Standard disclaimers. I don't own or have anything to do with Sega or Shining Tears.

This is an Elwyn/Xion fic. There will be lots of romance, and lots of heroism. I'm going to try to keep this relatively short, i.e., less than 10 chapters, so things will be pretty fast-paced. If you want a longer, more drawn-out romance then read my Soul Calibur fanfic, Blades Together. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 1: Bitter Heights

Our story begins in a high place.

Physically yes, the location itself was high, sitting on the edge of the cliffs north of Shildia, a beautiful view shining down upon the valley below. But height was also contained within Elwyn's elven heart, pounding wildly, sending shivers through her agile body, as her gaze rested upon Xion, her long-time friend and companion.

Had it been a year since they had met? It seemed like much less… or much more? So many times, they had fought side by side, Xion often unwilling, but always valiant, coming to her aid, or to the aid of the people of Shildia. Or anyone else who needed it, for that matter.

Xion, he seemed so shy, yet he fought with valor, even while full of wrath, as he always seemed to be while fighting by her side. Was it her fault, she often wondered? She had heard of his difference when fighting alongside other of their companions, such as Neige or Mao… were they somehow… better than she? Did they bring out the best in him, while she brought out the worst?

These thoughts had plagued her for many months, but, full of pride, she had never laid them to rest with any but her own mind. What was the use? Dare she seem a fool, a weak, sentimental fool, in front of her mercenary companions? Of course not. Xion would think…. Well, Xion would probably offer her comfort, and reassurance, but surely, his thoughts would be of jest and derision for her weakness.

No, she could not ponder such things, not now, perhaps not ever. Standing high on this mountain, wind washing over the forest like the rushing river below, Elwyn's thoughts could only focus on one thing: Xion.

Her heart beat crazily, never before had such feelings rush through her body, confusion, fear, dizziness, pain… as Xion pitched backwards over the edge of the cliff, ring finger sliced from his left hand like the wing of a chicken, his Twin Dragon ring glinting in the afternoon sun as it spun through the air, landing, finger and all, on the grass before Xion's deadly opponent.

Pios smirked, kneeling down to pick up the gruesome human appendage lying before him, as Elwyn stared in shock and disbelief, unable to move her graceful limbs as her most cherished companion plunged to certain death from the cliff. The world seemed to move slowly as Elwyn forced her hand to reach for Xion's, forced her legs to move, her feet to rise from the strangely sticky ground, slick with a dark red substance that she felt, in the back of her mind, may have come from her very own body.

But she was too far, and gravity was too cruel. Xion's panicked eyes met Elwyn's briefly, for only a fraction of a second, but in that fraction, she saw a calmness pass over his face, an acceptance of the inevitable, and… something else? Relief, perhaps? Did he… did he WANT to die?

"NO!" Elwyn screamed out, her breath finally found within her aching lungs, body lurching forward unresponsively, half-crawling across the muddy, bloody ground. "XION!" Reaching the edge of the cliff, she barely stopped herself from plunging off of the edge with him, hand extending over nothingness while Xion's figure slammed into the rocks of the cliff once, twice, and then, with a barely audible splash, disappeared in the raging current of the Chune River below.

Her world shattered, Elwyn's mind reeled, trying to accept and comprehend what was happening. Where was she? Who was she? What… what was going on…? But, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something she DID fully understand… Pios.

Reaching to her back, Elwyn pulled free a razor-sharp arrow made deep within the Forest of Spirits to the south, raising her keen, yew longbow and knocking the arrow in one smooth motion. Pain exploded in her shoulder as she vaguely recalled taking a wound near her collarbone only minutes earlier, but she easily ignored it, her prey in sight and in range.

Pios's hands curled around Xion's finger, picking it up, ring and all, and holding it under the light of the sun.

"Hah. Finally, I have procured the means to my ascension. I thank you, Elwyn; if not for your blatant disregard for the danger of the rings and my constant warnings, I would never have been able to lure Xion here." The second Twin Dragon ring shone brightly on Pios's right ring finger, twisting his mind into a berserker-like state that only the truly pure of heart could ever hope to fend off. As his gaze lifted to encompass his defeated elven foe, his eyes widened, and he began to raise his arms in surprise…

But it was too late. Elwyn loosed her arrow without a second of hesitation, the sleek shaft sailing through the air with the greatest of speed, accuracy reduced only slightly by Elwyn's terrible, gaping wound. Slamming into Pios's stomach, the arrow buried itself in bottom the former doctor's right lung, causing the twisted man to double over in shock and pain, staggering to his feet.

"U-ugh…" Eyes wide with fear and pain, Pios stumbled backwards, dazed, gripping the arrow with one hand, the other holding tight to Xion's finger and the other Twin Dragon ring. "H-how… you should be…" stammering with gritted teeth, Pios coughed up several spoonfuls of blood, losing his voice in the violent display.

Elwyn, consciousness nearly gone from loss of blood and loss of her most treasured ally, reached back to draw yet another arrow.

Pios, unable to physically react, stumbled away from the scene of the bloody battle, pushing his way through brush and trees, desperate to escape another attack from Elwyn's deadly bow. Had he had more time, more warning, he could have reacted, used the rings to stop her, but he had been lax, overconfident… and now, because of that, he might perish, after finally slicing off that fool boy's finger and obtaining the second ring… if only he could reach… it...

Loosing her final arrow, which flew aimlessly off into the forest, lodging in a nearby tree, Elwyn felt her consciousness wane, sinking to the ground in a pool of blood and misery, winged headband slipping from her head to stain red on the sticky ground, her final thoughts of Xion falling back over the cliff, and whether this entire thing was somehow… her fault… her fault. And, she thought oddly, now Xion could never wear a wedding ring on his ring finger… how unfortunate. For the girl he would have eventually married. How unfortunate… and then her mind entered infinite blackness.

End Chapter 1. Don't worry, nobody's dead yet. Please R I want to see how many people are actually interested in this before I bother to continue writing it. I do have a plan for it, though. If people are interested, I've got some good ideas.