Fading Starlight
fanfiction by Vivi-chan (aka HowlingGuild or Tenkan).

Disclaimer: The characters are all owned by Konami. They're not mine.

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I'm so cold... I can feel the seconds left to me slowly ebbing, slipping out
of my grasp like the grains of sand through an hourglass. Inexorable. There is
no way to prevent it. The power absorbed from the other True Runes - the power
accumulated within these ruins before the other bearers had managed to
retrieve their True Runes. It was too much for me to handle...

I can no longer feel Sarah's lap upon which my head lays... I cannot feel the
cheek that she presses my hand against.

"Sarah....?"

I force my eyes open, they are so heavy now.... The world is growing
dimmer. The rumblings of the collapsing ruins barely penetrate the leaden
feeling in my limbs.

But I see her in this one eternal moment. Her sadness. Her joy. Her
loneliness. Her resolution.

"Sarah...... Thank you...... My soul will be saved.... The soul that I never
thought I had.... I can feel it now...."

Sarah... the daughter I never had... the lover whose caress I would never
feel... She loved me... she had chosen me... over all else even life itself...
She was willing to face eternal damnation to stay by my side and even in these
last moments.... trying to convey without words the depths of her love...

Love. My soul. Meaning.

To find that things I'd been searching my entire life for... to realize that I
had them all along.

I never realized that you loved me... I was too lost in my own pain... too
convinced that I was not.. could not be human. I was too convinced of my own
meaningless existance... of the meaninglessness of all those lives spent to
bring me to this point.

You helped me find it, Sarah... Thank you...

There is no pain in that final moment of passing, just a warm white light
beckoning to me. It is peaceful. Nothing like the violent death I had hoped
for myself....

Liberated from the bonds of flesh, I do the one thing I can... the one thing I
hope will prevent this rune from ever returning to Hikusaak... I will seal the
True Wind Rune here, in these ruins.

Without the rune, I am nothing but a spirit, a memory of what was... The True
Wind Rune fights against my command and just when I think there is no way to
prevent its escape, I sense a soothing presence adding her strength to mine.

Her. The presence is undeniably female. Sarah.

"Master Luc..." she whispers to me. With her help... the Rune sinks into the
floor of the ruins. Sealed like the True Fire Rune was. What is left of my
will... it will guard this place like the Fire Hero did with his True Rune.
This is the one thing I can do for those left behind... never again will the
Rune of Five Ways be gathered.

I can feel the inexorable call of Leknaat's summons.

"Sarah...."

"Go to her side Master Luc.... I will complete the ritual..."

In life, Leknaat did not have the power to stop me. But now... I am nothing
more than a spirit... a mortal spirit, I must obey her summons... I speed over
the Grasslands... the mountains... the City-States... back to Magician's Isle.

It is night when I finally find my way to her... She stands there serene as
always... Unmoved. Unfeeling. No... she feels, but she cannot allow it to get
in the way of what she must do.... She could never let emotion mar her
judgment... for to do so, would invite another tragedy, another failure like
myself....

It was her one moment of weakness... her pity for me that drove her to take me
from the Temple of the Circle. It was her greatest mistake. For this mistake,
she would spend the rest of eternity restoring the balance.

I hated her for manipulating me like some... puppet... but all along, she was
trying to show me the truth. What future could there be, I thought? With the
future I saw within the memories of the True Rune for which I had been born
to bear? It was the same future that she saw with her fragment of the Gate
Rune...

I know the answer at last. It was in the eyes of Riou... in the eyes of
McDohl... It was in the eyes of the heir to the Fire Hero. Blazing with
intensity and conviction. The eyes of someone who still believed that the
future was boundless as the skies....

Harshly Leknaat calls me a fool. Cursed from the blood that stains my hands.
Her words are harsh... but they speak of truth that cannot be denied... I
accept what I have done... it is done and cannot be undone.

Leknaat has a final parting for me.... "However, I forgive you, and bless
you... You were... you were all too human. May your soul be blessed... My
apprentice.... my child.... the child of the cursed rune.... and a child of
man.... Sleep... Destiny is cruel, but it is not so unmerciful as to not allow
you that."

Eternal rest... These thirty years... these cursed years... to be free of the
weight of all that responsibilty... loneliness... pain. My relief is
compounded by the familiar presence of Sarah. She has come at last....

"The 108 stars will bless you... that is the power of man... the power that
changes destiny... Even at one's most powerless, life is never without
meaning."

That is a dismissal... a final parting and benediction.

"Thank you, mother..." I whisper to her, knowing that she can hear me. Never
once did I call her that. Yet she was the closest thing I had to a family. I
acknowledge it now. I never truly hated her... I simply resented her
meddlesome ways, like any child would....

Sarah and I left the way we came... through the window. We circled the
Magician's Tower... one final view of that place which had been our home...
"Where do we go now?" I asked.

"Master Luc, do you remember the tale of the boy that never grew old?" she
asked, almost shyly.

I do. I read it to her often when she was younger. So many years ago it seemed
but the words came to my mind unbidden. "First star to the right... and on
till morning..."

"Yes."

I would have smiled, "Let's go..."

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