Suikoden: War of the Runes
Distant thunder echoed across the raging sky, reminding those who labored within the soon to be rebuilt Karaya Village that life was a constant cycle, and that no matter the changes that were wrought upon them all, the world would continue to flourish. The storm it seemed, had passed, the wind blowing it beyond the borders of this land to engage yet another country. But there was too much rebuilding to celebrate the conclusion of the war. Rebuilding of both homes and relationships, and the preoccupation of what was to come rather than worry about what had been.
Those thoughts were of little consequence however to the young man that sat upon the hill overlooking the progressing work that would reestablish their village. He had all but insisted to help rebuild yet his mother had forbidden it, advising that he had done more than enough to preserve their home. In truth he had welcomed the opportunity to rest, which was perhaps why he was not more adamant about assisting in the rebuilding.
There were changes that would need to be made, defenses that would protect their home from anything like this from happening again. But more importantly, the war showed Hugo the importance of unity. The Grasslands had all but fallen because the clans had not acted in a unified effort. That, among all other things would need to change.
Taking this time to reflect on all the changes that had seen, all the faults of the people, both Zexen and his own, Hugo realized the long-standing prejudice could go on no longer. Chris had told him as much, that she would do all in her power to maintain their peaceful relations after the war. Whether she was truthful, he could not say, yet despite his best efforts to find fault with her, he found himself unable to doubt the noble captain. Perhaps, he was growing up after all.
Tensyo StarHugo – becomes chief of his village and serves to protect the Grasslands as the Flame Champion for generations. Additionally he institutes the Council of Chiefs that governs the Grasslands in all things from domestic to foreign affairs. His tale is a favorite among the Grasslanders.
Teni StarLucia – Retires as Chief and moves to Dunan where she becomes an ambassador for the good of all Grasslands citizens.
Chijiku StarBeecham – Travels with Lucia as her attaché for a while, but returns to the Grasslands on her insistence and serves as the Karayan representative on the Council of Chiefs.
Chiin StarLuce – With Lucia gone and Lulu and Jimba dead, Luce cannot find the will to return to her home. She stays in Budehuc Castle and works as caretaker while opening up an orphanage.
Tenfu StarJimba – Died in the Cindar Ruins, his name is forgotten over time.
Chisou StarAnne – Remains at Budehuc Castle where she keeps the tavern happy and the ale always cold.
Tenku StarFubar – Works to protect Karaya Village until the end of his days. Leaves for a while, but returns with his mate and hatchlings. His descendants still protect the Grasslands to this day.
Tenko StarSergeant Joe – Retires from military service and remarries his wife. Refuses to accept the position of representative to the Council of Chiefs, but still visits Karaya village often.
Chitan StarWilder – Returns to Duck Village. Hailed as a hero despite his limited contribution to the war, he does little to discourage the stories of his valor. Serves as representative on the Council of Chiefs.
Chikaku StarRhett – Remains at Budehuc Castle for a while, gaining training from Cecile on proper guardsmanship. Realizing its too much work he returns to Duck Village where he is continually browbeaten by the Sergeant to work harder.
Tenei StarYuiri – Resumes her duties as Chief of Alma Kinen Village, she has since sworn that the village should open itself to visitors, but regrets the decision when large numbers of male tourists begin showing up.
Tensyo StarYun – Giving her life to protect the seal of the Water Rune, the wind sings with the joys of Yun's spirit as she watches over the Grasslands.
Tenyu StarYumi – Accepts a position as representative to the Council of Chiefs, she is both a wise and influential representative.
Tenyu StarDupa – Continues to lead the strongest of the warrior clans. He has since commissioned that the Highway Network be closed and reworked as a great number of their underground veins have been compromised during the war.
Tenmou StarShiba – Retiring from military service at the insistence of Dupa, Shiba is given the position of representative on the Council of Chiefs where he works tirelessly to strengthen the borders of the Grasslands.
Tenritsu StarBazba – As the Right Fighter of the Lizard Clan, he continues to serve Dupa as chief training instructor and military advisor. Many female lizards are brokenhearted to learn of his eventual marriage.
Tenkyu StarEstella – Her claims of her defeat of Crowley recognized, she departs for Dunan where Mazus was last seen to claim her defeat of him. Leaves quickly however when she discovers he's returned to the country.
Chimou StarRody – Still trying to fly his broom, he takes his master's advise and jumps from a cliff to get more lift. Claims to have flown for a few seconds before fear and gravity took effect, but is otherwise disappointed with the results.
Chibin StarViki – Believing that her random teleportation blunders are a result of her inability to hold her liquor, her friends plan an intervention during the celebration ceremony, but fail to stop her from taking a sip of Champaign as she hiccups once, and vanishes.
Chisoku StarYounger Viki – Sighs in frustration, she disappears to chase elder Viki.
Thomas looked up from his preoccupied pile of unfinished documents on his desk to address the person who had offered a shy, almost intimidated knock at his chamber door. When the door opened to the chorus of screaming hinges, a wide smile crossed his features as he watched his Guard Captain enter.
"Uh….um…Master Thomas," the blond haired commander stated, her hands wringing with nervousness that was quite uncommon for her.
"Cecile, is something wrong?"
"Uh…no, its just that…um…well, since you've been working so hard and everything, I thought I would make you a lunch…that is if you're hungry." Cecile began hesitantly, yet her body suddenly jerked forward as though forcefully prodded from behind. Turning her head and waving her hand as if slapping away the unseen offender Cecile turned a bright red as the heat rose in her cheeks.
"Is someone else out there?" Thomas asked, his eyes shifting from Cecile to the doorframe as he craned his neck to see around the corner.
"Just me Master Thomas," Martha responded, her head popping around the corner of the door so quickly that Thomas startled. "Cecile was ever so concerned about you locked up in your room all day that she insisted she make you lunch. I just offered to help carry the basket up here."
The knowing, suggestive smile on Martha's face and the flaring red skin of Cecile's cheeks told the young castle master that there was likely more to the story than Martha was telling, but the rumbling of his stomach at the mention of food distracted his mind from the obvious fib to the basket in the clutches of the older woman. "Actually, that sounds wonderful, I am a bit hungry."
"Oh, hear that dear, and you were worried," Martha said, smiling the same telltale smile that caused the guard commander to blush even more furiously, if that were even possible. "Well, I'll just set the basket here and hurry on my way. I have a store to maintain and a wagonload of customers clamoring for tickets. So I'll see you two later," the elder resident calmly remarked before hurrying out the door at a pace the belied her advancing years.
The silence that followed the departure of the Lottery seller was all but palpable as Cecile held the basket protectively in front of her while Thomas shifted in his seat, uncertain of the captain's nervousness and his own hesitation. Finally, after what seemed hours of mutually silent conversation, Thomas at last took the plunge. "Do you, want to sit down Cecile?"
"Huh?" the young woman asked, her mind snapped quickly back to the situation at hand as though she had forgotten where she was. "Oh…uh, no Master Thomas, I…uh…just wanted to bring you some lunch. You seemed really busy and never eat properly and…uh…I, just wanted to…uh…"
Thomas smiled slightly at the commander before rising from his seat and walking around his desk to come to stand before her. Taking the basket from her hands and setting it on the floor, the castle master took Cecile's hand and led her to the unoccupied chair. "We can eat later Cecile. But…you're right. It's been quite some time since we've had the chance to talk and…well, I've missed that. And I've missed you," he said, the last part a mere whisper but loud enough for the guard captain to hear. A scarlet blush rewarded the Castle Lord, as the two took their seats side by side.
TenkaiStar Thomas – Continues to serve as lord of the castle and makes great
strides in the peace between Grasslands and Zexen. Among his most noted accomplishments are establishing trade relations between the two rival nations, and establishing the Budehuc Institute, where children as far away as Caleria come to study.
Tentai StarCecile – The residents of Budehuc Castle are always secure with her at the post of Guard Commander. As the years progress, she and Thomas continue to be partners in the prosperity of the Castle. Rumors circulate of their eventual marriage.
Tenman StarJuan – Remains on as the Bushido Master of Budehuc Castle, but still finds the time to take long walks and even longer naps.
Chihi StarSebastian – Still concerned with the finances, he eventually learns to relax and enjoy life, but also learns to work harder to find something the fret about.
Chisui StarEike – Establishes the Budehuc Library, at Thomas' insistence he becomes head of the literary and historical departments of Budehuc Institute where he becomes more tolerant of children. Still disappears at months at a time, but everyone now knows where to find him.
Chison StarMuto – Still the warehouse keeper of Budehuc Castle, he works extra hard as the repairs on the manor are eventually completed.
Chizen StarMartha – Never without a smile, her customers and fortune grow. Especially happy with her role of matchmaker and after her success with Thomas and Cecile, decides to try her charm on Juan and Emily.
Chiken StarPiccolo – Still telling fortunes, and still getting them wrong.
Chiaku StarEmily – Second dojo master of Budehuc Castle, she teaches many children the art of both hand to hand combat and arm wrestling.
Chisatsu StarKathy – Still the stable keeper of Budehuc Castle, she starts teaching horseback riding for the Budehuc Institute. Always seen with a smile on her face, she is a favorite instructor among the children.
Chihi StarKenji – Becomes gymnastic instructor of Budehuc Institute. The children love his teachings but are less than thrilled about his totalitarian methods.
Chiyou StarArthur – First to break the story on Thomas and Cecile, he finds joy in keeping all the citizens of Budehuc and its territories informed. Additionally works as a journalist professor at the school where he trains the next generation of news breakers.
Chiya StarKidd – Attempts to stay at Budehuc Castle, but can only tolerate journalists for so long. Departs for Dunan to take over his uncle Richmond's business.
Chiyu StarDominic – Retires as armorer of Budehuc Castle, he happily devotes his days as an instructor, lending his expertise to the next generation of iron craftsmen.
Chiretsu StarGoro – Challenges his father to a bath contest. Losing the tournament, he attempts to commit Hari Kari with a bath brush until convinced to go on an expedition to build his skills.
Tenkoku StarErnie – At Thomas' urging, heads the science and math departments of Budehuc Institute yet still finds the time to pursue her own studies.
Chitou StarBarts – Finding it too difficult to maintain his fields at Budehuc and Iksay village, Barts retires as gardener of Budehuc and maintains the harvest of Iksay, yet still visits carrying loads of delicious vegetables whenever he comes.
Chisei StarNadir – Still delighting audiences with his plays, the Budehuc Theater is a favorite among visitors and residents. Yet he still doesn't show his face.
Chibun StarTwaikin – Begins digging a hole one day. Whereabouts unknown.
Chiko StarPeggi – Continues to beat poor, defenseless iron into his liking, he takes a position as blacksmith trainer at Budehuc Institute where children take a liking to screaming while pounding on poor defenseless iron.
Tenbou StarScott – Leaves Budehuc to establish new trading routes, but returns to his shop often to maintain his inventory.
Chikou StarGordon – Maintains his shop in Budehuc while always a charming gentleman. Toys with the idea of returning to the theater.
Chibou StarJefferson – Still yells out obscure names and titles to all residents, he and Peggi delight in out screaming one another.
Chizoku StarGuillaume – Offers his services as appraisal instructor, he cannot figure out why Master Thomas won't let him near the children.
Chima StarKoroku – As one of Cecile's most trusted guards, he protects the castle with the rest of his family. Eventually Connie gives birth to his offspring.
Chizou StarMamie – Maintains the restaurant at Budehuc Castle, she leaves for a time to find the legendary recipe her father spoke of. Unable to locate it, she returns to her love of cooking and takes a position as cooking instructor at Budehuc Institute.
The ocean breeze was calming as the six mercenaries stood on the docks of Vinay del Zexay, watching the waves lap hungrily upon the coastline. The serene atmosphere however did not diminish the unease that permeated the companions, as their futures were now uncertain.
"So, what's the plan boss?" Ace asked the question that everyone in the circle was thinking, voicing his or her concerns for the present dilemma. "I mean, we fought against the Harmonian forces, its not like they'll take us back. Which means we're out of a steady job and steady finances. So, what do we do now?"
More silence found its way among the entourage before Queen spoke up. "It's not that we didn't know this would happen when we agreed to join you and Fire Bringer Geddoe, but we've been so preoccupied with the war that I suppose we never considered a plan of action when everything was done. Now that its over, we have a lot of time to think about that."
"Yeah, but I'd rather think about it in the tavern myself. All this salty air is making me thirsty." Joker responded, rolling his neck along the curve of his shoulders in an effort to work the kink out of it. "Why'd you drag us out here Ace?"
"I asked you all out here," Geddoe at last answered, taking a moment more to consider his options. "I had not said anything earlier because I was not sure how everything would turn out, but…we have another employer. I wanted to speak to all of you to discuss the position however."
"We got another job? Already?" Ace inquired, his eyes growing in unasked questions as he waited for Geddoe to elaborate.
Nodding his head only once, the mercenary captain withdrew a scroll from the satchel at his side, holding it for everyone to see. "It appears that, when I met with Tir McDohl in Duck Clan Village, he offered to hire us…"
"W…wait," Queen interrupted, holding up her hand to stop the progression of the story for a moment. "Tir McDohl? THE Tir McDohl? The General who brought down the Scarlet Moon Empire? Are you serious?"
"So that's why you were so eager to help the Grasslands huh?" Ace remarked, cocking an impressed eyebrow at the revelation. "A guy that well connected in Toran could really pay us well. So, how much did we score on the job? If its less than 35 thousand potch I say we drop him in the river."
"Actually, payment has not been received yet," Geddoe answered, returning the scroll to his pouch before continuing. "The payment is simply this scroll, which is a letter of recommendation to President Lepant, for a position of status in Toran."
"Wh…what?" Joker asked, shaking off his surprise at the proposition. "We're going to be nobles?"
"Not exactly," the captain continued, turning to face each of his friends in turn. "The recommendation is only for me, advising Lepant to hire me as a general. However, every general will need a staff to help him. Toran is, for the most part a peaceful nation, so it is a very good possibility that our days of fighting would be over. That is why I didn't want to speak for you when I accepted McDohl's terms, but wanted to ask your thoughts on the matter. I…think I will travel to Toran, and present the scroll to President Lepant. And I would like you all to come with me."
Tenjyu StarGeddoe – Travels to Toran with his notice of recommendation from Tir McDohl, becomes one of the Great Generals of Toran, placed in charge of safeguarding the Pannu Yasada district in place of the retiring General Valeria.
Tenson StarQueen – Travels to Toran with Geddoe, becomes vice-general of the southern district. Supports Geddoe both publicly and privately.
Tenhei StarAce – On Geddoe's request, becomes administrator of finances and supplies and establishes the southern district to be the most financially stable of the six military districts of Toran. Still finds time to visit the surrounding towns to engage in his notorious exploits.
Chisin StarJacques – Travels with Geddoe and becomes his archery captain. The crossbow he uses becomes a favored weapon of choice by the archers. Often visits Gregminister.
Chitai StarJoker – Retires from military service and opens a tavern inside Pannu Yasada Castle, yet can't figure out why he can't keep his stores of liquor from running out.
Teni StarAila – Refused by Geddoe to join his force, stays in Gregminister and works as an ambassador to strengthen relations between Toran and Grasslands. Jacques visits often.
Chikatsu StarDuke – Travels to Toran to have one last duel with Geddoe, the outcome of the fight is known only to the two men. Not to be outdone by Geddoe, travels to Dunan and offers his services as military general yet is only awarded the rank of colonel, which suits him fine.
Chiri StarNicolas – Accompanies Duke as his lieutenant, still the calming voice of reason to the combat ready colonel.
Chikai StarGau – Accompanies Duke as his lieutenant, he is often placed in command of expeditionary assignments.
Chimei StarElaine – Retires from military service but makes a rather substantial fortune with her cosmetics line. Still spends as much time with Duke as possible.
Tenan StarEdge – Leaves with the Star Dragon Sword to find yet another threat.
Chikei StarSanae – Returns to Dunan where she concludes her studies. Her parents, exceptionally proud of her, announce her marry to the great grandson of Lord Granmeyer.
The inn of Chisha Village was moderately decorated, yet far less elaborate than the young man seated at the windowsill was accustomed to. The meals were often undercooked or burnt, neither of which suited his tastes, and he was bitterly exhausted from his restless nights sleeping on the stiff mattress. However, he was in no position to complain, and should for the most part he realized, be grateful even for the meager comfort he had. Having sided with the Fire Bringer during the war, he knew he would be branded as a traitor, and reminded himself for the thousandth time that his discomfort was the price he would pay for his clear conscience.
Perhaps it was his own need to be close to his homeland that caused him to settle here, at least for the time being, in this moderately civilized backwater border village. Whatever the reasons, he knew he would not be able to stay long. Harmonian scouts were more than likely still lurking in the area, but he wanted to at least give Dios some time to contact his family and marginalize the time he would be away from them.
And though the hairs on his arm and the back of his neck stood on end, he felt the presence of the intruding visitor even before his body reacted to the surge of power that filtered within this chamber. Regardless however, Sasarai paid little attention to the presence that stood just out of his peripheral sight as he continued to gaze aimlessly towards the distant horizon.
"You seem lost my dear bishop," the woman's voice echoed quietly as she addressed the solitary figure before correcting herself. "My apologies, former bishop Sasarai."
Rising to his feet and turning towards the woman who taunted him, Sasarai grew increasingly hostile towards the intruder. "What do you want? Have you come to mock me or to try to use me like you did my brother?"
"I used no one, I merely showed him what it meant to be human. It is not my failure that he took the path he chose," the sorceress replied, tilting her head slightly to measure the man before her. "I must confess a curiosity however, what is it you plan to do now that you have lost your home. You have no where to go?"
"Would you have me join you?" the bearer of the True Earth Rune spat, his words angrily mocking the woman before him. "I saw where that got Luc and I will thank you not to suggest such a fate for me."
"I see," the woman replied, turning her back on the young man and moving towards the door. "I just think it is interesting that you have no where to go, and no hope of a normal future so long as Hikusaak threatens your very existence. Can you admit to being happy knowing what you know about yourself? Can you hope for a normal life, so long as you are the prey?"
The words caused the younger man to fall silent. It was true, he knew, that no country within the continent would provide him with political asylum lest they draw the wrath of Harmonia. No country in fact that he could name would challenge the Harmonians with the exception of Faleena or Toran, both of which were peaceful monarchies. He was, for a moment, lost in thought as he dwelled on what it was he could do with his life. Regrettably, he realized, the woman before him was perhaps his only option.
"Very well Windy, I'm listening."
Dios hurried along the passageway, his steps increasing in pace as he made his way to the chamber he shared with the bishop. He was so excited with the news he had received from his family that he was as a little boy with his pockets stuffed with potch on the way to the candy vendor.
It had seemed that Toran had accepted taking his family in as political refugees, provided Dios would serve the court. It was a offer too good to realize, and he was certain as his new position of advisor, he could convince the president to harbor Bishop Sasarai as well, under of course an assumed name.
"Bishop, I have wonderful news," Dios eagerly announced, opening the door with such haste that it banged against the wall. Yet the advisor had fallen silent as he stared into the empty room. Looking around curiously, Dios assumed Sasarai had opted to take a walk, and left to look for him.
Tengou StarSasarai – Vanished from Chisha Village, some say he was seen with a woman in a flowing cloak before his disappearance.
Tenkou StarDios – Spent nearly a month in search of the Bishop before being called back by his family. Served Toran faithfully as an advisor until he retired; yet still kept an ear open for rumors to Sasarai's whereabouts.
Tensoku StarNash – Returned to Harmonia after the war, but was imprisoned as a traitor. After three days of incarceration, he escaped with relative ease. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Tenrou StarFranz – After the war, Le Buque declares its independence from Harmonia and rejoins the Grassland Tribes. Franz retires as captain of the Mantor Riders and serves as Le Buque's representative on the Council of Chiefs.
Tensui StarIku – Relieved that the war is over and happy the Franz has finally accomplished what he wanted, a better future for the people of Le Buque, she agrees to his marriage proposal. They are expecting their first child.
Chihei StarRuby – With Franz no longer a Mantor Rider, Ruby retires as well, and fathers many offspring to carry the tradition of defending Grasslands.
Chikyu StarLilly – Still adventuring, still complaining…who can keep up?
Chiyu StarSamus – Resigns as Lilly's bodyguard yet Magistrate Marlow refuses his resignation. Accepts this twist of fate and leaves Tinto to settle at Budehuc Castle.
Chisa StarReed – Last seen still following Lilly and catering to her totalitarian demands
Chijyu StarTuta – Establishes a hospital in the Grasslands and stays long enough to see it become self-sufficient before departing to continue his studies, determined to become as great a physician as Dr. Huan.
Chirei StarMio – Always by Dr. Tuta's side, her bedside manner and gentle care warms the hearts of many ailing patients.
Chibi StarFutch – Returns to the Dragon's Den where he continues his studies. Though deeply depressed, he nevertheless continues to work towards fulfilling his promise to succeed Commander Milia.
Chikyou StarBright – As Futch's Dragon, Bright is a proud paramount among the Dragons, and takes every opportunity to remind his fellow mounts of that.
Chii StarSharon – Returning to the Dragon's Den with Futch and Bright, she partakes in the next birthing ceremony where she gains a gold dragon and the rank of Dragon Knight, 9th Class.
Chido StarLandis – ?
Chisyu StarBilly – Stays on at Budehuc Castle as groundskeeper. More honest than treasure hunting, but not as profitable.
Tenken StarMelville – As Captain of the Saint Loa Knights, he trains with Cecile to better his fighting skills while keeping his father in line at Budehuc Castle. Has recently been introduced to his half-sister Kathy by his father.
Tenhai StarElliot – Always by Melville's side, he is determined to be an adventurer and benefit to the Saint Loa Knights.
Tenzai StarAlanis – Leaves with her family, she vows to return to her friends, though she often finds her mind wandering to Melville.
Tensatsu StarHallec – His tribe welcomed into the Grasslands as part of the newly formed united Grasslands, he serves on the Council of Chiefs and makes great strides in strengthening the borders.
The light footfalls upon the polished marble floor were a sharp contrast to the heavy armor worn by the young captain as she made her way to the Council's chamber. She had returned to Vinay del Zexay from Brass Castle only within the last hour, and yet already the Council summoned her. She could imagine, in fact even visualize the reasoning for the summons and pictured the Council falling over themselves to praise her efforts in the war while at the same time belittling the sacrifice and loss of life that fell heavy like a hammer on her conscience.
Still, she was a knight, and had sworn a duty to Zexen and its people when she took her oath. Though, questioning the purpose of these past several months was in no way a rebuttal to her pledge. In deed, she could only better serve Zexen, by serving her ideas, not the parchment thin notions of territorial expansion demanded of her by the Council. And as she took the last few steps to the chamber landing, her mind reminisced of her other oath, and the lengths she was about to under take to see it through.
"Oh, Lady Chris," the portly messenger stated, approaching as quickly as his ample girth would allow. "I do beg your forgiveness but it seems the Council is not yet ready to receive you milady."
Sighing inwardly at the expected greeting, the Zexen Captain rolled her eyes in disgust before shouldering past the messenger and opening the chamber door. "Milady…" the herald stated, both alarmed and surprised by the presumption of the knight before the door was closed, buffering any further protests.
Chris could feel her sides ache from the strain of suppressed laughter at the indignant looks awarded her for her uninvited entry into this chamber. A few of the councilmen had the wits to look alarmed while the others seethed with incensed anger.
"Lady Chris," the head of the Zexen Council fumed, staring disbelievingly at the captain. "We have not yet requested your presence. We are in a very important meeting at the moment and as our time is far more valuable…"
"Forgive me councilor," Lady Chris remarked, allowing a half-crooked smile to illuminate her face, "But what I have to say is far more important for the future of Zexen than anything you are presently debating."
A guffaw of laughter echoed throughout the chamber before a second councilor found the breath to speak. "I fail to see how knight can know what is best…"
"I am not finished." Chris responded, her voice carrying a tone of finality that advised those present that it best not to incur her wrath. "In fact, I have not yet begun."
Taking her leisure to stroll the circumference of the large meeting table, Chris finally took an open seat at the end of the table, removing her sheathed sword from her belt and placing it in front of her for added effect. "What I have to say will be very simple gentlemen. As of this day, the Zexen Knights are no longer under the control of the council, but of the people whom we are sworn to protect."
The silence was nearly as palpable as the tension that built within this enclosed chamber until the council members burst into a frenzy of protests and accusations. For her part, Lady Chris Lightfellow remained seated, allowing the over ambitious merchants to vent their spleen upon the unmoving captain.
"This is an outrage, not to mention absurd!" The Council Head stated, straining to make his voice heard over the clamoring of his fellow councilors. "Not least of which you have no grounds or jurisdiction to make such an erroneous claim, your entire countenance is wrought with illegal, mutinous intentions. Where do you get the gall to come into our chambers unsolicited and then throw these wild attempts at sedition in our face?"
"Perhaps," yet another councilor began, "Her time among the barbarians have turned her sympathetic to those less civilized."
"If that is the case she should be stripped of command!" Another voice, and another outburst of angry accusations filtered about the chamber, as Chris remained unmoved by the complaints.
"You do of course realize Lady Chris that even simply suggesting your ridiculous proposal is grounds for being stripped of your title and imprisoned. What makes you think you can make such a claim?"
"What makes you think I can't?"
This was the last straw for the Council as the Head of the Merchant's Guild angrily summoned the guards stationed outside the chamber. Two heavily armed and equally heavy armored men entered quickly at the summons and bowed, ready to follow their orders. "Arrest this woman on the charge of treason against the Zexen Federation!" The councilor demanded, staring pointedly at the former captain.
Chris however, remained seated, looking over her shoulder casually at the two guards ordered to arrest her. No one moved, and for a moment, the Council Head pondered if the guards had heard him. "Do I need to repeat myself? ARREST THIS WOMAN!"
"But…Lady Chris…" one of the guards responded while the other remained equally baffled and unmoving. "The Hero of Zexen?"
"She is no hero of Zexen, only a traitor. Arrest her now!"
"And you would know all about traitors, wouldn't you councilor?" Chris responded, at last rising to her feet and reattaching her sword to her belt. "After all, how many of you conspired with the Harmonians during the war, hoping to split the Grasslands…"
"More accusations Chris?" Another councilor said, airily looking down his nose at the commander. "You keep these baseless allegations to yourself, they have no place here."
"Really?" Chris responded, reaching to her belt and retrieving a rolled parchment before slamming it on the table for all to see. "Then perhaps you can explain this to me? Explain how a non-existent partnership between the Zexen Federation and Holy Harmonia could produce this communication that we recovered from one of the Harmonian Scouts, a communication detailing our supposed enemy of my whereabouts, while in route to a meeting designated by you. While on my way to this meeting, I was ambushed and my True Rune stolen. Can you tell me how, if you had nothing to do with this, how this document came into existence?"
"Posh, that parchment isn't worth the ink purchased to scribe those lies."
"Maybe you're right, but I wonder what the cost of the wax displaying the seal of the Zexen Council cost. Maybe, half of the Grasslands?" Chris scowled, retrieving the communication and stowing it back into her belt. "The communication was indeed carried by a Harmonian courier, on his way from Vinay del Zexay. So now who is spreading lies?"
For a moment, the council was deathly quiet as they digested this newest information, yet before any could offer a rebuttal, Chris was speaking again. "You bastards sold out our country. Conquering the Grasslands would have given them more than enough of a foothold to conquer Zexen. I'd have thought the attack on Brass Castle would have proven that.
"So, as I have stated, the Zexen Knights are no longer under your control," Chris remarked, turning towards the door and stopping before the two forgotten guards. "It pains me to admit this, but Zexen still requires your leadership, at least concerning the financial concerns of our country. But as these men have proven," she stated, placing a hand on either soldiers shoulder in a show of fellowship, "we, the knights of Zexen, will no longer engage in your wars, but will act only to protect the people and our borders from invaders. We will never again invade another land for the sake of expanding our territory. By the True Runes, I swear it!"
Tenbi StarChris Lightfellow – Successfully wrestles control of the knights from the influence of the Zexen Council, she is heralded as a hero and inspiration for the Zexen citizens for generations, much to her displeasure. Works to promote the continued peace between Zexen and Grasslands. Bearing a True Rune however, she slowly grows increasingly disconnected with those she serves and serves with, and after several years as the knights' captain, resigns her commission and departs. Rumor has it that she has been seen in the Grasslands, notably in Karaya Village.
Tenki StarSalome – Serves as Vice-Commander of the Knights, he eventually retires after a long and distinguished career. Content to live quietly as a husband and father.
Chiki StarPercival – Returns to Iksay Village and helps with the reconstruction, is forced to return to active duty to help defend the borders from the Tinto Border Skirmish.
Chimou StarBorus – Always a pillar of chivalry among the knights and an example of unwavering devotion to his swordsmanship for many years. Never able to confess his true feelings for Lady Chris, he resigns from the Knights shortly after she relinquishes her commission.
Chisyu StarLeo – Paramount in the Tinto Border Skirmish in safeguarding the territory of Tinto, he is offered the position of vice-captain of the knights after Salome's resignation, but refuses claiming he does not have the patience or intellect to command.
Chiin StarRoland – Often visits Budehuc Castle after the war, is resigned to join the front during the Tinto Border Skirmish. Believed to have been killed in battle.
Chisyu StarLouis – Eventually knighted and joined the rank among the might six knights of Zexen, he is eventually named commander after Lady Chris Lightfellow retires.
Chigaku StarNei – Remains at Budehuc Castle, performing in Nador's theater as both actress and singer, she is an attraction for many of the residents and visitors. Visited often by Roland, she becomes considerably less cheerful when he stops visiting, though she still publicly entertains and teaches music.
Chian StarToppo – Remains always at Nei's side, he continues to be as quiet as ever.
Chiyu StarShabon – Still performing in Nei's troupe, she also becomes the best student in Juan and Emily's dojo.
Chii StarFred – Honoring the traditions of his grandfather, Fred Maximillian journeys north, seeking corruption.
Chiei StarRico – Always by Fred's side.
Chisatsu StarMua – Commissioned to organize and command the Grassland's division of the Knights of Camara, he is ever watchful of the borders and ready to protect the beauty of this land.
Chikou StarWatari – Has a final duel with his sister in which only one survives. That outcome however is lost to history.
Chikyou StarAyame – Has a final duel with her brother in which only one survives. That outcome however is lost to history.
Chisou StarShizu – Makes several modifications to the elevator, then leaves Budehuc Castle to improve the overall design of her master's invention.
Chikou StarHortez VII – While en route to Harmonia to petition the opening of a new shop, stops off at Sol Falena where he restocks his supplies before continuing his journey south.
Chichin StarAugustine – A gentleman among gentlemen, he journeys for a time before settling in the Island Nations where he partakes in the beauty of lands and ocean.
Chiku StarMel – Disgusted by Branky's constant lewd behavior, leaves him in Chisha Village, but he still follows after her. ?
Chikei StarBelle – Makes many more adjustments to Gadget Z before returning to Toran and her mother and great uncle shop.
Chisyun StarGadget Z – Broken many times by Belle, he accompanies her to Toran where Belle's mother Meg fixes him along with great uncle Juppo.
Tenki StarCaesar – Understanding that a true strategist's duties are to win war at the lowest cost of life, he journey's to improve his skills so that he may be better prepared to stop Albert's ambitions in the future.
Chifuku StarApple – Returns to Gregminister after completing her biography of her teacher. Declines a position as strategist and opens a school to further the lessons of her master.
Chiman StarWan Fu – Continues his journey, dividing his time between his quest for revenge and his need to eat.
Chisu StarMike – Disappears, though no body remembers him being there. Whereabouts are unknown.
Chiketsu StarJeane – Gains popularity at Budehuc Castle for her…er…Rune Mistress skills. Many of the male resident population are heartbroken as she eventually disappears.
Those who possessed the True Runes, the ones who stood in the path of the destroyer, were gathered in a semi-circle around Lady Leknaat and Lady Hellion, expectantly waiting for the reasons behind this newest summons.
"I wish to extend to you my deepest thanks," the blind seer began, bowing in reverence to those before her. "Thanks in large part to your efforts, the tragedy was averted.
"It is, with regret that Luc denied his role as a True Rune bearer, but I would like to believe that he…perhaps found what he was looking for." Pausing a moment, Leknaat breathed a heavy sigh and continued. "I truly hope that the time will not come when we are all needed again, I pray that I will not need to summon your assistance in the future."
"Let me save you the trouble Leknaat," Tir said, bitterly pushing himself from the wall. Though he was but a mere shadow of his former self, it could not be denied that he reminded those who knew him previously of the Tir who led the Liberation Army. His clothing even, was no longer dark in hue, but the golden leggings and red tunic so often associated with him. "Don't ever bother contacting me again."
The assembly had grown frightfully quiet, with Riou and Jowy craning their necks from the seer to the bearer of the Soul Eater to see who would speak first. Lazlo however, wore a look of self-realized mockery, as if Tir had beaten him to his own declaration. "I am sorry you feel that way Tir…but as you know…"
"Save me your speeches Leknaat," Tir said, pointing his finger at the bearer of the Gate Rune. "I don't believe for a moment you give a damn about any of us, nor do I think you regret our actions that caused Luc to die."
"Luc's death was the result of his own folly, Tir. How can you prescribe blame to me for what he did?"
"Do I think Luc acted under his own free will? Yes I do. But I also think you could have taken more of an interest in his suffering. Tried to help him instead of pushing him away into Windy's way of thinking." Tir stated, his mouth forming a bitter frown as he gazed upon the sightless woman.
"The young man has a point Leknaat," Lazlo replied, turning his head and nodding his approval of former general's words. "As I told you when you came to drag me into this mess, when was the last time you took any notice of any of us, our suffering, our problems…our loneliness. When have you ever cared?"
"More than that," Tir continued, taking several noticeable steps towards the exit. "When Luc went mad with his quest, you gathered us for the simple purpose of executing him, no trial, no intervention, just a swift assassination."
"And as you know Tir, we all, each and every one of us tried to talk him out of his quest…"
"After he was so far consumed by the idea that logic and reason were a foreign concept to him. You tried to convince, after he made his choice…not before, not while his future was still uncertain, but after he made his choice. And now he's dead…for trying to do what he thought was best."
"Lord McDohl," Leknaat said, staring at the young man as if seeing him for the first time. "You speak as though you approve of Luc's actions. When has the slaughter of innocent lives ever been within the best interest of the world?"
"Since the only example he's ever had to judge that evaluation, has shown him that the ends justify the means…Lady Leknaat."
"McDohl," Hellion said, speaking finally as if to break the tension in the room. Riou and Jowy were still deathly silent while Lazlo seemed to wait patiently, as if waiting his turn to berate the executor of balance. "You're out of line!"
"Really?" Tir responded, walking towards the exit before stopping to speak over his shoulder. "Then I suppose Leknaat participating in the War of Liberation, despite her oath of maintaining balance, was not to assist out side in her own private little war against Windy. After all, how many sides have you chosen before or after that war? You only fought along side us, and chose to be close to me, because it was your chance to defeat Windy.
"I refuse to respect anyone who dangles people in the open like a piece of meat to bait the tiger, and I will not be your puppet any longer Leknaat. I expect never see you again!" And with that the young man departed, leaving the chamber and his fellow immortals behind.
"Indeed, I agree with the young Lord McDohl," Lazlo stated, his own eyes surveying the seer as though pondering how to address the woman. "For a person who can see the future, you certainly are blind to the world around you…" And thus Lazlo left as well.
Leknaat however, turned back towards the two remaining Rune Bearers as though the angry, betrayed remarks of the young men who left had not been spoken at all. "I do hope, Riou and Jowy, that you do not hold a similar sentiment of me?"
"O…of course not Lady Leknaat," Riou replied, his attention drawn from the chamber exit towards the ageless woman.
"I am grateful. As I have said, I truly hope your future involvement will not be required, but I am thankful that I may, at least, call upon you should I need your service."
"Yes, of course," Riou stated, bowing slightly.
"Very well then," have a safe journey and may your destiny guide you brightly.
The two young men left the sanctum and walked towards the stairwell before Jowy increased his pace to a near run. "What's your hurry Jowy?" Riou asked, rushing to keep up with his eagerly departing friend.
"If we hurry, we can catch up with Lazlo," Jowy responded, pausing but a moment to fully address his friend. "I've made a big mistake involving myself in this mess Riou," the young man stated, shaking his head as he sighed wearily. "So many people now know that Jowy Blight is alive, that it will only be a matter of time before they come looking for me. Jillia, my son, Pilika, I've put them all in harms way because of my involvement. The only way I can make amends is…to leave the country. That's why I need to speak with Lazlo. See if we…I…can travel with him. Maybe to wherever he's going, maybe to Falena. It's big enough to hide and no one will know me there. At least my family will be safe."
Nodding his head in agreement, Riou understood what his friend wanted to do, and fully supported him. "Alright then. Lets go. We'll split up, I'll get Nanami while you head south, we'll meet up later."
"You sure? I don't want you to abandon everything Riou…"
"Jowy," Riou cut his best friend off with a stern, sure look. "You, me, Nanami…we're family. It may not be by blood, but it is to the bone. And we stick together."
Nodding his head as the growing smile parted his lips; Jowy only accepted the truth before him. No thanks was needed, no words in fact to express his gratitude as it was written on his face. Riou understood, he always did. "Alright, let's hurry," Jowy said at last, turning back towards the exit. "We have a boat to catch."
Tir had walked hastily through the forest leading to the docks that would take him back to Gregminister. He was not at all aware of how quickly he was traveling, only knew that he needed to put as much space between himself and Leknaat. It seemed, for the first time since he had gotten the Soul Eater that he was at last free to choose his own path.
As he continued his journey however, the sight of deceptively frail looking young woman materialized before him, her arms crossed as she tilted her head slightly to look at the younger man. A slow, easy smile formed gradually on her lips as she took a step closer to him.
"Its finally over then," Sierra stated, her eyes a torrent of hope and fear as she addressed Tir. "I suppose we won."
"Did we really?" Tir asked sorrowfully, his eyes gazing at the heavens before returning his attention to the woman before him. "Luc lost his mind with the images he saw from his True Rune, and the result of that was the death of hundreds of innocent people. And no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't…pull him from the brink. He just, lost it…"
"But you at least understand that, don't you Tir?" Sierra said, taking another step towards the young man. "When you joined up with us, you were as distant and lost as Luc. But you at least, have been pulled back from that abyss. That has to count for something. Maybe it's that…he just didn't have the strength of will to see there was another way…"
"It wasn't my strength of will that saved me Sierra," Tir responded, staring pointedly at the vampire. For several moments they stood, gazing upon one another before Tir broke the connection first, the skin of his cheeks flushed.
"So," Sierra responded, her voice more confident yet shakier than it had been. "What are your plans now?"
Smiling despite himself, Tir answered with his ready response. "Find a quiet place with a little lake. Fish," turning his eyes back to the tattoo on his right hand as he raised his arm to eye level, Tir continued. "I still can't let this Rune be near many people. I guess I need to find somewhere where there's no one around."
"I know just the place. A little secluded cabin in the middle of the deepest woods you've ever seen," Sierra said, reaching forward to take his hand in hers, her fingers lacing his as they held each other's hand. "After all," she whispered for his ears only. "Immortality does get lonely."
Chikai StarAlbert – Proving himself as a talented and skilled tactician, he is awarded his station of status within Holy Harmonia. He is nevertheless, eager to find new challenges to advance his position.
Tenyu StarYuber – Seen for a while around the ruins of the Ceremonial Site, he disappears without any incidents. Rumors say that he has appeared recently in Harmonia, under Albert's direct command.
Chizen StarSarah – Holding the only man who ever truly understood her, she weeps silently as his life slips from the world, unconcerned as the ruins crumble around her. Her fate inconclusive, it is only known that she is never seen again.
Tenkan StarLuc – Unable to carry out his dream of freeing the world from Fate's control, it is never known that the reason his defeat came so swiftly was that, unable to hurt any more people, he turned his own rune's power against himself. He dies in the arms of the only person to ever truly loved him, leaving the world with a small glimmer of the war to come.
Tenkai StarTir McDohl – Departs the civilized world and retires to a small cabin in a heavily forested region, he has at last found that small glimmer of happiness he so longed for.
Tenkai StarRiou – Leaves Magicians island and returns to Gregminister to collect Nanami, he ventures to Falena where he finds Jowy and Lazlo waiting. The four open a dojo to teach the lessons of those who have long since past, to a new generation of students.
Tenkai StarLazlo – Journeys to the Island Nations with Jowy and then to Falena where he teaches swordsmanship. Leaves for a while to explore the Island Nations in the hope of remembering his forgotten past, he returns to Falena where he stays with his new friends.
Tenei StarSierra – Leaves with Tir and journeys to the once inhabited Blue Moon Village. The two remain for many years, sharing peace and happiness, and even after venturing once again into the world they are inseparable.
Chikyou StarJoshua – Dies after relinquishing his Dragon Rune to Milia, he finds the peace in death that eluded him in life.
Chii StarMilia – Leads the Dragon Knights with honor and valor, she nevertheless eagerly awaits the day for Futch to complete his training so that she may pass along the Dragon Rune to him.
Jowy – Leaves with Lazlo, the two become fast friends. Meets up with Riou and Nanami, the four of them open a dojo to teach the lessons of Grandpa Genkaku and the swordsmanship of the forgotten Gaien Knights. While at sea one day, Jowy takes the sword marking his right as King of Highland, and drops it into the ocean.
The dark catacombs were a sharp contrast to the illuminating chambers within Crystal Valley, however the High Priest Hikusaak cared little for the scenery as he made his way to the lowest dungeons. Reaching his destination, he examined his point of interest with great pleasure, pleased that it was still in tact.
"Your Grace," a priest spoke softly, entering the room and bowing low before delivering his message to the ruler of Harmonia. "We have found it milord. We have retrieved the True Wind Rune…"
"Very good," Hikusaak responded, turning back to examine the stasis tank that housed the hibernating homunculus, his hand caressing the glass of the cylinder. "Awaken this subject and have the Rune infused with him. If he must have a name, call him…Luc. It's the least I can offer that failed experiment." Hikusaak said, staring upward as the green eyes of the clone slowly opened into life.