Alaia Skyhawk: And here it is, the Final Chapter.

I don't own Tales of Symphonia so please don't sue me. I do however own Krishka, Dallinius (Dalli), Aluran, the Alurannai and any OCs, except Sanaro and Annule, who belong to Mr.Who2123, and Mika and Fiuras, who belong to WingedWithFireyMana, so please don't steal them...

Enjoy

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Chapter 93: Hardest Thing to Do

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The hand picked up the piece of paper, storm grey eyes read the writing up on it, and then the hand pushed it away. Another report of failure, another place where the children hadn't been. Seven months, seven months and the Great Seed still sang, telling them that at least one of the children was alive. The length of time was becoming a problem now. There was very little chance that if the children were found, at the most likely, by passing travellers, that they would stay in one place. For all they knew Lloyd and Alysii could have been moved hundreds of miles from where they had initially ended up, and that meant that even when an area had been combed to the last leaf, they would have to do it again and again as long as the children were missing.

Yuan put his head in his hands, the shadows under his eyes only emphasising the pain of loss that clouded them.

So much hope and happiness in those five years. The laughter of children, their smiles, and beneath it all the knowledge that one of them would allow us to end this letting all people everywhere finally know true peace... but now...

He closed his eyes, clenching his fingers in his turquoise hair.

Now we have only the pain of not knowing where they are, the pain of a parent... an uncle... not knowing where their beloved children are... and beneath it the knowledge that if we don't find them then we may well miss this all important chance to end this nightmare... which only seems to be getting worse...

He remained like that, still and silent, as he had spent many of his days over the past seven months. It was almost like Martel all over again, but this time it was also like losing the child they'd never had the chance to have. Kratos had named Lloyd what he and Martel had planned to name a son, giving Yuan the gift of an adopted family. A little boy who may not have been related to him by blood, but was his nephew all the same.

The transmitter on his desk started bleeping, Yuan remaining immobile for several seconds before he moved a hand and pressed the button to accept the transmission.

"...What is it?"

There was a faint touch of static on the line, consistent with wind blowing over the microphone. Whoever it was, they were outdoors.

"Uncle, it's Patch... Are you sitting down?"

Yuan took a deep breath, biting back a sigh of depression as he answered.

"...Yes..."

He had been able to hear the smile in his nephew's voice, but shadowed as he was he'd had the impulsive wish to slap the smile off the man's face if he'd been in range. The next few words banished that wish.

"Uncle... I've just found Lloyd..."

Yuan felt like his heart had stopped, lifting his head he spun to face the transmitter.

"What!? Where?!"

He hunched over the device, every nerve in his body attuned to hearing the next few words.

"He's at the home of the dwarf living in the Iselia Forest, Dirk Irving. Today is the first time I've been there in a year, so I missed him on all my prior trips out to look for him. I just wish I'd thought to go there in the beginning. I managed to get confirmation of the boy's name out of Dirk. That along with him being the right age and having a strong resemblance to Kratos makes me certain it's him." Patch waited for a moment, and then continued. "I'll end transmission. I know you'll want to pass this on to his parents."

There was a crackle and the line went dead, Yuan remaining staring at the device for several seconds before he lurched from his chair and raced out of the door. Sprinting down the corridors with an expression of relief and joy on his face, the Renegades he passed hastily stepped out of his way, only taking in that expression after he'd passed. By the time he'd made it out of the base entrance the people inside were all debating which of the children, or if both, had been found.

Cursing that he could barely fly here in Sylvarant, Yuan still used his wings to make great gliding leaps from the tops the sand dunes to land partway up the side of the next, all the while his heart continued to pound at he raced towards the North Triet Sentinel. He had his Watcher's Whistle out before he'd even fully reached it, blasting on it repeatedly until he saw the resident jiisumura come flying towards him.

"Take me to Nae Shiu! We've found Lloyd!"

The jiisumura was by him in an instant, hauling him off the ground and flying in a blur of wings to the nearby Sentinel. The jiisumura didn't even put him down when they came out near Nae Shiu, instead continuing to carry him all the way to the door of the Nartana's apartments.

Yuan didn't knock, he just burst in through the front door and into the living room to find Kratos and Vayla both there. Where Anna and Rennan were he didn't know.

Kratos saw the look on his face, hope dawning in his and Vayla's eyes as they both stood up.

"Yuan?"

Shuddering with emotion, Yuan managed to get the words out without stumbling over them.

"Patch has found Lloyd. He's at the house of the dwarf living in the Iselia Forest." He dropped to his knees as the shuddering made them buckle. "He mentioned nothing about Alysii though."

Kratos started for the door, Vayla grabbing his sleeve to make him pause.

"I'm coming anyway." She glanced at Yuan. "Anna and Rennan are at the Library. She decided to try and take her mind of things by continuing her studies, Rennan is helping her. Tell them we should be back in a few hours at the most, and that they should wait. Two strangers showing up at his door would be startling enough for that dwarf as it is."

They were out of the house and at the Sentinel in less than a minute, hands slamming onto the great trunk as they asked it to send them to the Sentinel near Iselia, normally a no go with the highly watched Temple of Martel being so close to the village. Coming out in the trees at the edge of the Iselia Forest, twilight replacing the early hour's darkness of Nae Shiu, they banished wings and sarren and continued on foot. They'd both seen enough reports on the village and the areas nearby to know where the house they were heading to was.

They arrived just after the sun had set, noting the set of tracks near the log bridge that were likely those of Yuan's nephew. They stopped running, instead slowly walking up to the house's front door, the lamp light within showing around the edges and through the tiny window beside it.

Kratos, upon reaching it, hesitated a moment before finding the courage to knock. He knew Lloyd was here. So close to him now that he could actually sense him. Vayla, a hand on his shoulder, could feel him trembling as she whispered.

"We've found him... Thank the Spirits we've found him."

The door opened, the dwarf inside peering out at them suspiciously, clearly still on edge from being visited by a 'Desian'.

"What do you want? This is hardly the kind of hour you come to a craftsman to commission somethi..." His voice petered out, at his eyes adjusted to the dark and he could clearly see Kratos' face. "You look like..."

Kratos nodded.

"The boy you have living here... We learned from a friend less than half an hour ago that he'd got word of a boy matching my son's description being here."

The dwarf frowned, becoming even more tense.

"The only one who's seen the boy besides me is that Desian who was here about an hour ago... You could be in with that lot just trying to steal the kid for all Ah know."

Kratos gazed at him with level eyes, not breaking contact with the dwarf's even by blinking as he said the next few words.

"I am not with the Desians, and the man you met is a member of an organisation that opposes the Desians. An agent working within their ranks as a spy. It was the leader of that organisation that passed the word onto me."

The dwarf paused a moment and then opened the door fully, gesturing the two of them to come inside.

"You know a lot about dwarves, it seems. Not many people know a dwarf can tell if someone speaks the truth if they hold eye contact."

Kratos looked around the sparsely furnished room inside, eyes searching.

"Where's Lloyd?"

The dwarf closed the door behind Vayla, before walking over to the low table on the wood planked area of the room's floor.

"Lloyd is asleep upstairs. Ah put him to bed just after that... Desian... left. My name is Dirk Irving, care to give me yours?"

Kratos nodded, taking all his self control not to race up the stairs he could see at the back of the room. This man had looked after his son for seven months, he owned that courtesy.

"I am Kratos Aurion, Inartu of the Alurannai, and this is Vayla Targathyr, also of the Alurannai."

Vayla took a step forward, her eyes holding a spark of desperate hope.

"You.. didn't see any sign of any other children in the forest did you? When you found Lloyd?"

Vayla looked crushed by the next few words, as Dirk shook his head.

"Ah'm sorry lass, Ah didn't, or Ah'd have had them here as well. It was raining here that night, there's no way Ah'd have left a child out in that if Ah'd seen em."

Vayla took a shuddering breath, biting her lip before turning and heading out the door.

"I'll go back and tell everyone that it is Lloyd here... I'll see you later..."

The door closed with a sense of finality, Kratos glancing at it as Dirk's expression turned thoughtful.

"The Alurannai, huh? You lot are good at hiding, Ah'll give ya that." He glanced at the stairs. "So young Lloyd up there is a Nartu... It must have been hard for you and for your people to have him missing..."

Kratos brought a hand to his face.

"You've no idea. Ever since the... Desians attacked the village we were living in, Lloyd and also Vayla's daughter have been missing. They used a Tree Lord to escape the attack, but a twist of fate meant they could have ended up anywhere in the world. We've been searching for them ever since."

Dirk sighed, followed by a small chuckle.

"Well you've found one of them now. Ah have to say Ah'll miss him. He's been a wonderful little lad once he learned to trust me... Gave me three months of hell at first though." Dirk stepped aside, so that he was no longer between Kratos and the stairs. Tears forming in his eyes. "Go on up. Take him home where he belongs."

Kratos put a hand on Dirk's shoulder in acknowledgement.

"Thank you..."

He took a single step, but froze as Dallinius suddenly appeared standing on the air just below eye level.

"I-I'm sorry, Kratos, but Krishka has decided that Lloyd should stay here..." Kratos stared at him in shock, disbelief ever so slowly sinking in. "With the chance of the new Tree being born so soon from now..." The spirit glanced at Dirk. "He wants Lloyd to grow up among other Races, at least until he gets his memories back on his own. Iselia is visited by people of many Races and cultures, and since Lloyd will lead the Alurannai one day, Krishka wants him to learn how to interact with those people through actual experience." The next part was added telepathically so that Dirk wouldn't hear. This is too important an opportunity to lose, Kratos. Lloyd will literally grow up alongside the Chosen of Mana, and if he turns out to be the Chosen of Restoration then that could mean a big difference in our chances of success... I'm sorry...

Kratos clenched his fists, his eyes going dark with fury.

"If you think I'm going to walk away from him!!! Never! He's my son!!"

Dirk hastily backed away as Kratos was suddenly immobilised by bands of azure magic, trying to thrash his way free even as he was forced into complete stillness and a disembodied voice filled the air. The dwarf knew more was going on here that meets the eye, but if the Summon Spirit of Life was involved he wasn't going to ask questions.

'I'll force this if I have to, Kratos, but I'd rather not have to drag you away from there magically... What will it be, Kratos? Will you heed my will, or wilt you defy it? ./

Locked in the embrace of the power of the Summon Spirit of Life, tears began falling from Kratos' eyes as he accepted he had no choice but to obey. Krishka was the embodiment of his ancestor's souls, and he was just as tied to him as those past lives were.

Voice trembling, he spoke.

"Can I at least see him once... before I go?"

'Very well...Dallinius... Sleep spell the boy. We cannot let him see Kratos. His memories must remain locked away until they come back on their own...'

The little spirit nodded, tears falling from his own eyes as he felt Kratos' pain through their pact.

"It will be as you command."

He vanished, but there was no doubt that he would have reappeared upstairs. A few seconds later the bands of power immobilising Kratos vanished, and he slowly made his way up the stairs as Dirk remained where he was below.

Kratos rounded the railing at the top, turning to the right to see a small mound beneath the blankets of the bed in the night darkened room. Dallinius was perched on pillow near the boy's head, ensuring Lloyd would not awaken while his father was present. He walked to the bed, kneeling down beside it as he ran fingers through his sleeping son's hair, eyes taking in the peaceful expression on that tiny face.

"I'll be waiting for you Lloyd, until the day you can see me again..."

The tears still flowing down his cheeks, he got up as Dallinius whimpered.

"Kratos... I'm so sorry..."

The Inartu didn't say a word, didn't say a thing until he was downstairs again and standing by the open door.

"Dirk, I thank you for looking after my son, and I'll arrange support financially if you wish. As soon as I've sorted things out among my people I'll see to it that the things you need to know are explained to you... Farewell..."

Kratos walked out the door, Dirk coming to the opening to watch him go. Watch as this father did that which was the hardest thing to do... Walk away from his son... into the night...

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Alaia Skyhawk: (Crying) That's even worse than the 'thinks son is dead' plot from the game. In this he knew his son was there and had to walk away...(sniffles) For the Continuation I'll now start updating Path of Restoration... Now excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out some more (Cries)