No, honestly, I'm glad everyone likes the story and the way I write. Forgive me, I gripe a bit, and I know I opened myself up to comments. Anyway, I tried to give my readers an e-mail address to contact me at, but some type of filter on the site blocked it out of the published version of Chapter 3. So try to mail me at my author name at yahoo. Once again, sorry you put up with my preaching, but you will be rewarded with a chapter. Once again, review often, and please, please recommend me to your friends. I would love to have hordes of readers waiting for a chapter. But before I begin...
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the canon characters of Fire Emblem. However, any original characters featured in this story are mine, mine, and mine. Any attempt to steal them will result in me starting a vendetta against you, and may result in your expulsion from this site. So if you want to use my chars, ask. Though I doubt any of them are interesting or remotely worth stealing.
Anyway, on to.....
The journey to Bulgar had been fairly quick to Sain. He wished sorely that the two days would simply last forever, but they passed by much quicker than they should have. The month or so the wandering knight had spent with Leon and his family had been one of the most enjoyable, peaceful times in his life, and now it seemed that it would end abrubptly. He still found it odd, that his time with the farmers should end when he reached the place where it had all begun. He had frowned somewhat when he finally processed the idea. If this was what some people meant, by coming full circle, Sain wished sorely that the line would carry on further before he finally reached where he was supposed to be. He did not wish for it to end like this, all these clouds and memories haunting him still. People crying out, looking for help. They had defeated Nergal, but they hadn't been able to save those people. They had, as Sain viewed it, found failure within victory. They had traded many innocent lives for the shaky peace that held Elibe together.
But here he was now, in front of the city where it had all started. It was here that he and Kent had found Lyn and Mark, and began to journey back to Caelin. Then, Lyn had joined Eliwood in an attempt to find his missing father. And the rest was history, or would be soon.
"Sain? Sain!" Sain returned to the outside world as Adam spoke to him. "Whatsamatter? You look like you were somewhere else entirely." Sain shook his head a little, and sighed. "Just..just remembering." "Remembering what?" "Well, I've been here before. I met some friends here in this city. And I'm wandering as a result of that..." Of course, Adam didn't really understand. But that was good, for it wouldn't do for him to be weighed down by Sain's troubles. The gates to the city creaked open, and Adam beamed as he looked upon the port of the Sacae. It was good that the sight of such a city brought pleasure to the lad's eyes. It was best that he cherished the little things. Adam looked back at him, and Sain nodded ahead. "No doubt you've got someone you'll need to talk to. Go on. I'll help your parents set up." Adam beamed silently at his hero, and jumped from the cart, running into the city. Sain smiled a bit at the boy's lightheartedness, and rode on beside the cart.
It was fairly early in the day, as they rode into the marketplace, the farm horses shifting nervously on the cobbled street. Finally, they neared the wide open area that was the marketplace. Sain would swear that the market was larger than all of the homes in the city put together. He rode ahead, parting the sea of people to allow the cart to trundle through. Leon steered the horses to a vacant area, and halted them with a sharp tug on the reins. Sain swung down from Roshan, and Tara and Leon stepped down from the cart. The couple began to unload their wares from the cart, setting the baskets on the stones. Sain looked about for a moment, taking in the enormous human activity. He had not seen so many people in a long time. There were bakers, with the smell of bread wafting through the city, artisans with their pottery and trinkets, and there were other people with produce, like Leon and his family. The young knight tore his eyes off a particularly odd looking purple fruit, and looked back to Leon. "Is there something I can do?" Leon nodded toward the front of the cart as he hefted a basket full of figurines out of the wagon. "If you'd take the horses down the street to the stable across from the inn, I don't have anything else for you. I suppose you'll be free to explore."
Sain walked around to the massive workhorses, and spoke as he unfastened them. "I think I'll drop Roshan off there too, and come back to help. I doubt there's much for me to look at. I'm probably needed here more." Tara smiled at him over Leon's shoulder, conveying a silent thanks to him. He nodded and took the horses by their halter, leading them down the aisles. The workhorses jumped at the mongers' shouting. Sain spoke calmly, assuring them that it was all show. "Easy, fellows. Nothing bad here. Besides possibly a vile person and the occasional rotten egg or fruit." Sain grinned a bit at his foolish joke. While the farm horses panicked, Roshan was craning her neck about, watching the events in the marketplace. Sain had to tug sharply on her reins to get her to follow. "Silly horse. It's rude to gawk."
Finally, having braved the crowds, and discouraging Roshan's constant interest in the atmosphere, Sain and his equine company found the stable. They stepped inside, and the sweet smell of straw flowed over him like a wave. He smiled lightheartedly, and the horses followed him inside voluntarily. Sain looked about it a bit and found a young stable boy, who had just finished watering a horse. "Excuse me? I'd like to board these horses here." The lad looked confused.. "Well, that is what we do." "I'm aware of that. I need these three given generous amounts of fine straw, and a bit of oats wouldn't hurt, either. But don't give her all she wants," Sain said, nodding to Roshan, who snorted at him. "She's fairly greedy for such a small horse." "I..uh, alright. That'll be..lesee..twelve pieces for the stalls, three for the straw, and five for the oats, sir. So..twenty gold pieces then."
Sain spent the better of five minutes fishing coins from the pouch that hung at his waist. "There you are. Twenty-five pieces. An extra five to have the filly saddled at dawn tomorrow." The stable boy looked at him slack-jawed, and nodded stupidly. "Y-yes sir. She'll be fresh and ready. Thank you!" Sain smiled a bit at the boy's nervousness. "No, thank you. But I must be off. I have business to tend to."
Sain turned on his heel and walked from the barn, whistling a cheery tune. He retraced his steps slowly, watching children scamper through the streets with a dog, chasing a ball. Sain stopped to watch a bit, and the ball rolled to a stop at his feet. The dog shot after it, but the children stopped a few feet from him. Sain bent over and picked up the ball. He scratched the dog behind the ears gently, and walked toward the youngsters. He smiled at them, and handed a young boy with scraggely brown hair the ball. "I believe this belongs to you all." He winked at the little mob, and turned around again. The dog followed behind him with no reservations. The children however, followed him in a single file line, as if it were some great new game. Sain grinned broadly, and fought to keep from laughing at the little parade. Suddenly, there was a shout from behind them. "Children! Stop! Stop right there!" A young woman with black hair chased after them. She was dressed plainly, but was pretty. The little group of rogues sighed, and some scuffed their shoes at the cobblestones. She frowned at them, as if she was scolding them with her gaze. Sain chuckled, and she turned to meet his gaze.
"I'm terribly sorry, sir. I'm supposed to watch them, and I didn't think they'd-" Sain smiled lightly and shook his head. "It's not a problem. They weren't bothering me a bit. I was just on my way to the market and I accidentally added a few members to my company." He winked at the guilty children, and they laughed a little. The girl began to look at him.. "You..you're not from here, are you?" Sain shook his head, and supressed a smile. "Nay, I have been cast far from my homeland, Lycia. I have been wandering for several months now." She avoided his jokes for a moment, and spoke again. "Well, at least that explains your clothes." Sain looked at her with an expression of mock horror, and looked at his clothes. "My clothes? I'll have you know, fair maiden, that this sort of garb is worn by many a man where I come from, and 'tis worn with pride." This time the girl giggled a bit, and looked at him. "I'm sorry, then. My..my name is Sandra. I watch these children while their parents work. And you are?" Sain spoke with a sweeping bow. "I am Sain of Caelin. Or Ostia, if you're picky." She blushed a bit as he bowed, and locked her eyes on him. "Well then, Sain of Caelin, what brings you here?" Sain motioned behind him. "I'm helping some friends of mine in the market. Then, whatever the road holds for me." She dropped her eyes, and nodded a bit. "I see." Sain still spoke a bit cheerily, not having noticed her bowed head. "Well, I'll be in the marketplace, if any children turn up missing." With another rougish wink to the children, he turned and kept walking.
Sandra watched after him, untill he disappeared around the corner. She stared at the spot where he'd disappeared for a moment, then a young girl tugged at her dress. "Sandra? Can we play now? Or are we still in trouble? We didn't mean to make you mad. We just followed the funny man. He was nice, huh?" The little group nodded brightly, and Sandra smiled a little. "Yes... He was nice. Of course you can play, as long as you don't wander off again..."
Sain reached the market place with little other incident and found Leon exchanging a wooden figure for a few coins. As the customer walked away, Sain arched a brow as he walked up to their makeshift booth. "You know that that piece was worth more than that. I bet that it would easily fetch twice that price. Why sell so low?" Leon shrugged a little as he sat on an empty basket. "Because we aren't staying in town long. We'll simply get rid of our wares and go home. We don't need a lot of money. Tara always makes due with what we get. Besides, we have everything we need on the farm. We hardly need money to complicate things. We keep just enough around for Adam.. So he can travel like his brother, or maybe build a house if he finds a nice lass. Gold isn't the root of all evil, lad. It's the love of money that's evil. A gold piece never did a fellow any harm, but a fellow who wants that piece more 'n anything is hard to stop." Sain sat for a moment, and thought. Leon was right. People who wanted money were really the cause of troubles. Like Kargil and his cadre. They had only wanted someone else's money, and were rewarded with ill means. Sain considered things a little more, and then looked up as Leon spoke again.
"Figured out where you're headed yet?" Sain focused on the old man's face. "No. I don't really know what I'll do. I'm not sure whether I should head back home or keep going.. I need something to point the way... Some kind of sign." Leon nodded, and spoke sagely once more. "Hard to know what to do if you don't know where you're going. I hope you find your sign, and it leads you to a fine place. I've only known you a month, but if anyone should know where they belong, you should."
Sain simply nodded as he watched the crowd. Leon had spoken kindly of him, and at one point, he might have swelled with pride. But he was in too deep, watching for a sign and speculating where it would take him.
"Have you seen any sign of Adam since you set up?" Leon chuckled as he shook his white mane of hair. "No, haven't seen him at all. No doubt he's off looking for trouble. Good for a lad his age." Sain smiled a little, and squinted as a shorter figure in plain brown clothes fought its way through the crowd. The sun shimmered through its hair, and Sain grinned broadly. "Speak of the devil.. There he is now." And shortly after Adam came a large group of children. Leon chuckled. "Aye. And it looks like he brought a whole band of imps too." Sain arched a brow as the last child broke through, following the line. Then a taller figure emerged, but she didn't fight the crowd. She simply waited for an opening, and stepped through gracefully. Something in Sain's head clicked.
Sandra. He'd thought some of the children looked familiar, but he wasn't certain untill now. The whole group circled around Adam as he spoke to his father for a moment. "Hello, father." Immediately, a chorus came up from the little mob. "Hullo sir!" Leon smiled and looked down at them. "Well then, what're we up to now, eh? Taken to hanging around the marketplace, eh?" But the children were only half-interested in Leon. Several of them noticed Sain, and poked a few of their comrades in the ribs. They then waved at him, and he waved back. By then, Sandra had caught up to them, and looked somewhat taken aback as she saw Sain sitting on a basket next to a farmer.
"I brought them here 'cause they didn't believe that a real live knight was with us. Or that he beat all those bandits by himself." Sandra began to look a bit confused as she looked back and forth between Leon, Adam, and Sain. "I..I.." Sain winked cheerily. "Well, that would explain my clothes.." Evidently, their doubt had vanished as they saw who was the knight. The man had seemed different, and now it all fit to them. Suddenly, all the children were clamoring, asking him all sorts things about being a knight. Sandra simply stood back, embarrassed. After Sain had answered a few questions tiredly, Leon chuckled and began gathering the remaining items that had not beeen sold in baskets. Finally, after he had everything packed up, he sighed. "Well, I'm afraid I must shut down for the day. I'm not what I used to be. Sain, Adam, I might need some help carying all this." Sandra, who was fairly sharp, caught on. "Come on, children. No doubt your parents are home and have dinner ready. It would be bad to keep them waiting." There was a great groan from the band of rogues, but they trudged off back from where they came, but not without waving a last good-bye to Sain. Sain turned to Leon, and spoke.. "Go on without me, you two. I'll be along shortly." Leon nodded and picked up a basket, and motioned for Adam to do the same. Adam did so, reluctant to miss anything.
Now just Sain and Sandra were left. Sandra looked down at the ground, scuffing at the cobblestone, like the children in her charge. Finally, she looked up and they both spoke at the same time. "I'm sorry, I..." Sain arched a brow. "What have you to be sorry about? I'm the one who didn't tell you what I am." "But, I didn't give the respect someone of your position deserves.." Sain snorted, startling Sandra. "Of my position? I have no position. I am a knight only to myself. I belong to no house or kingdom. I am I suppose, what one might call a knight errant. A rather fanciful term for a wandering knight who has no idea what he's doing or where he's headed. I have no real station." Sandra frowned, and nodded. "I'm sorry, I didn't understand. Still, I shouldn't have just treated you like some normal person.." "On the contrary. That's exactly how I'd prefer it. I would rather be treated as an average person. I grew up a knight. Maybe this is my attempt at trying to be normal. If it is, I must say I'm failing terribly." Sandra laughed at him a little, and sighed.. "Still.." "Still nothing, milady. All is forgiven, if that is the way you want it to be. Excuse me though, I must catch up to my friends. I think they're of a mind to eat dinner without me." Sandra smiled, and turned her back on him, starting off. Then she spun around. "Maybe I'll see you again." Sain could only answer, "Maybe." He couldn't tell her he was leaving in the morning. That was a surprise, and even he didn't know where he was headed. Sain shouldered a basket and walked off, toward the inn.
It was a short walk and few people were in the street. He made his way to the small inn easily this time, not having to contend with hordes of people. He opened the wooden door and was greeted with a creak. There were a few travelers around the fire, telling stories and taking turns roaring in laughter. Sain simply walked up to the innkeeper, and arched a brow. "I'm looking for a few friends of mine. A young lad with straw blonde hair, and an old fellow and his wife..." The keeper nodded, and pointed across the room. "You're Sain, I take it? They're over there." Sain nodded, and hefted the basket higher, onto his shoulders. He made his way to the table, and set the basket down next to him as he took a chair. His eyes glimmered a little, and he smiled. He first looked to Tara, who had been down the way, selling the produce. "Leon told me about your little adventure with the children, Sain. You seem to draw them like flies.." She winked at him, and he laughed. They talked a little of how things had sold, but little of the meal was interrupted with talk of money. Finally, Tara threw her napkin in, and sighed. "I suppose that we should go to bed. We have another day ahead of us. C'mon Adam. Let's go." Adam followed reluctantly, moving towards the stairs. When Leon didn't follow, Tara turned and looked at him. He motioned onward. "Go on. I want to talk to Sain. I'll be up in a bit." Tara frowned, and nodded.
Leon turned back to Sain, and cracked a grin. "Well lad, it seems your prowess with a weapon isn't your only gift. You may pierce men's bodies, but you pierce the ladies' hearts." Sain frowned, and looked at Leon. "Well, it's true, I used to be quite a scoundrel, but that was a long time ago. I'm not sure I really understand." Leon slapped him on the back. "C'mon, boy. It was plain as day. You had Sandra falling all over herself for you. Anyone with eyes could have seen the way she fawned over you. Had you ever met her before?" Sain hesitated.. "Well, yes. But only once. Before I got back from bedding the horses, I ran into her and the children. She didn't know I was a knight, though." Leon groaned. "That explains her attitude. Now that she knows you're a knight, she thinks you're out of her reach." Sain frowned, and spoke frankly. "What if I don't want to be within reach? I'm not finished wandering yet. I haven't cleared up everything yet." "Well then, just leave tomorrow and never give her another thought. That's the only advice I've got for something like that." Sain nodded, and put his head in his hands.. "Go on. I'm going to stay up a bit."
Leon nodded and rose, moving toward the stairs. As the old man left, Sain sat in thought. He had no idea where he was headed tomorrow, and if that wasn't enough, Sandra was smitten with him, or so Leon thought. Sain ordered a drink, and sat to mull over things. Sain took drink after drink, contemplating. Suddenly, a draft flittered through the room as the door creaked open. A young man of raven black hair walked in silently, a light sword at his side. Sain's eyes immediately flicked over man and weapon. The sword was fine steel, and the young fellow was like many others of his trade, and exceedingly proficient in its use. He was a myrmidon of the plains, a silent figure who fought to better himself, to become peerless. The young Sacaen sat, and ordered himself something to drink. Sain lifted his head and released the tankard. "Hello, there. What news fom the plains?" The young man cast him a withering glare, and murmered, "None that you need worry yourself about..."
Sain frowned as he looked at the fellow. He had expected the silent treatment, but was shocked by his snappishness. Rath had always been fairly polite, and quiet. Granted, Guy had been fairly chatty and blunt, but he seemed different to Sain. And here was another contrast, a silent and snappy young myrmidon. Suddenly, it came to Sain.. "Well, I had hoped to hear word of Rath or Guy, but since I cannot seem to get a forecast-" The young man interjected quickly. "You know the Wolf of the Sacae?" Sain chuckled a bit. He had set the hook. Now to simply draw him in. "Aye. He and I were comrades, once. I take it from your exclamation that he has returned to his tribe?" The swordsman, now warming up to the stranger quickly, began to spew forth knowledge. "Yes. His father, the chief, allowed him to return and welcomed him warmly. Guy returned with him, and then left not long after. He said he was going out to become the best swordsman." Sain smiled, and spoke. "Good. Then he has not given up on his dream. I'm sure with that determination, he'll be the best some day. But, enough about my fellow warriors. What's your name, my friend?" The myrmidon stuck out his hand, which Sain shook genially. "Roran." "Well then Roran, what other news of the plains?" And thus Roran began to spill forth news that he had heard in various areas.
"..And then, there are bandits coming in from Bern, of course. But that's not really news. The news is, we've been finding them nearly dead. Only story we can get out of them is that they were, well, being bandits and then they get beat up. They keep mumbling things about the Lorca tribe, which is strange, since they've been gone for years..."
It took a moment to register in his brain. Lorca, Lorca. Sain had heard that name before, but where? Then it hit him. Lady Lyndis! That had been the tribe that she had belonged to. Now someone was slaying bandits in the name of the Lorca. Was it Lady Lyndis, with her general dislike for ruffians of all types, or someone else, a theoretical second survivor. Lady Lyndis had said she was the last, and Sain believed her, but it couldn't hurt to check. Sain patted Roran on the back, and stood. "Good to meet you, Roran, and my thanks for the news. If ever you need a steady fighter at your back, you can count of Sain of Caelin." With that, Sain headed for the room he'd rented, his destination set.
The next morning...
Sain had risen earlier than usual. The sun was just peering over the walls of the city. He began to put his armor on, glancing out the window as he did so. There was no movement on the streets below right now. This was the time to leave. But as his hands moved over the fasteners of the armor, a thought struck him. This was the second time he was simply running off. He had left Caelin and Kent, and now he was leaving Leon's family and Bulgar. He felt like he was running away from problems he couldn't fight. When he could deal with these things, he would find his place. But untill then, he would have to keep moving.
Sain grabbed what little gear he had brought into the room, and crept into the hallway. He slipped down the stairs quietly, and nodded at the innkeeper as he headed for the door. All these people in this city, and almost no one to witness his departure. It was almost suspcious. But he walked across the way, and smiled as he opened the door of the stable. Roshan nickered at him tersely, as if scolding him for his lateness. The young stableboy had readied her for the trip, and was sleeping on a pallet of straw. Sain opened Roshan's stall, and led her out carefully. He couldn't help but smile as she craned her neck to nab a bit of straw from the lad's bed. He led the filly toward the doors, when for the second time, someone called out to him from behind. This time, though, it was a girl. Sandra.
"I..I thought you might stay a little longer.." Sain started, as he turned to see her emerge from a stall he had supposed empty. Straw clung to her dress, and she looked at him, worried. "Why're you leaving?" "I told you. I'm a knight errant. I wander the land, righting wrongs." "And you don't think you could stay here, and settle down in this city? You're tired of being a knight.. Even though you're always cheery when you talk about it, there's always a weary look in your eyes. Like someone who hasn't slept well in several days, but different still." Sain remained silent for a moment. If Kent had nearly found his reason for leaving, this girl knew it, as if she could read his very soul. Sain wondered that maybe it was something women did, and not just this girl. "Regardless of what you may 'see' in my eyes, I have to move on. I don't belong here, and there's trouble out on the plains. I intend to find it."
She grasped at his arm, causing him to turn and face her. "If you can't stay here, then take me with you. You're different from all the people here.." Sain shook his head and walked on, pulling his arm from her grip. "It wouldn't be safe for me to bring you with me. Besides, even if I took you, you would soon become homesick for Bulgar. Milady, I'm sure that within these walls, is some handsome young fellow who isn't quite as foolish as he looks, and will prove it by asking your hand in marriage. Mayhap, after I complete my task, I will return and visit you. But I can't promise you anything, as I know not what lies in wait along my road. So, farewell."
With that, the now somber knight swung up onto Roshan and gave her a little jab in her sides. She moved at a brisk trot, through the doors. Sandra followed him to the doors, and waved as he rode to the city gates, tears rolling down her cheeks.
As he rode closer and closer to the gate, his ears caught footsteps behind him, at a frantic pace. He turned to see Adam, his golden hair blowing in the breeze as he chased after Sain. Sain sighed, and forced himself to look forward. Adam still gave chase, and Sain urged his charger to a gallop. She obliged his request, and they went through the gates of the city. Adam still chased after him, before finally stopping just outside the gates, and breathlessly, shouting, "Sain!!! Saaaiiiiiin!!"
But the rider didn't stop. He continued to ride off, onto the open prairie...
So, there is Chapter Four. Signed, sealed, and delivered. Once again, read and review. For those of you that know where the end of this chapter came from, kudos! I like throwing in easter eggs every so often. Unfortunately, I haven't really planned out the next few chapters. So forgive me if there is a gap between some chapters. I know where I want this to go, but I'm still picking the route I want to take. Also, I may look to the readers for an opinion in the near future. But more on that later. Well, me'n Steve here will do our best to spin out some more chapters, and I'll try to find and review some work that my readers publish on this site. Because I like reading, period. In general.
Also, anybody know how I'd go about getting this story into a C2 community? If so, tell me in a review or mail me.