Finding Courage

Yellow light spilled across the cobblestone street and a feminine shadow carrying a staff stepped out into the night. Shutting the door quietly as to not waken her companions the woman set off down the street. There was something about Meltokio that always made Raine Sage uneasy; no matter how hard she tried she could never sleep peacefully behind the city's walls.

Despite the down fall of the Pope and his influence it wasn't enough to erase generations of racial bias. Not everything could be summed up in a nice little neat package, no matter how optimistic you were.

'Even I find it difficult to forgive and forget,' Rain thought wryly. Of course Meltokio was a godsend compared to Sybak. When Rain first witnessed the half-elven scholars trapped in those dungeons forced to provide brain power for undeserving humans, it took every once of strength she had not to unleash her infamous righteous furry. Her lips turned into a vicious sneer that marred her otherwise pretty features.

'Genis must be rubbing off on me…sometimes I hate humans too,' she thought bitterly making her way around the closed shops.

It was so much simpler when they had first started out on the world regeneration journey in Sylverant. Collette was to undo the seals; Kratos was just another hired sword, and Lloyd and Genis were just tagging along.

"Ah, to be blissfully ignorant again," she tiredly chuckled to herself, her voice echoing down the empty streets.

Somehow her wondering had brought her to the park area were a few lonely benches sat under the ex-sphere powered streetlamps. Her feet guided her into the center where her view of the full moon was unobstructed by the towering buildings.

She breathed deeply of the city air letting her eyes drift shut into meditation. When Raine opened her eyes the moon had set considerable and it was then she noticed that her back and feet ached. However she wasn't ready to go back yet and opted to take the strain from her lower back by leaning casually against at stone wall. Sometimes it felt so good to clear her mind of all thought. Though she loath to admit it, occasionally it was tiresome being the voice of reason among such a passionate group of youngsters; Regal not included. A little quiet time to herself and some fresh air was just what Raine needed.

She was about to slip into another bout of peaceful meditation when the heavy cadence of booted feet sprung her into high alert. Slipping her hands out of her pockets Raine positioned herself so she could grab her staff in a hurry. It wasn't worth acting suspicious and drawing her weapon; so she forced her thundering heart to calm.

"I did not come for a confrontation," cautioned a deep almost soothing voice.

The seraphim Kratos Aurion slowly stepped out of the shadows beneath the carefully manicured park trees. Slightly relaxing her stance somewhat Raine made sure to keep out of sword range. The knowledge that he was Lloyd's father did nothing to ignite any sort of trust for the man.

"Then what do you want?" Raine asked cautiously.

"If you're so inclined I would like to hear of Lloyd's progress," Kratos shifted his weight and crossed his arms as if everything seemed so natural.

"I'll bet," the half-elf woman replied cynically.

"I know you find it difficult to trust me. But be assured that my purpose is not hostile. I just want to…checkup on him. If possible I would appreciate your opinion of his wellbeing and progress as well," he explained without missing a beat.

Ktatos had spotted Raine soon after he arrived in the city. Over the course of their adventure Kratos had come to respect Raine's aptitude regarding certain situations. Her opinions and assessments could be blunt at times but they were always well thought-out, while hitting the heart of the matter.

"I think its best if you talk to Lloyd yourself. Especially if you want to form any bonds of trust," Raine said evenly.

Kratos, for the first time looked tired and on edge. "That's not what I asked you."

"Tell me…" Rained leaned her staff along the wall and took an almost inquisitive stance, "Is it that hard to see him?"

"That is not your concern. And I'd advise cease your inquiry and see to mine," Kratos' words were laced with a warning that almost made Raine cease her interrogation.


"So in concern for your own son you refuse to see him and seek an outside party to inform you about him?"

Raine was met with a heavy silence. If the shadows hadn't obscured his face, she would have seen the corners of his mouth deepen into a strained frown.

"You're scared…." She said cocking her head casually, the moonlight played idly with her silver strands making them shine faintly.

"Excuse me?" Kratos' voice was low and quiet.

"Obviously somewhere deep down you're plagued with guilt and you're scared of what Lloyd may think of you."

Kratos shot her a look out the corner of his eyes, "Don't presume you know anything about me."

But Raine continued her train of thought with tenacity only she was capable of. "Well, then you're running," her dark blue eyes stared directly into the seraphim's.

"Explain yourself," Kratos urged lowly.

"It just proves that you lack faith in Lloyd's judgment. Maybe he won't forgive you, maybe he will. It's that uncertainty that you fear." She was on a roll and nothing was to stop Proffessor Raine Sage, not even a painfully tense atmosphere. "Not that it's your fault. But fear of the truth no matter how painful is quite common."

"You make it sound so easy," Kratos' voice was barely a whisper, but then a little louder, "Such words coming from someone just as guilty as I."

"I always pride myself on honesty. I hide nothing," Raines eyes narrowed suspiciously, yet her voice still held and firm tone


To the half-elf's surprise Kratos stepped in front of her, so closely that Raine was forced to lift her head to meet his gaze. His usually stoic features were irate; a spark of fear and uncertainty ignited in Raine's chest. Without warning Kratos brought both hands to the side of her face; holding her none-to-gently in place. Then ever so slowly his hands slid upwards all the while catching strands of her silver hair between his fingers. Kratos didn't stop until he exposed the pointed tips of her ears.

Kratos absently traced the pointed shape with his finger making Raine shudder deeply. Her eyes were wide while her mouth hung open in utter shock; for once Raine was at a loss for words.

"Don't be so quick to diagnose others when you refuse to look into yourself," Kratos said holding Riane firmly by the hair; forcing her to look up at him.

"I...It...It's out of necessity. For my safety and the safety of my brother," she argued, though it sounded weak even in here ears.

"Don't even try! Not even Lloyd and Collette knew what you were at first. Tell me Raine, where was your faith then?"

Raine's usual confidence abandoned her as she stuttered, "I…I ..I…"

"That's what I thought," Kratos stated slowly easing away from the bewildered woman.

Raine breathed heavily and slid down to the ground, her fist clenched and unclenched at her sides. She barely even trusted her legs to obey her, this was the first time in a very long time that someone had so blatantly approached and touched her. Raine fought the urge not to tremble.

This encounter she would definitely keep to herself.