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Black Roses

CHAPTER ONE

-One hundred years after the fall of Yggdrasill-

Lloyd looked at the graves of his friends. Oh how he missed them. Colette Brunel, Sheena Fujibayashi, Zelos Wilder, Presea Combatir and Regal Bryant all had requested to be buried next to each other for they allwere good friends and wished that they not be separated. A statue of a tree that represented the tree of mana stood over their graves with engravings.

For these souls which fought so bravely,

We pray that you rest in peace,

Colette Brunel: One who is not to be remembered as a chosen but as a friend and a fighter.

Sheena Fujibayashi: A women who stood strong and changed the tides of fate, none will forget your name.

Zelos Wilder: A man who brought joy to all lives. May the light shine on you always and may you find peace.

Presea Combatir: A role model for all. Your undying loyalty brought courage to all who set eyes upon you.

Regal Bryant: May you pass your love, wisdom, courage, hope and dreams to others who have lost all. You are proof that men can atone for sins.

Lloyd felt numb that his friends were gone. He remembered their faces; voices, personalities and he remembered the roles they had each played in his life. He whispered a prayer and stood his black cloak catching a passing breeze perfectly. They had each died differently…Colette had died of old age, Sheena of a virus, Zelos had gotten a knife through the heart, Presea had died because someone had slipped poison in her drink and Regal had died from a heart attack. Lloyd sighed wiping away a tear. He should be under the earth as well but unfortunately a dying girl had given him Cruxis Crystal and beggedhim that he keep it, that it was her mothers and she had no one else to give it to. Now he would live as long as he had it with him. He turned his gaze to the sky and wondered if Kratos was still hanging in there. When Lloyd had been younger and traveling to break the seals with Colette, Genis, Raine, Sheena and Kratos he had wondered what had made Kratos to be so emotionless and calm. It had seemed unnatural back then but now Lloyd understood…that was the way time hadmade him. Kratos was that way because he had suffered so many emotional regrets, losses, pain and disappointments. Lloyd closed his eyes and took a deep breath before turning his back on his friends and walking away with a life he shouldn't have.

Raine closed the book and noticed that Genis was staring out a window his gaze was clouded in sadness.

"Genis? Are you oaky?"

"There all dead, aren't they?"

"Who?"

"Lloyd and the others... They don't live this long." Raine closed her eyes and whispered that they probably were and Genis went back to a book he had been reading, probably to distract himself.

"Genis? Are you sure your okay?"

"No…" He whispered, "I never got to say good-bye to any of them…" Raine tried to swallow past a hard lump that had formed in her throat but it just made things worse. She felt tears brim her eyes and closed them trying to ignore the sadness.

"I didn't get to say good-bye either." She whispered keeping her voice strong. "It's something we'll have to live with, I'm certain they wouldn't want us to live out our lives in misery." Genis nodded a tear rolling down his cheek.

"Its just that I can't help it…" He whispered "When I think of all the fun we had together... it-its like being given a taste of freedom then having it taken away with no hope whatsoever of it coming back…I feel like I'm suffocating sometimes when I bring up a particular memory that involves great happiness…like the time when Lloyd was playing pin the tail on the donkey and he accidentally pinned it on a skunk." Genis laughed quietly to himself at the memory. "He smelled horrible for months…no one would go near him and he was all happy that he couldn't go to school because of they way he smelt…I remember that when the smell was going away he went into the woods and looked for another skunk so he wouldn't have to go to school, instead he got too close to a mother bear and her cub and well you remember what happened next…" Genis smiled then sighed. "Man I miss him." Raine patted his shoulder

"I know how you feel…Maybe we could go to the grave site wheretheyare buried and pay them respects…if you want to that is" Genis looked up at her with a smile.

"I'd like that."

Lloyd slept under a tree his hands crossed behind his head. He had stopped aging at the age of 29 and resembled Kratos so closely that even the dimmest person could realize that they were related in some way. His two swords were hidden in there sheaths and again were so elegant and powerful that anyone could realize that these weapons were not only for looks but for fighting as well. He had beentherefor everyone when they had died and now his currentconcern was searching for Genis and Raine. Hedidn't want them to die alone.He opened his eyes after hearing a voice...A voice herecognized.He stood and walked to the edge of the cliff and blinked. Was his eyes deceiving him? Raine and Genis were traveling mere feet below him. This was too easy something had to happen…and sure enough something did.

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