Disclaimer : I don't own Yurius. That goes to Ish---I mean Intelligent Systems. They also own the FE series.
version 2 : I fixed some formatting problems that eluded me the first time. SummerWolf Inc. apologizes for the inconvenience.
Fly, the voice whispered, fly or lose your wings.
"But I don't have any wings," the boy murmured.
And fell, the wind whooshing by him.
The summer wind tossed the curtains in his room lightly, a gentle caress, soft with the dancing rays of morning. The light and shadow played on the folds of his blanket and mattress, sometimes dancing over his pillow, daring him to open his eyes and return to the waking world. It was past dawn, past the lingering bird songs in the morning, but not yet past the sweet fragrance of summer roses blooming just outside his windows, not yet past the hum of bees as they droned on with their daily chores. The wind turned the pages in his books, scattered on floor and table, and brushed his hair, trying to nudge him awake. There was a faint smell of bread drifting from the door, and his stomach promptly gave him a reminder that it was past breakfast, too.
But Yurius was determined to sleep in, and that was that.
The young Imperial Prince half-opened his eyes lazily, and closed them again. He liked to read for long hours in the night, accustomed to the darkness lit by a lone candle and the slightly chilly air. Princes were supposed to read up for the day they become kings...or Emperors, as the case may be...anyway, and Yurius had it figured out at a young age that if he couldn't get away from it, he might as well love it. That proved to be one of the best decisions he'd ever made in his entire life.
Eyes still closed, Yurius reached one hand out of his blankets and grabbed his favourite book, which was never far from his side. He didn't need to read it, everything was in his head anyway, but having it close made him feel good. It reminded him of the times when he was younger, when Mother would tuck him in and read him stories of the knight who went to save the captured princess of her imprisonment. That was his favourite tale, and he'd asked Mother to tell it again and again and again. It was Yuria's favourite tale now, but Yurius was happy with the book, which Mother had given him on his fourth birthday.
...A present, Yurius. You love this story, don't you?
He turned on the bed, blanket twisting after him. The hero of the tale was so very gallant, a knight in all silver armor, battling dragons and winning the beautiful princess of the gods as he braved the ring of flames that held her captive. He loved the story as a child, especially when Mother would close the book and smiled, saying and they lived happily ever after, even as there were pages unturned. Yurius smiled, eyes still closed. Mother loved that story too, he knew, since she would often clasped the book to her heart before hugging him and kissing him good night. Father used to laugh and say she loved fairy tales and romance stories of heroes and honor, and Yurius agreed, although he didn't see anything funny about it. The knights were always so gallant and brave, and he swore one day he would grow up to be just like them.
He was positively delighted when mother handed him the book, and immediately sat down and read it as soon as he got the time. It was a nice break from reading about all the necessary parameters for fire spells and variable speeds of Volcanon, which he wouldn't come within two miles of if Father didn't insist on it.
That time, he turned the pages his mother always left closed, and found there was more to the story.
Yurius half-opened his eyes again, this time leafing through the book, pausing occasionally at his favourite scenes as he relieved them in memory all over again. The knight fought the dragon, the knight winning the princess's love. He paged to the last scene in the book, the pyre and the ashes rising to the skies as the princess threw herself into the flames, and closed his eyes again.
Mother never got to the proper endings.
There was something about summertime that made the garden special, aside of the blooming roses and the buzzing insects. It was almost like a step, a flighty dance down the hallway, a race through the courtyard before splashing into the fountain and laughing into the blue sky. It was almost like climbing to the top of the trees overlooking the castle walls, looking at the city and the horizon stretching on forever, little streams and toylike mountains, pretending to be a great adventurer on a great journey, watching on top of a hill the neverending world. It was almost like a strap of the sky in his pockets.
Yurius turned a page, traced his hands on the symbols written there, and whispered the words. Father once told him he didn't even need to open the book if he knew what he was doing, like he didn't need to open the storybook to see the knight and the princess, only he didn't yet. The sweet summer air caught on fire, dancing like candlelight on the walls, a firefly faerie daintily waltzing through the air.
He watched the bird and its nest burn.
It was fascinating how the straws caught fire, each one of them turning black and melting into feathery dust. It was fascinating how the bird tried to fly even as its wings burned, the black outline of its bones visible through the dance. Yurius tried to imagine the dragon, fire spilling from its mouth even as he made the fire grow inside the bird, battling the knight draped in a sliver of the moon (that's how the book described him, and Yurius wasn't about to change it). It was like the eggs, he realized, first a speckled yellow-white, then shining from the inside as Yurius lit his fire in them. The white glowed until it was golden-orange, like the morning sun, and then the egg would slowly turn black and pop and crack. He wondered if that was what the princess felt, in the burning pyre-nest with her knight, first silver then orange then crackburstpop, straws and logs turning into feathery dust like wings that would take them to the Dead-Halls, where they would live happily ever after.
But it wasn't fair. The book's proper ending was never fair. The evil princess, the other princess who gave the knight the broth of forgetfulness so she could have his love, just cried and watched while the knight burned. It wasn't fair that she lived on when the good princess died, the evil princess should die too and die a worse death. He couldn't forgive the witch for taking the knight's memories of his love away just to have him for herself. Father used to say a good Emperor needs a firm and just hand, and if the evil princess were in his world, she'd die and she would deserve her death.
He watched as the crow burned, slowly, inside out.
It was preening its feathers on the wall, and it was quite good to see it die like the preening witch it was. The flesh burned and fell off as the fire peeled its innards out one by one, dancing in the sky like ropes. The bird cawed, but he was quick enough to burn its voice out before anyone would be able to hear. He wasn't an Emperor yet, and Princes weren't supposed to have the Emperor's justice, even if it was so unfair, so Yurius made the flames dance around more and more, carving the paths through the air and through the bones, the smell of fire overwhelming the smell of flesh. There was time enough to dance with the fire and make it do whatever he did, and Yurius loved that, although Father said it was impractical at best and would never be useful in true battle. Well. Yurius wasn't interested in battle anyway, he was supposed to be a kind and wise and just Emperor and he was supposed to be dealing out the Emperor's justice.
As a final touch, the prince made the fire sear the bones away, leaving only fine, black dust. He was particularly proud of the feat, as making it strong enough that the bones would chip into pieces while focusing it enough that it wasn't noticeable wasn't exacltly an easy task, but he was proud of himself.
Practice makes perfect, after all.
The sky rushed by him, and the boy tried to flap his arms.
He still had no wings.
When he opened his eyes again it was hours past noon, and the wind was getting warmer than he'd like. Yurius found the practice of kicking blankets out of the way to be very sensible at this time of the day, so he did just that.
Rolling around lazily, the boy decided that even if he didn't intend to go outside, a change of clothes might be a good idea in the current temperature. His bedclothes were really made to suit Barhara's chilly nights, not the day whereas the wind would blow it from the Yied desert, and it was starting to get uncomfortable. Not that he found the idea of slipping out of bed very compelling at the least.
Yurius clambered out of his sheets reluctantly, flung open the wardrobe, and picked out his best black doublet. He was supposed to look presentable for dinner, after all, and dressing in anything else would only earn him stares from Father. Yuria would have to wear her best black, too. It was somewhat boring. Even though he understood the reasons, the prince vastly prefered red, the coat of Velthomer. Mother used to say that Yuria had inherited the full blood of her line, Narga, so he must inherit the Falaflame. Yurius wasn't really sure he liked that, since only inheritors of Narga were allowed to rule Grandbell and wasn't he supposed to be the Emperor? But then Mother would just laugh and hug him and say whatever will be will be.
But Father said a man makes his own destiny. It was all very confusing.
He finished buttoning up the doublet and turned to look at the mirror. The view wasn't very clear, there were too many cracks, but it seemed that he did look the proper prince. Time to go read some more.
Yurius picked up a book from the floor, leafed through a few pages. The Properties of Fire and Flesh, by Hansen Velthomer, relative thrice removed. Yuck. It was one of the more boring books Father made him read.
Another one, a compilation of essays. Fire : An Deconstruction of Sociopolitical Archetypes in Association, by Azel Velthomer. Uncle, dead. Yurius put it down as well. Uncle Azel's essay was one of the rare things belonging to him that Father still kept, through reasons he didn't understand. The rest died in Father's fire before Yurius was even born.
He turned back to the tale of the knight and the princess, turning to the scene where the knight braves the ring of fire.
Fly, the voice urged him on. Fly. You have wings. Fly or lose them.
Below, the sea rushed to meet his screaming form.
"We're all very sorry about your mother," the strange woman said, hugging him.
Forks and knives clanged. He didn't understand. "My mother?"
The woman nodded, wiping tears from her eyes. Somehow he didn't buy it in the least. "Yes, Lady Diadora. Such a sad thing---and the little princess---"
Now he was really confused. "Yuria? What about her?"
She was surprised. "Why, child, she's---"
"She's just late for dinner. Girls are always like that, you know. They take forever to get into a dress," he explained, matter-of-factly, hoping the lady would understand it was situation normal with Yuria, she's never at dinner on time. "And since we're all told to wear black, she's going throw more tantrums than usual. You know, my sister likes her dresses blue and silver and all that yucky fairy tale-like flowery things."
He would never be caught admitting liking fairy tales himself even if he had to burn the house down. Not to a stranger.
The woman's expression grew unreadable. "Child---"
Father's voice was stern. Yurius had never heard him talking like that before. Except the time he and Yuria sneaked into the East Tower and nearly fell down the stairs.
"But, my lord---"
He didn't really understand.
"When is mother coming down? I hate eating alone."
Something apparently caught in Father's throat, because he choked, and began to look very strange. He then smiled, went over and hugged Yurius, but his eyes was never there. Staring at somewhere else. Just not there.
"You're not alone. I'm with you."
Somehow he didn't buy it in the least.
He dreamed he was falling, a voice telling him to fly. In the light.
It sounded like Mother.
He couldn't fly. He didn't have wings, yet she insisted he fly before he loses them.
So Yurius reached out to her, stretching his arms, toward the light. She was sitting in the garden, playing with Yuria. He could see it.
Tendrils of fire flowed from his hands, jet black fire darker than anything he'd ever seen, soaring toward mother. He screamed and cried, falling into a sea of tears.
And he saw himself above, in the sky, laughing.
And Yurius understood. And he knew that he would never understand again.
The moon had came out of the clouds by the time Yurius returned to his bedroom, still understanding nothing. Summer breezes played with the curtains in his room, the moonlight glowing softly on his messy bed and blanket.
He didn't bother to change out of his clothes, but rather tumbled onto the bed, picking up a book at random. Something was wrong, Mother and Yuria didn't join them at dinner, and Father was definitely acting strange. Maybe something happened between Mother and Father, and she left. He'd heard something similar happened with Grandfather, only he died. He wouldn't want his parents or his sister to die, so he should probably do something.
There was something in his heart. Something important. It was calling, calling in a drowned voice, like someone choking and dying. He had a feeling it was important, it was dangerous, it was something he should know but didn't want to know. And he had no idea what to do.
He'd ask Archbishop Manfroy tomorrow.
For the night, Yurius picked up the storybook and began to read. The knight was poisoned with a broth that made him forgot the princess, and so she killed him. Sometimes he wondered if the princess should've found some way to get his memories back instead, but that was how the story went and he had no problems with it.
There was something about summertime that felt like flying in the sky, laughing, only he didn't have wings. Even if the sky was darkening and mother was calling him to get inside because it's getting cold, he wouldn't have cared. It was too fun, it was easier to put it in the back of his mind and forget.
The story Yurius is reading is the Nibelunglied, particularly the one of Sigurd and Brynhilde. Yes, the coincidence is no coincidence. I just noticed there's some similiarities between Sigurd's situation and Diadora's, which is ironic.