

“Naga above...nngh...” He struggled to his feet and looked around himself, finding the same weapons that had occupied the shed with him, plus a Mend. He took the Bolt Axe in hand and holstered the Brave Axe, keeping the Mend in his left hand just in case. It was at times like these where he wished that one could channel magic from a staff to oneself, but he could feel whatever that had bruised or broken was slowly beginning to renew itself. He was thankful for that odd trait, one that had saved him many times, and was glad his son had seemed to inherited his penchant for quick recovery.

 

Now that he’d gathered himself and had time to explore, he found a bunch of white above crowning a dark traveler. From the way the ravens seemed to caw and flutter to his movements, he knew it could only be one person.

 

He wasn’t sure if he was relieved or dismayed by it.

 

“Henry! Please, ease your stride for a moment!” He called out to the figure, and picked up the pace to quickly match him. There was some form of trickery about, and if anyone knew anything about “tricks”, it was him.

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Forrest  user posted image

 

Oh dear, he hadn’t disturbed the poor stranger, had he? The way the stranger fidgeted and shifted his eyes up and down, eyebrows knitted in thought, did not escape Forrest’s attention. Did he make the boy uncomfortable? Forrest doubted he emitted the same air of sternness that his uncle did, but, then again, he was speaking to a foreigner who apparently had no idea where he was. If the way he had been in the stranger’s situation, Forrest would squirm about uncomfortably as well.

 

Politely ignoring the stranger’s disbelieving look and the disgusted sound emitting from the back of his throat (was something Forrest said that deplorable?), Forrest cocked his head to the side as the stranger spoke up.

“Ylisse?” Forrest echoed, biting his lip as he brought a clenched hand to his lips. He had studied studiously in the deeprealms—Forrest should have been able to fish out whatever knowledge of nearby countries or important locations out of the reaches of his memories. He twirled a finger around a strand of hair idly as he diverted his gaze to the side. There certainly wasn’t a place called Ylisse in Nohr and Forrest was confident there was no such place in Hoshido unless it was remote and less known. Could it perhaps be in some neighboring country or was it perhaps a far off land that Forrest couldn’t possibly have any recollection of? No, Forrest’s mind asserted, it had to be somewhere nearby. How could the stranger just stumble upon a Nohrian city with no idea where he was? This “Ylisse” had to be somewhere nearby or, at the least, within a reasonable distance.

 

“I’m afraid I haven’t heard of Ylisse before,” Forrest admitted with a shake of his head. “But, if you can name any prominent landmarks near Ylisse, perhaps I can figure out its approximate distance from process of elimination. It shouldn’t be too hard, I’ve had years of—Oh!” As Forrest glanced back at the stranger, he realized that the foreigner was bent over with his fingers tightly clutching the edges of his jacket. Forrest felt a wave of panic wash over him. Was the stranger okay? Gods, Forrest hadn’t scared him, had he?

 

Quickly dismounting his steed, Forrest walked up warily towards the stranger making sure to keep a respectable distance least he startle the foreigner.

“Oh gods, darling are you alright?” Forrest asked as concern washed over his features. Softly, Forrest heard the stranger say, "...and...uh...you...really think they're okay? These clothes?" For a heartbeat, Forrest stood still, processing what the stranger had said.

“Is that what you were worried about?” Forrest asked as he smiled kindly. For a moment, Forrest thought the stranger had been hurt or frightened. If a few more compliments was what it took to fuel the foreigner's confidence, then Forrest was up to the task.

 

“‘Okay’ is such an improper word to describe just how lovely those clothes are,” Forrest reassured. “It’s not everyday I see such an outfit with an intricate design paired with a simple color scheme that compliments it. Not to mention, not everyone can pull off that particular shade of purple as wonderfully as you.” Forrest made a general motion towards the stranger’s jacket. “There’s some obvious stitching and patchwork done, but that just gives it more character. Seeing someone so lovingly preserve such a fine article of clothing is quite telling of your…. Ah, I’m rambling, aren’t I?” Forrest chuckled softly as he awkwardly rubbed his cheek. He had perked up at the chance to talk about fashion, but that wasn’t what this stranger needed. “My apologizes for wasting your time; you must want to figure out where you are as quick as possible. What sort of places are near Ylisse?”

 

—————

Chromuser posted image

 

This “sir” was most certainly not alright by any stretch of the imagination. His hand strayed to the hilt of the Falchion, grip tight as the stranger caught him into a gleeful hold before going off on a tangent that Chrom could barely comprehend. He couldn’t help but feel a twinge of apprehension towards the stranger at the man who rambled nonsensically and grabbed him so roughly. It had only been a few minutes since Robin had been by his side, but Chrom longed for the tactician to be by his side to assess the situation and provide not only advice what to do but the comfort that he expected from his cherished friend. Idly, his fingers brushed the arm that was still warm from Robin’s touch. He didn’t have Robin with him now, but perhaps there was something he could do for this stranger. After all, hadn’t he only acquired Robin’s friendship after trusting him when the two were nothing more than strangers?

 

“I… can’t say I completely understand what you speak of or know of how I got here. I was by a grave with my friend one minute and here the next,” Chrom admitted as he looked up at the stranger. Gods, he looked so desperate. Chrom loathed to see someone stare at him so helplessly. It was in his nature to help everyone he came across, but what could he possibly do for this man he knew nothing of in a place that he didn’t recognize. “Despite that, I’m willing you lend you my aid, provided I can even do so in such a peculiar place. You already know my name it seems, although being an Exalt isn’t exactly the same as a king, so what’s your name?”

Edited by Doctortear

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Ryuusha frowned for a moment, his hands hanging by his sides. The nightmares he had gone through for the past two months had made him forget how to speak to people without fear of death or attack. For a moment, he felt ... safe? Not truly, but safe enough.

The Nightmare they were in... it wouldn't end until the entire kingdom fell, down to the last man. Then the army of Faceless would seek a new victim... him. And he would be powerless as he tried to fight every single one, only for his sword to fail him as they tore him apart...

He shook his head. His limbs were still intact, for now. But that's how every Nightmare ended. And now Chrom was a part of this. Would he resurrect too, if the same happened to him? Ryuusha felt a strong grip of fear. Was this another test by Anankos? An actual life to protect? No more illusions?

Damnable dragon wretch! Ryuusha gritted his teeth unconsciously but then relaxed as he finally replied to Chrom, all of his thoughts happening at once.

"I am King Ryuusha Sumeragi." he said. "King of a world beneath the earth, one whose name... I cannot speak within this realm. I am sorry I cannot explain why. It doesn't help your faith in me, does it?"

He didn't add the fact Sumeragi was his adoptive father. Still, he had taken his father's name in Hoshido tradition, though most last names were never spoken in their land. It was unnecessary for Nohrians or Hoshidans to reveal anything beyond their first names.

But Ryuusha had wished to truly show his devotion to his family of Nohr and Hoshido, and chose to bury his father's legend... his darker father. Though he had heard the true story...

"I'm sorry. That wasn't entirely truthful. I told you before I am the son of Anankos, but I did not appreciate his existence." Ryuusha began again, sighing. "And if we are to work together, Elise taught me to be more honest than I was when I was younger."

Elise...

"Anankos was a scourge to two empires, Nohr and Hoshido. But both sides already despised each other, because Hoshido was the land of plenty and the sun, but Nohr was the land of nothing and Dusk. Though their military might was far beyond Hoshido's, and they possessed more proud members, Hoshido was strong in resources and honor. So Anankos forged a plan and made the two sides go into all out war..."

He remembered the timelines, all at once, as though in a flashback.

"But I witnessed the truth of his actions, and I searched for a way to slay him and stop his wickedness. Along the way, I discovered my sword - Yato's - true power. And I also discovered the other truth - Anankos had once been a good god of light but had fallen prey to a dark corruption. His death ended a great being... but I had to do what was right."

He placed a hand on the hilt of his sword thoughtfully, grooming his beard with his other hand.

"Ryuki told me that you had been a great king... an Exalt of a Kingdom far away from my own. You had led your people against a demonic dragon, a beast of evil known as Grima, and had saved them from the threat of a doomed future. He never told me real specifics besides the dark one's name - said that it was better I didn't know. But Odin and Selena... Owain and Severa told me that they weren't exactly normal children. Then again, my own dimension isn't a stranger to that notion!"

He chuckled fondly.

"...Wait... my daughter.." he began, suddenly gripped with worry. He had thought of her and Selkie numerous times but had not seen a bit of them save their illusions in this world.

"Chrom... I wish to ask you something before we begin. Do you know of the worry of a father who lost the faith of his family?"

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[ gerome ; northroad ]

 

Is this a joke?

 

Behind the mask, Gerome narrowed his eyes. He watched the interaction between Inigo and this mysterious girl--despite having known Inigo since they were children, the wyvern rider still felt at a loss reading most social cues, Inigo especially. There was just something about the blue-haired dancer that made him so frustrating to understand; Gerome was constantly having to compare what his mind believed Inigo had said to what the swordsman probably meant.

 

So, confronted with this situation he still didn't quite understand (and really, when does he ever understand? All of Lucina's army, her cause, their purpose, is a mystery he will never fully comprehend) Gerome felt utterly complexed.

 

"I would like an explanation as well," Gerome said, placing a hand on his hip as the rider turned to fully face the two, axe at his side. "The last time I saw you, Inigo, we were about to enter the portal. And you didn't have your ..." He eyed the girl. "Companion."

 

--

 

[ leon ; border sands ]

 

The Hoshidan prince's easy acceptance of his words, and, rather, his backlash that seemed neither discriminatory or entirely hateful, was all perplexing to the Nohrian king. Why did Takumi insist on questioning about the whereabouts of his circlet, something he hadn't worn since they had loss the war and an uneasy peace had been achieved?

 

Of course, Leon knows where it is--his quarters, a place where no one really roamed, not anymore, on a dusty old book that remained one of his favourites. A relic of the past that a stronger man would have the heart to throw out, but he is neither a bold man nor a heartless king.

 

He has seen, and knows all too well what a ruler without mercy is like, and Leon does not know how to rule when there has been no one to teach him justice.

 

Before he could forge an answer that gave away a little and never too much--a skill learnt long ago from a life of obeying and never caring--the other spoke again, this time suggesting that they move the conversation elsewhere. For a moment, Leon forgot all suspicions and agreed wholeheartedly; the blazing heart from an unfamiliar sun reached down on his armour until he felt his head spin with the sudden warmth, and beneath his legs he felt Viktor adjust with the passing of every second, his posture uncomfortable in the weather. His favourite steed was not built for withstanding a temperature unbecoming of Nohrian lands, and Leon was near desperate to find some source of shade to wait out this neverending dry land.

 

However, the blond was wary. This was Takumi, the once enemy, the little Hoshidan prince who had never liked his people much, had participated in battle with his siblings on flying white horses and flags raised high and won because that's what Hoshido did, they won the war and kept Corrin's faith and grew up knowing exactly what 'family' meant--

 

But he is not here to mourn over what could have been. Otherwise, he would have driven himself mad.

 

He followed the other's gaze towards a seemingly abandoned fort on the verge of collapse. Leon turned his gaze from the fort back to the one before him, and paused.

 

Almost instinctively, he felt the familiar edge of Brynhildr at his side as he adjusted his posture. No--despite his anxieties, the Nohrian prince felt ready to follow Takumi. If it was truly a trap by his enemies, he would not be overwhelmed.

 

Losing a war has proven to him the reaches of human possibility, shed the remaining last fragments of mercy from his mind in the face of a time when his people had none. No, if this was a Hoshidan ploy, Leon would not surrender.

 

"I suppose," he agreed, tightening the reins so Viktor turned in the direction of the fort. Though a part of him warned him not to engage in further conversation, curiosity made him turn his head and regard the other.

 

"Already king?" he questioned, a tilt to his voice. Was this an instance to mock him? "Unless you've forgotten," he said, "the war is over, and I am the ruler of Nohr."

 

--

 

[ henry ; border pass ]

 

"Hello," he said to a crow that had begun circling above his head, coming down to level curiously at the sorcerer's raised hand.

 

"Have you brought your friends?" he questioned, sharp eyes watching the bird before him before he laughed to himself, tilting his head as the crow lifted its wings once more, away into the sky.

 

He watched it depart for a second before he returned his attention to the route before him--with no particular goal in mind, the sorcerer hopped a couple steps before returning to his normal pace.

 

His name being called, however, stopped the white-haired mage in his steps, and Henry turned with curiosity.

 

Oh?

 

Well, the last person he expected to see was Libra running towards him, axe in hand. The warmonk was ... well, normal as ever, and unsurprisingly boring.

 

"Heyo, Libra!" he greeted, stopping as the other caught up to him. Above, a bird crowed twice before the approach of a new figure scattered the crows, and Henry momentarily watched as the flock separated to fly into the blue sky, and formed again in a familiar formation once they were sufficiently enough far away.

 

"What are you doing?" he asked the other, curiously.

 

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“Soren, they’re moving.”

 

The cloaked form just across from him leaned into the crack just a little more, taking care to keep his cloak and hair from giving away their position.

 

“Hm...they seem on good terms now...but we won’t take our chances.”

 

“How do you want to do this?”

 

Soren withdrew, his eyes hidden under his hood.

 

“...give me a moment.”

 

He curled a finger at his chin and stood there in silence. No question of what he was doing now—this was a reflection of earlier, but without the privilege of static metal pawns under his control. Not that was any challenge to Soren; knowing him, he was probably taking quite a lot of veiled pleasure at strategizing in realtime. Sure, it wasn’t ideal, but it was his specialty to act on the fly, a trait he’d gotten equal praise and criticism for during his mercenary days. Ike watched him lift his head back to the approaching forms, and with a momentary parting of his lips and the shift of his hand, the plan was laid.

 

“I have it. A minor change in positioning, but otherwise, we’ll proceed as planned.”

 

“I thought you wanted me to lead?”

 

“I did,” Soren replied, “but it would be too disadvantageous to do so now.”

 

“Why?”

 

Soren began fidgeting with his tome holsters, shifting them around so that they faced more toward his backside than directly on the front of his hip. Once he’d situated them where he wanted them, he stood back toward where there was a break in the far right wall. Ike tried to figure out what he was doing, but to no avail. All that was evident was the fluttering of his cloak at his side, billowing out to his left as he stood in the wind’s path. Soren looked down at himself, poking and tugging until turning entirely to Ike’s field of view. His tomes had entirely vanished from view. It dawned on him what Soren was driving at, and as soon as he read as much from his expression, he nodded to affirm his suspicions.

 

“Excellent. This should suffice.”

 

He then took his place back at the viewing space, and Ike leaned just forward enough that he could keep his voice reasonably audible over the buffeting wind.

 

“Okay, I understand that much, but why are you thinking of going first?”

 

“It’s simple, really,” he motioned out to Ike with his hand, “You present more of an obvious threat than I. If we’re endeavoring to stay their agitation, the best course of action is to come off as unassuming as possible. I’m sorry to say it, but you aren’t unassuming in the slightest.”

 

As much as he hated to right now, he had to agree: Soren was positively diminutive next to him. Upon reflection, it was almost weird just how short he really was. Hadn’t they been nearly the same height once? He blinked and shook his head, trying to dismiss that feeling of offness, but even looking at him now, he was certain something was odd about it. It didn’t matter in the long run, especially not now of all times, but he was strangely perturbed by it: You don’t hardly look any different than you did then.

 

 

But...

 

 

 

 

 

 

"—eed my tomes, I can...Ike, are you even listening to me?”

 

He jumped at the sound of his name. Soren stared at him, only for him to realize he was doing the same in turn. Soren’s lips pursed and he closed his eyes—the most obvious show of irritation from him. He sighed and slumped.

 

“Sorry, Soren. I was just thinking of something. Mind repeating that for me one more time?”

 

“It’s quite fine,” Soren said, though he figured it probably wasn’t, “I was explaining that I would play the part of traveling healer with you as my bodyguard.”

 

“Right...and that’s why I’d be behind you.”

 

“Correct.”

 

“But that’s still a dangerous gamble,” he replied, his voice straining with concern. “We don’t know if he’d rather befriend you or feather you on the spot. I know you’ve had to consider that factor.”

 

“That I have. I was just in the middle of elaborating.” He whisked aside his cloak to show his tomes, now in place perfectly behind him.

 

“If they decide to retaliate against a seemingly unarmed opponent, I will be able to reach and counter them with magic.” He let the cloak down and continued, “However, it would be too unwieldy to reach my tomes hidden as they are, so I will employ pure verbal command and bypass using an implement all together.” Ike regarded him with incredulity—without an implement?-- but if he noticed he paid it no mind. Instead, he withdrew a staff and rested the butt on the ground, stepping further out into the crevice. He plead for him to wait, resisting the urge to push him back. Soren did back away, and his brow knitted together in confusion. He had to know, didn’t he?

 

“Soren, you know that’s crazy. You know what happened last time.”

 

“Yes, I do. However, ‘last time’ is of no consequence. You’ve seen me use magic without my tomes before; as long as I don’t overexert myself, I will suffer no adverse effects.

 

“This isn’t a fireplace, Soren.”

 

Soren bowed his head, his following sigh one of exasperation. “I’ll be fine, Ike. I haven’t killed myself yet.”

 

“Let’s not make today the exception. Please.”

 

“I won—“ He cut himself off, We...won’t.”

 

 

Ike spied what looked like a tiny smile cross Soren’s face at that remark. Again, that same incredible feeling rose throughout him like before, that sensation only the recognition of their familiarity could grant him. They had almost always referred to themselves as a single unit, but to have it so shamelessly and pointedly called on...

 

 

 

 

A sudden gale sent a cloud of sand through the dusty bulwarks. Ike pulled his cloak close and turned to take the brunt of it, but Soren motioned for him to mobilize regardless. When it died down, he followed behind the mage, and the ground went solid beneath his feet like before.

 

“This tendency will allow you more mobility if we get into an engagement, provided you stay close,” Soren said over his shoulder. He didn’t acknowledge it verbally, but he was glad for whatever allowed mages to walk over sand like it was nothing. ‘Thank the spirits’ or whatever. Soren was probably light enough not to be too affected otherwise, but if it wasn’t for them, he’d be sunk. Outside the fort, the sandy gusts had calmed significantly and he didn’t need to rely on Soren’s shoulder to guide him, so he allowed him his freedom and walked slightly to his left. Just beyond, the two forms began to come into focus...

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Inigo/LaslowSoleil user posted imageuser posted image

 

Inigo blinked incredulously, hesitating for a heartbeat before a small smile grew upon his face.

"Ah, Gerome, you have to be kidding right?" Inigo chuckled lightly, forcing his lips to stay turned upward in spite of his confusion. He could clearly recall the time he spent with Gerome and the other children during the war—the second war when their parents were well and very much not corpses with mouths open ajar as though they were about to—

 

"I-It's been years since the war ended," Inigo said, attempting to shake away the memories of his mother's corpse. His composure faulted for a moment, a crack in his facade as his lips twitched. He coughed, glanced to the side as he drew his lips back up before meeting Gerome's eyes. "I've... actually been gone for a few years," Inigo said. "I just came back to this continent recently with my..." Inigo glanced over at Soleil who was giving him a hard look. Inigo cleared his throat and, pretending he didn't notice Soleil's stare, added, "I'm not sure where you're getting this portal nonsense from, but I haven't been near a portal in years."

 

—————

Takumi user posted image

 

There was a shift of emotions in Leo's mien as though he was having trouble deciding how he felt about the situation. Not for the first time since he arrived in the desert, Takumi felt a strange disconnection from Leo. Takumi found himself sorely missing the familiarity of Leo's playful jeering and that soft smile of his slowly crept out of him the longer he and Takumi bickered, but, perhaps, Takumi was expecting too much from his friend. They were both in a stressful situation. It would make sense for Leo to lack the initiative to put Takumi's own nerves before his own. Still—Takumi frowned with an annoyed hmph!—that didn't make him feel any better.

 

"Well, you are correct about one part," Takumi said, turning towards the direction of the fort. "The war is over. Has been for years, but you king?" Takumi shook his head, ignoring the slight tinge of worry (Xander had to be fine, right?) lingering in his stomach. "Camilla sent me a message less than a week ago. Unless she was somehow wrong about the state of Nohr, your brother should be the one in charge." Pausing, Takumi narrowed his eyes and lifted his head to shield them from the sun. On the horizon, towards where the fort was, he could see what appeared to be two silhouettes. He couldn't tell if they were moving towards or away from him and Leo, but they were certainly moving. "Do you see those people over there?" Takumi asked as he pointed in the direction towards the fort. "Are those even people? I can't concentrate when I'm being baked alive."

 

—————

Chrom user posted image

 

Chrom nodded as Ryuusha spoke although he had no idea what the king was talking about. He knew the kingdoms the stranger spoke of Nohr and Hoshido. He had learned about those kingdoms during the history lessons during home school. Granted, he had been a poor student when it came to academics so perhaps he really should have understood more of what Ryuusha was saying.

 

"I'm..." Chrom closed his mouth, a hand gripped the hilt of the Falchion as he tried to rearrange his words in his head. "I'm afraid I don't understand everything that you're saying." Chrom gave an apologetic smile. "I don't know who Ryuki, Odin, Selena, and uh, Owain and Severa are. I know the name Grima, but that beast has been sealed away for hundreds of years—I've done nothing to fight it." Chrom was tempted to ask how Ryuusha knew he had been a great king when he had taken the throne no less than a few months ago. The only extraordinary thing about his rule was how long—he nearly blushed as the thought came to him—he spent mourning the fallen and bumbling around politics, only being able to manage it all through Frederick's, Lissa's, and Robin's hands.

 

Chrom started at the question regarding fatherhood. He barely managed to muffle the nervous chuckle bubbling in his throat. He hadn't thought too much about an heir what with the rebuilding of his country and his inability to fully grasp the reality of his new position. He still woke up in the middle of the night drenched in a cold sweat, gasping for air—the memory of his sister's broken body was still fresh in is mind. How could he possibly be a great king when he needed Robin, another adult, to hold and coddle him before he could sleep?

 

"I'm afraid I don't know the feeling," Chrom said with a shake of his head. His own father had been more preoccupied with war rather than spending time with his family, but that didn't mean Chrom understood why his father thought that way. "I don't have any children of my own," Chrom said. "But, if you think there is someway I can help you with your own worries, just say the word." As confused and distraught as he was, Chrom was not the type to leave someone who needed help alone. He didn't know what was going on, but he wasn't just going to abandon the stranger in his time of need.

Edited by Doctortear

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Posted (edited)

...stop...stop...

Lies, lies, all of it. All lies...predicated on pleasantries and satisfaction...nothing was true...nothing—

 

“Oh gods, darling are you alright?”

 

 

 

“...what?” Jordan’s reply was little more than an exhale. His thoughts were hazy and closed, barely peeking through the miasma clouding his ability to process his surroundings, and it came a surprise when Forrest approached him, making him flinch back in response. Oh, no... he thought, I’m doing it again. This horrible feeling, this one that he could never explain. He squinted his eyes together and steeled himself for the worst. Do you need help? Dear, I believe he should see a therapist...Is he stricken with an ailment?...what an unkindly thing you are...what a rude thing you are...straighten yourself up, young man--!

 

 

D-don’t look at me.

 

 

But he couldn’t stop the eyes. He couldn’t stop Forrest. Take mercy on me.

 

 

“Is that what you were worried about?”

 

Jordan eased his eyes open. He looked at the blonde-haired man. His face was creased with kindness. Not contempt. His heart skipped a beat and he held his breath. Waiting.

 

And the stranger never lapsed.

 

“‘Okay’ is such an improper word to describe just how lovely those clothes are,” Forrest supplied. Jordan begged to differ—he didn’t know anything, these clothes, who--“It’s not everyday I see such an outfit with an intricate design paired with a simple color scheme that compliments it. Not to mention,” he added, “not everyone can pull off that particular shade of purple as wonderfully as you.” Jordan looked at himself as Forrest waved a hand at his chest. He’d seen the stitch there, he was certain. But?—“ “There’s some obvious stitching and patchwork done, but that just gives it more character. Seeing someone so lovingly preserve such a fine article of clothing is quite telling of your…. Ah, I’m rambling, aren’t I?”

 

He made a delicate gesture, one hand cupped at his cheek while a warm tinkling of laughter graced his lips. It was here that Jordan found himself between two strange spaces, one familiar and one not-so: Forrest had seen through him, yes...but also into him. Into the color and shape of him and the strands that held him together, strands that weft and clothed a woman much greater than he. This man, in his rose-pink wardrobe that was so lovely and well cared for—so obviously of high birth, there was no other explanation—had looked upon this ancient weave and saw what only Jordan could see. Not exactly his mother, not her legacy or her sacrifice...but Forrest had seen something more. His hands were unskilled and had only done what was necessary to keep this artifact intact, but Forrest had seen it. Jordan loved this coat and all its dressings. And though he was comparatively inept at giving it the care it needed...Forrest had seen that.

 

Along with this and the impossibly graceful way he’d addressed it...Jordan felt himself become both exposed and secured. He tucked in a corner of his mouth and diverted his eyes, unaccustomed to such a strong, foreign sensation throughout him.

 

“...uh...”

 

Forrest proved infinitely more eloquent again, and in seconds had recovered from his own awkwardness to guide the conversation. “My apologizes for wasting your time; you must want to figure out where you are as quick as possible. What sort of places are near Ylisse?”

 

“Ylisse,” Jordan said the name as if he’d forgotten it was where he was from.

 

“Oh, you know...” But he probably didn’t, “...it’s forests and stuff...and there a big towering castle-place in the middle of the city—that’s where the Exalt lives—and there’s the best rivers for skipping stones on further out into the country...” To be honest, Jordan didn’t know many landmarks around the city. They lived outside the borders and only ventured in out of necessity, so it’d never been his priority to learn, unless it was barely-applicable descriptors for where to find blackberries and stuff. “Oh! And there’s blackberry bushed for days out there! Sometimes even pears and apples, but that’s usually on someone’s property. Notthatthat’severstoppedmebeforebut...” And then, upon a sharp reminder of who he was talking to, he quickly shut his mouth at that last run-on. They were making such headway, and he didn’t want to be arrested. He thought he liked him so far.

 

“O-oh, and, you’re not wasting my time talking about those things!” Jordan was quick to correct, flailing his hands out in front of him in a sudden burst of energy. “You’re...the...mhngh, I mean...thank you. I um...” He started to twist his fingers into his coat, “People...don’t talk about things like that. Not just...that they don’t talk about clothes...they don’t talk like that. Like you do.”

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Ryuusha stared out the fractured window of Elise's room, then looked at the corpse upon the bed, and nodded with reaffirmation. He gripped the hilt of his sword with determination, with belief. Home. He needed to get home.

 

She was waiting for him, to lay her hands on his shoulders and playfully lean her head against his as the smooth melody of the night played behind them. Her ears would flick back and forth as her tail simply moved with the harmony of the insects and the birds. That was who she was.

 

He needed to get back to them. Out of this place.

 

She was waiting for him. To look up to him as King. To become the Queen she would need to be, some day, far in the future. Even without Forrest, her own children with him having destinies of their own. A legacy. A lineage...

 

He was needed there, back in the land below.

 

They were waiting for him. Their king. Their lord. Their master. They looked to him for salvation, for guidance, for protection. He could not be weak.

He MUST be strong.

 

He turned to Chrom and placed a hand on the man's shoulder, nodding to him.

"We are going to leave this place, and no darkened fate will stop me from doing so. I have too much at stake. My mind was moments ago broken and nearing desolation. Now, it has a new hope, and you have given it to me. But I'm afraid I must lean on you a bit longer, Exalt of Ylisse." Ryuusha admitted, forlorn. "Together, we shall leave here. All you must do is give me your sword, and I will vow mine to you. We must work as one."

He stepped down the stairs leading out of Elise's room just as the stone they had both been standing on began to fracture and crack. Soon, the Nightmare would end. And another would begin.

But he would defeat it. And he would face his father.

And he would win.

 

----

 

"IN- LASLOW!"

There was a loud, boisterous yell as Owain shouted across the road before them. He waved his hand furiously, unable to believe his eyes. "And... GEROME!? Soleil!? Are you both OK?! SURELY the gods themselves have given us this moment!"

He dashed across the road, leaving Severa to cough in his dust as Lissa tried to call him back. But the man could not be stopped. He halted just short of Laslow, and it could be sworn that FIRE was visible where he had ran. But surely... that was impossible.

"ODIN DARK, REPORTING FOR DUTY TO ASSIST!" he shouted, saluting. He then dropped his hand and grabbed Gerome's, shaking it with excitement.

"GODS you don't know how pleased I am to see you again! And Laslow! You made it from the inn? Good! GOOD! Then we have more people in our ranks. This is definitely FATE!"

Severa finally caught up to them and sighed, giving Owain a very irritated look.

"This is no time for fun and friendship, Owain. We need to find my daughter. OUR daughter." Severa added, grimacing. "Laslow, have you seen Ophelia anywhere?"

She gave Gerome a glance to show she noticed him, but didn't speak to him beyond that. Lissa, however, gasped as she approached.

"Huh? It IS Gerome! Woaaaah! What's he doing here? He left on a soul-searching journey a while back! Did you finally decide you wanted to come home, Gerry?"

She waved kindly to the boy, her face full of glee.

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Henry, a mage from the lands of Plegia...as unperturbed and perfectly cheerful as usual. He knew this man well enough, his odd in-and-outs to some degree, and from what he'd learned he'd come to quite a unique opinion of him--he was a person with a certain volition toward murder and bloodbathing, invested in the dark arts and nearly unrecognizable when paired beside what one could call "a normal human being"...but he did have a certain keenness to him. Libra had witnessed it himself. Though his views were entirely different from his on the surface, at the core, were they really? His mind strayed back to their conversation during one of their outings in the Outrealms...the nature of his duality...

 

 

 

Libra would never change his view there. The axe he wielded was but a weapon, a tool. But in the end, it was his job to make best use of it in the most upstanding manner possible. He knew the responsibility of a life and the taking of one, and he'd striven to make each way just as much as te last. That was what critically separated the two of them--compassion. There must have been something the white-haired shaman must have held dear at some point, but a human life? He sorely doubted that. Even if it made his muscles ache with the burden it placed on him, Libra himself would tally that value and keep it sacred.

 

He didn't bear him any ill will for it, though--Henry was simply a different person, and harmless for the most part. A carrion crow on the battlefield, but merely queer in any other case. He spoke to him with no further bias than he would any other person; after all, for all intents and purposes, he was a person. He was greeted by a flurry of cawing not far from Henry's position, but chose not to regard them much further.

 

"Henry, what are you doing out here?" His breathlessness was more from the shock of it all than any physical strain. He looked around the pass, down the hill and up it further. There didn't seem to be a single soul to spare besides themselves.

 

 

Libra suddenly felt incredibly ill.

 

 

"Have you seen Jordan about? And...do you have any idea why I might be here?"

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Forrest user posted image

With the awkwardness of his previous comment waved away, Forrest offered a gentle smile as the stranger began to muse upon his memories of Ylisse. Forrest furrowed his eyebrows as the stranger described the strange place. It was obvious the stranger had a poor grasp on the geographical landmarks of Ylisse, but Forrest hardly blamed him for his lack of knowledge on the topic. It was obvious the stranger hadn’t been born into a high station if his commoner vernacular and clothing was any indication of his social status. The best descriptions the stranger could give Forrest—or rather a list of all the sorts of fruits that could be harvested—were on a level far too personal for Forrest to decipher. Still, it was endearing to watch the stranger brighten up as joyful memories rose from the recess of his mind. It was endearing enough to widen Forrest’s smile even as the stranger snapped his mouth shut in embarrassment from his confession.

 

“Wherever you live, it must be lovely,” Forrest said. For all the history lessons he had taken and all the time he and spent glaring at maps as his father pointed at all the important locations upon them, Forrest could not recall a place called Ylisse. If one thing was for sure, wherever Ylisse was Forrest was sure that the stranger genuinely enjoyed living it in, or at least relished some part in living in it, with how expressively he described his foraging habits.

 

“O-oh, and, you’re not wasting my time talking about those things!”

Though somewhat startled by the stranger’s sudden outburst, Forrest kept his composure. He tilted his head as the stranger began to continue as he nervously twiddled his fingers into his coat. “You’re...the...mhngh, I mean...thank you. I um… people...don’t talk about things like that. Not just...that they don’t talk about clothes...they don’t talk like that. Like you do.”

 

Forrest breathed out a soft Ha! with a small shake of his head.

“I suppose you can blame my father for my… mannerisms,” Forrest said. “I was trained to talk like this from birth. Funny how years of speech classes can make you sound so different, isn’t it?” Forrest wasn’t so much talking to the stranger than speaking out in the open. It felt odd comparing himself to his father. For a long time, Prince Leo would scoff at anyone who link him to his wayward son who dressed so prettily and preferred sewing needles to inheriting a deadly ancient relic. A strange sensation coiled in Forrest’s stomach. It was an amalgamation of emotions: pride in being able to associate with someone he looked up to, worry that he was making the stranger uncomfortable, and disgust that he might have the airs of being superior much like how Father always had his chin held hair and judgement in his eyes. They were not feelings that Forrest was able to sort out with dry eyes which most certainly meant he could not process them while helping a stranger find his home.

 

“I’m afraid I’ve never heard of a place called Ylisse,” Forrest said as he shook his head sadly. It was easy to push his feelings to the side. He was used to it after spending years upon years sitting alone in the Deeprealms waiting for a family that only showed up when it was convenient for them. “Although,” Forrest continued speaking further so he could better ignore his thoughts. “My grandfather has a villa in this city. It has been, ahem, understaffed since the war, but I’m sure I can get us in there. It has a considerably large library that we can browse through until we find some book regarding Ylisse. Perhaps we can figure the geographical distance between there and here, yes?” Forrest was about to ask the stranger for his input but, he realized that he had never inquired the stranger for his name. “Ah, how rude of me! I never asked you for your name! I’d much prefer to call a fine gentleman such as yourself something than other ‘stranger’ constantly.”

—————

Chromuser posted image

 

Right, they were going to do something now. A “something” that Chrom knew nothing about in a place that he wasn’t entirely sure was some hallucination, but he sure was about to the something.

 

“R-Right!” Chrom stammered as Ryuusha gripped his shoulder. He didn’t know what was outside of the fractured room (granted, he didn’t know how he got in the room in the first place) or where they were going next or what they were going to do when they got there. Alas, it was his instinct help others whether he knew them or if they were in some weird place where rocks floated. Besides, he needed to know how he arrived. There were people waiting for him back home. He needed to be the Exalt Emmeryn thought him to be. He needed to be there for Lissa, Frederick, and the rest of the army who looked up to them. He needed to be there for Robin who stood by his side with unwavering support.

 

Reassured that he needed to assist the strange king, Chrom followed him down the stairs as the floor began to crumble behind them.

“Was the uh, floor always that unstable?” Chrom asked as he looked behind him and watched cracks erupt on the floor’s surface. Where exactly would he had fallen had he not followed Ryuusha? Chrom didn’t dare to entertain the thought. “You have my sword… King Ryuusha, but, if I might ask, where are we going?” Chrom did not doubt that Ryuusha knew what he wanted to accomplish, but that didn’t mean Chrom knew what he was doing. He was still rather confused as to where he was in the first place.

Edited by Doctortear

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[ gerome ; northroad ]

Gerome took a long, hard look at Inigo, though his composure could hardly be guessed from the veil provided by his mask; even so, what could he mean? Gerome felt a sudden spike of frustration; with every talk, it seemed, the mercenary seemed to grow further and further away from what the wyvern rider could make of his thoughts. Perhaps he might've thought once that they would have made excellent partners-in-arms, but with the added mystery of Inigo, who apparently was hiding something, and the mysterious woman by his side ... Gerome couldn't be too sure, and he has spent a lifetime avoiding the unknown.

 

Years? Surely, this could not be a jest--Lucina and the rest of their makeshift squad had agreed quite readily, and with a heavy mind, on this subject of approaching the past in an attempt to avoid the future, and Gerome wanted to think Inigo was enough of an honourable man to honour the sacrifices made by their dead parents. Years? That couldn't be, not when they had stepped into the portal merely ... days ago?

 

"Surely you haven't--" However, before he could say much more, Gerome was suddenly overtaken by a cry. His mind was overtaken by a flurry of words, and he registered the name Odin--

 

Odin?

 

The man who stood before him was surely .. Owain, accompained by ... his mother? Lissa, the sister of Chrom?

 

He gaped audibly when his hand was suddenly grabbed and shaken rather violently by the excited man, his vigour as brilliant and as bright as ever.

 

Gods, if Inigo was soft and good then Owain was the sun, bright and cheering and ever honourable, and Gerome felt too eclipsed by the royal blood that drummed through both their veins. He stared at his hand blankly once released by the blond, unable to process these thoughts.

 

"Um," he said, quite eloquently.

 

Then--

 

"Soul ... searching journey?" He repeated, having just processed the words. He took a look around, at Inigo and Owain and these strange names and strange people who he felt he knew, but yet could not place--

 

"I think ..." he said very slowly. "I think you've mistaken me for someone else. I apologise, but I have no idea who ... Laslow and Odin are." He placed a hand on Minerva, steadying her as he felt her wings spread behind him.

 

--

((im dropping the n from leo's name theres only one leon to me and its that beautiful purple man from echoes))

[ leo ; border sands ]

 

"Camilla?" Leo repeated incredulously--the name brought a sudden spark to his chest, an increase in his heatbeat no matter how much he tried to ignore the feelings stirred up by the mention of his sister. It had been a while he'd heard from her--part of him understands, the idea that it is not easy to approach someone to make amends, especially raised in a world where amends ended with mistakes and punishment began with almost nothing.

 

Even so, Leo has spent far too long regretting mistakes made in the distant past. He would not fault her--not at all--for returning, nor would he wish her to stay away from long. Perhaps time did heal all wounds, and she would need the world to return to her what she had lost in her childhood, but that did not mean Leo couldn't be selfish and wish for his own comfort returned.

 

"Since when were you on first name terms with the princess of Nohr?" he questioned in disbelief, too shocked to be suspicious of the situation. However, his attention was distracted by Takumi pointing out the two approaching figures, and the prince of Nohr decided abruptly that questions were a matter of later, and defending his life was a matter of now.

 

He pulled on Victor's reins, and the horse gave a half-hearted neigh in response. Takumi's mention of the blistering heat made him all too aware of his discomfort, and Leo could hardly imagine what his poor steed must be feeling at the moment.

 

"I am of accordance," he agreed, and then dropped all royalties in the face of the weather. "It's very ... hot. Perhaps they are people of this land?"

 

A pause, and then Leo hesitantly spoke.

 

"How do you suggest we approach them, Prince Takumi?"

 

--

 

 

[ henry ; border pass ]

 

Oh?

 

Henry skidded to a stop as Libra spoke to him, and the dark mage tilted his head and contemplated his words for a few precious moments before replying.

 

"Nice weather, hm?" He raised his face to the sky, watching the still clouds in the grey-blue sky above, gleefully imagining the look on Libra's face at his strange approach. The monk was only all too fun to poke fun at, with his steadfast beliefs.

 

However, Henry wasn't dumb, and he certainly didn't want Libra to suddenly cleave him with his axe. Not that the other would be inclined to suddenly spear his ... ally, as strange as that sounded (and entirely owed to Robin's efforts), but Henry didn't want to take chances. And plus, it was only so interesting to go a couple moments without answering before the silent became painfully obvious and lost all its entertaining qualities.

 

"To tell you the truth, I don't actually know!" Henry admitted. "I woke up and I was just here. Don't mind it, though." The mage shrugged. "It's happened before."

 

Henry paused for a second, wondering about Libra's next question. He honestly had no idea, and part of him was inclined to not answer as a result; but even so, was it worth whatever conversation would certainly follow?

 

"Nope," the mage settled on, a simple word that explained enough -- or at least, he assumed. "Who's Jordan?"

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Forrest's gentle smile leading into his response was uplifting, for a lack of a better term. From the way he spoke--literally and figuratively--it was becoming more and more obvious that Forrest was from a significantly higher station than Jordan was, but...somehow, despite his suspicions regarding his true feelings toward him, it didn't seem like Forrest merely deigned to entertain him. Sure, it was completely possible that easy smile, so ridiculously elegant and perfect it was almost unfair, was all just some hidden conspiracy to lull him into a false sense of security so he could just rip his idiotic little mind into pieces like the dream-addled scum he was. And the chance of that was so astronomically high that Jordan stood there stone-stuck, a lost monument lay prey to by the scorn of the tides that were Forrest's words made meaningless in doubt of him...but for some reason...

 

....so shallow...don't say it, don't feel it...

 

 

 

For some reason...Jordan wanted to believe in him.

 

 

 

This is a mistake. This isn't supposed to happen. You're just some person saying words... and yet, here he was. Taking back in everything Forrest had said like it was prophecy, Naga's own truth--like he wasn't some facade created to get the better of him, to lie.

 

 

 

But that would he be...even lying about?

 

 

 

Jordan snapped back to reality with a tiny gasp to witness Forrest's soft features harden slightly, making creases in the corners of his pretty eyes and drawing the ends of his lips close to his teeth. Something inside Jordan recoiled, fear that the illusion of someone so okay was about to be broken before him, but he shoved the feeling as far down and back to the pitch-smitten depths of his mind to really look at what he was seeing. Though it was only for a second after he'd finished his sentence, time seemed to stretch out to give Jordan the benefit of examination, and in this expression, unfettered by a stupid mind too taken with its own miserable misery, he saw something...familiar? Or was it so alien he could only pretend to know it as to not break his psyche? He shook that notion away inwardly and really gave it some proper thought for the incredibly short amount of time he'd been allotted. There was no way to know for certain what was roiling behind that mien, but even he, completely unable to understand his own kind, saw:

 

When you said something about your dad and your words...does it bother you?

 

 

 

 

But Jordan couldn't voice his concern. Part of it was from common decency: people didn't like talking about things they obviously hid, and prying just wasn't the way to start off this...acquaintanceship? Could it be called "friendship?" No way. He's just my guide. We won't even see each other after he dumps me at the nearest inn, I bet. And the other reason was because he was physically incapable of it. Seeing another hide their intense emotions was too straining for him, and the desire to help was dangerously present. But you don't even have yourself straight. Don't go breaking fractured windows and call yourself a repairman. And it wasn't his business, anyway. This was a stranger. Not family, not friend--as stated. He couldn't go around assuming he was anything like him, especially without any experience besides the dialogue they'd shared.

Not everyone's a wreck like you, anyway. He can handle it. He's a functioning human being.

 

 

Right.

 

 

“I’m afraid I’ve never heard of a place called Ylisse,” Forrest said, seemingly recovering from what had suffered from, but an odd sense of hollowness seemed to linger until just before he continued. Jordan tried to ignore it, but something kept him searching for the remnants of it, chasing the unmistakable expressions of loneliness until Forrest successfully shook it away, leaving him at a dead end that left him dissatisfied. He made it a point to remember this moment for further dwelling--why?--but remained respectfully attentive in spite of himself. "Although, my grandfather has a villa in this city. It has been, ahem, understaffed since the war--" War?? What war? Was that what had happened to this place to make it so dreadfully gloomy? Forrest didn't say. "--but I'm sure I can get us in there. It has a considerably large library that we can browse through until we find some book regarding Ylisse. Perhaps we can figure out the geographical distance between there and here, yes?"

 

It took some force to stop himself from trying to find connections between what Forrest had just told him in order to process what he'd asked. Taking a breath, he cleared away the invasive thoughts and focused on the present. Libraries, libraries...in a villa? Owned by his grandfather? That was a sure indication that Forrest was rich, coupled with everything else he'd said--as it was, maybe his incessant need to discover had gained him something important. But that was quickly receded back into his mind by the prospect of visiting this "considerably large library." Jordan gained a simple giddy joy from the mounds of books perfectly occupying a squarish shelf. Tugging them out, putting them back, spreading the pages and smelling the work of age-old binding...the textures of their covers and the character of their bends and edges...the thought was simply enrapturing. It was hard telling what wash of foreign tomes could be at his disposal in Forrest's library--it had to be his library, even if by extension, right?

 

But then he drew up at the thought of using an atlas.

 

The sudden onset anxiety was enough to make him ill. Jordan knew next to nothing about maps. "Geographical distance"? Pfft! Could Jordan even find Ylisse on a map? There were a few times he'd bothered to glance at the ones his mother owned, but not really enough to garner a--

 

“Ah, how rude of me!" Forrest's voice severed his uncertainty clean in half, "I never asked you for your name! I’d much prefer to call a fine gentleman such as yourself something than other ‘stranger’ constantly.”

 

 

Jordan squeaked and wriggled a bit, flailing his his arms up and waving them in front of his face. How could he be so stupid?!?

 

"Gyah! No no no--that's my fault! I shoulda just told you up front when you told me yours! Geh, why am I so bad at this???" If anyone was the gentleman here, it was Forrest, not him! He'd traded names before. He didn't have an excuse for this blunder. He hastily holstered his panic before it became a nuisance to this young gentleman.

 

"My name's Jordan...sir...? Sorry I didn't say it earlier. Just the whole...'interacting' thing...I'm...not so good...with...eheh..." His face went blank as the two began to walk, Jordan lacing his fingers in front of his chest and denying further eye contact. Aaaagh, I should be showing him respect, but all's I'm doing is making a fool out of myself. Way to go, Jordan--you've successfully promoted to Maladjusted Pariah. And right in front of your equivalent of a king.

 

Jordan kept his head lowish, listening for the crack of stiff shoots underfoot. He did manage to get his voice to work long enough to clarify one thing for himself:

 

"Uh......so. This villa...you said your grandfather owns it? So, yanno, if that's the case, and you do the voice things...are you royalty or something?"

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Red gazed into red.

 

 

Two sons of the same mother, more different than alike.

 

 

"Fare thee well, brother. May fate smile upon you."

 

 

"Thank you."

 

The shorter one bowed before the other, a cool smile upon his face. It wouldn't do to offend the King of Nohr, after all, at least not in front of others. When he looked up again, it was to see numerous attendants bringing him the supplies he would need for his trip. No weapons - his sword, tome, and dragonstone were all he required. A polite thanks was muttered as he took a satchelful of medicine, slinging it over his right shoulder. He didn't bother looking up as he turned around, ignoring the gazes of the nobles raking across his back. They would be whispering as they always were.

 

 

He despised them.

 

 

"Lios!"

 

The voice of his brother drew his attention again, causing him to quickly erase the anger from his eyes and turn around.

 

"Yes?"

 

For a second, the King faltered, looking almost hesitant before his expression hardened into resolution again.

 

"...I believe that is your pin on the floor."

 

He quirked an eyebrow, but didn't press it, walking back to retrieve the aforementioned pin before continuing on his way. Sure, his necktie would have been unfastened, but did it really warrant calling him back for the explicit purpose of retrieving his belongings? Didn't he have servants for that sort of thing? Or was he a servant of the King now? He barely managed to keep his facade even as he walked out the door, breaking into a scowl as soon as he was sure no one would see him. He wouldn't have to stay here and bend to the King's will for much longer. One last day and he would be free, gone out of their hateful glares forever.

 

There had never been much left in Nohr for him anyway. No, not even a true brother. Siegbert was too busy being the king to care about him. It would only tarnish his reputation - the words that followed in his shadow wouldn't even spare the King of Nohr. As he mounted the steed left for him in front of the stable, a few drops hit his sleeve. Was it raining? He looked up, but the sky was clear and it was merely his own vision that was blurry.

 

Crying... is weak...

 

He angrily wiped his eyes with his sleeve, giving the unlucky servant who had stumbled upon him a fierce glare. Ostensibly, the servant disappeared, no doubt fearing the wrath of the King's brother. Heh... maybe that reputation was good for something. But he shouldn't be wasting his time here. The faster he got out of Nohr, the better. With barely more than a backward glance, he pulled the reins and steered the horse to the road, perhaps putting in a bit more force than necessary.

 

The horse gave a single sharp whinny, then bucked him off at the same instant that a bright light flashed, blinding him and causing him to hit the ground off-balance. He groaned as pebbles dug into his face and hands, ignoring the various scratches he recieved as he pushed himself up. Where was he? He hadn't hit his head during the fall, had he? With a few more blinks, he was able to recover enough to distinguish his destination as the outskirts of Macarath.

 

 

Nohr.

 

 

He wanted to scream in frustration, but the busy road in the distance deterred him. Instead, the faint beginnings of a lullaby sounded in his head... the one his mother had sung to him as a child. Though he had long since decided he resented everything about his mother, he couldn't bring himself to hate the song she had left behind. It had never failed to calm him, and so he closed his eyes and took a breath. A moment later, he opened his mouth and began to sing with a surprisingly smooth tone, eyes still closed against the world.

 

"You are the ocean's gray waves, destined to seek

 

Life beyond the shore just out of reach

 

Yet the waters ever change, flowing like time

 

The path is yours to climb."

 

By the time he finished the first stanza, he was already feeling calmer. He still dreaded having to make his way into Macarath, but the song helped him rationalize his thoughts. His first priority was still getting out of Nohr, but perhaps understanding his strange displacement would help. Ah! Was that Forrest he saw in the distance? Though he had never really conversed in length with Leo's son, the few encounters they had were rather pleasant. If the origins of his displacement were magical in nature, Forrest would certainly know how to help.

 

He checked the state of his weapons, and upon finding them satisfactory, he made his way over to Forrest. A stranger dressed in unusual attire was currently engaged in conversation with him, and so he waited until a pause surfaced in the dialogue to make himself known.

 

"Excuse me, gentlemen. I would like to have a word with Forrest if possible."

 

He gave a small bow as he stepped forward, enough to show respect. If he was lucky, the strange flash of light would be nothing more than some experimental new Warp spell gone wrong and he would be able to quickly get on his way. Every second he spent in Nohr was a second too long.

Edited by Silverphoenixx

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