Wayward Son

old man

1: Anger

The rat stared up imploringly at Renault, eagerly awaiting the treat he always seemed to bring with him on his many trips to the town jail. The first time the big man passed through the rusted metal gates the rodent saw as the entrance to its home, it had fled in terror, like any rat, but Renault had eventually won its friendship over the course of his many stays in this dingy cell. He'd lost count of how many times he'd been thrown in here over the years, and after consistently leaving behind a few scraps of food he always managed to find somewhere on his person, Renault had won the tiny beast's trust. He did not get along particularly well with the people in his life, so he hardly minded making a friend among the animals.

Renault looked down at his little companion and smiled in amusement. His large, dust-covered hands dug through the pockets of his workman's pants to find the remnants of the lunch he'd had today; a few scraps of crust which had come from the foccacia bread his mother had baked for him. Tossing them to his cellmate, he watched contentedly as the creature voraciously nibbled at its meal. After the rat had finished and scurried off into whatever hole it came from, Renault sat down on his dirty cot and ran a hand through his teal hair. He winced in pain as he felt the large bump on the top of his skull; a parting gift from the idiot he had most recently roughed up. "Dammit!" he swore, "That stupid ass just had to get the last hit in, didn't he…"

"I'd watch that mouth if I were you, son," a husky voice said, accompanied by the grating screech of the door which led to the prison's interior. "If you think about it, it's what got you locked up in the first place, this time."

"Jerid!" Renault groaned, recognizing the familiar voice of the jailer. "I'm already stuck in this filthy hovel. I don't need your lecture to make it worse. Just stow it, will you?"

Renault's whining elicited nothing more than an exasperated chuckle from the older man. "Boy, let me tell you, it could be a lot worse. This prison's not fancy, but it's not supposed to be a blasted resort. The cell you're always in is probably one of the nicer ones I've got. Believe me, if you weren't a bishop's son, I'd have shut you in one of the basement rooms. Far as I'm concerned, you deserve it after this last tussle."

The wayward son spat angrily on the floor and glared at his tormentor. "That moron threw the first punch!" he grumbled.

"After what you said to him and his little sister? Can't say I blame him."

"Come on, you can't blame me either! I dropped my damn chisel right on my foot! Those things are heavier than they look! I got pissed off, and when a man gets pissed, he swears! It's God-damn natural!"

"I won't tell you again to watch that mouth, boy. Nobody takes the name of the Lord in vain when I'm around. But yeah, I guess it is natural to swear in that case. Of course, if you shout so blasted loudly, right in public on a busy road, in front of a little girl who was just out for a walk with her brother, I think it's just as natural for the man to tell you to shut up."

Renault said nothing. He simply sat and steamed.

"And, of course," Jerid continued, "if you just yell at him, and I quote, 'Your dumbass sister can burn in hell for all I care!' well, I'd have to say you deserve that bump on the head he gave you."

"You know, Jerid," Renault grumbled, "If you love making people feel guilty so much, why the fu—dammit, I mean why in blazes didn't you join the clergy?"

Jerid simply laughed. "This town needs a jailer, but it sure doesn't need another bishop. Your mother's already doing everything your father did, and more! Elimine's grace, I think her sermons are popular even outside of Thagaste!"

"Yeah, well, I bet they'd be. Those stupid country bumpkins just eat up anything that comes out of big cities like this one!"

Jerid stared at Renault incredulously. "Renault, that has to be the worst thing I've heard you say today."

"What? You have to admit that outside of places like Thagaste and Aquleia, an Etrurian peasant isn't that much smarter than the average Lycian or even a stupid Ilian!"

The gaoler shook his head. "You may be right there, though I wouldn't put it as harshly. I wasn't talking about that, though. It's the way you speak of your mother and the work she does. How can you think so little of a woman so devoted to God, especially when she's the one that birthed you?"

"Hmph," Renault snorted, "I think a woman who loves her family is better than someone praying to some invisible man in the sky all the time."

"Come on, Renault, now you're just being silly. I can't think of anybody who loves her only child as much as Monica does. Have you ever wanted for anything? Your mother takes care of you well, even though you should have gotten yourself out of her house by now. How old are you, twenty-three? And you're still better at getting yourself into fights than you are at stoneworking! If your mother still comes to bail you out of here time after time, I'm surprised the Council of the Supreme Church hasn't nominated her for sainthood!"

Renault gritted his teeth, but failed to come up with any kind of retort. In truth, Jerid's words hit him harder than any ruffian's punches ever did.

"You see what I'm saying, Renault?" the jailer continued, "your mother really deserves a lot more respect than what you've given her."

"You don't understand!" Renault burst out, jumping to his feet. "You can't understand what it's like living with that woman! You don't have to deal with her day in and day out!"

Jerid looked at him strangely. "Being pampered by a wealthy clergywoman every day doesn't sound so bad to me."

Sighing in exasperation, Renault held up his hands. "Just drop it, alright? I don't want to talk about this!"

Looking at the expression on the young man's face, Jerid saw that his message had gotten through. Shrugging his shoulders and settling in on his shabby chair, he let the conversation go with a simple "Suit yourself."

The two men sat in silence for over an hour, with Renault staring dejectedly at the dirty ceiling of his cell, and Jerid snoring loudly as he drifted off into sleep. He was hardly worried about his prisoner escaping, after all—the delinquent knew from hard experience it was more trouble than it was worth.

The jailer's nap was brought to an end by the loud creak of the jail's door opening, followed by the visitor's attempt to close it softly. Renault immediately jumped up and ran to the bars of his cell. "Hey," he cried, "Is it my mom?"

"Yes," answered a stern, angry voice, "It is."

Renault groaned inwardly when he saw the stony expression on his mother's face as soon as she entered the room. It temporarily softened into a smile as the jailer greeted her, however. "Your Excellency!" Jerid exclaimed, bowing deeply. "It's an honor to see you again, Bishop Monica." He looked over the woman, then blushed profusely as he realized she was still clad in the pure-white vestments of high-ranking Eliminean clergy, miter and all. "Your Excellency, did you just return from evening prayers?"

"Yes," she replied tolerantly, "I did." She looked over at Renault, staring at her imploringly behind the bars of his cell. "I looked for you in the crowd of parishioners, Jerid, but couldn't find you. Did you have to spend all day looking after my son?"

Jerid glanced sheepishly at his prisoner. "Er…yes, ma'am."

Sighing heavily, Monica brought a hand up to massage her temple. "I'm so sorry, Jerid. I hope he hasn't been too much trouble?"

"No more than usual, ma'am."

"Well, that's a relief, at least. How much is his bail this time?"

"Hmm…well, at least he didn't hurt anybody too badly, just gave the fellow a couple of bruises…heck, judging by the bump on his head, I'd say Renault came off the worse today." Jerid held up his hand and counted his fingers. "I think 500 gold's enough to let him out, unless you'd rather keep him in here for another day instead of paying."

"No," Monica sighed, "Tomorrow's Saturday, and Renault's master will probably be furious if his apprentice misses another day of work. I'm just glad Renault's shift was almost over by the time he got into this latest scrap." She unlimbered a small satchel from her waist and fumbled inside until she had produced five large, shiny gold coins emblazoned with the likeness of Tages, a legendary king who supposedly created Etruria's first laws, not long after Saint Elimine ascended to heaven. "Here you go, Jerid," she said, handing them over to the jailer. "Oh, and take these, as well," she grinned as she handed him a few smaller coins.

"Ah, Your Excellency, I, I can't really accept this…"

"Please, Jerid. Take it as a small recompense for all the trouble my son's caused you these past few years."

"Well, alright," Jerid chuckled as he took a rusty key from his belt and unlocked the door to Renault's cell. He eagerly rushed out of his confinement, glad to be a free man once again. "Now, Renault," Jerid said sternly before the hooligan had a chance to get away, "You see what a good woman your mother is? I expect you to treat her better from now on, y'hear?"

"Thank you, Jerid!" Monica smiled. Turning to her son, that smile transformed into an angry scowl. "Let's go, Renault."

The bishop's son followed his mother none too eagerly into the cheerful daylight outside the grimy confines of the prison. As he stared at the hard expression on Monica's face, Renault found himself wishing he was still inside his cell.

The bishop and her son made the long trek home in silence, as she glowered incessantly at him, and as he attempted to distract himself by absentmindedly gazing at the scenery. There was indeed much to look at—on any other day, Monica would excitedly point out anything and everything she saw of interest in the neverending panoply of sights and sounds the second-largest city in Etruria had to offer. Renault, while not as vocal as his mother, also took pleasure from basking in Thagaste's urban glory, although he despised the human element of it—he tried his best to ignore the constant hubbub of the crowds and the jostling maelstrom of human bodies unavoidable in a city as large as this. Renault much preferred the inanimate aspects of the metropolis. On better days, he adored gazing at the seas of vibrant purple that constituted Thagaste's famed vineyards and the glittering slivery-green of its many fields of olive trees. The buildings themselves were also a feast for his eyes. He loved the opulent, stately elegance of the great homes of the patricians, the towering walls and graceful spires that rose from the castle at the center of the city, and especially the magnificent facades of the grand cathedrals. Renault spent as much time admiring them as he did maintaining them; the lovingly crafted gargoyles that leered down at passers-by with their horrid faces, the gargantuan flying buttresses which supported the awesome edifice, and the wonderful stained-glass mirrors, possessed of their surreal, light-borne beauty, were a constant source of joy for the young man. Despite the utter disdain with which he regarded Eliminism, he could at least credit the faith for nurturing the greatest architectural style on the face of Elibe.

Renault's sullen pout receded into a gentle smile as he quietly regarded the city around him. He and his mother were passing by a particularly ostentatious cathedral, and Renault began to forget about his problems and the miseries of the day as he lost himself examining the building. His mother, however was more than determined to see her son learn a lesson today. Stamping her foot on the ground in anger, she broke her son's happy reverie. "Well, Renault?" she demanded. "What have you got to say for yourself?"

Renault sighed miserably. "I'm sorry! There's nothing more I can say! That guy threw the first punch!"

"After you swore at him!" Monica retorted angrily as they continued to walk. "The guardsmen who locked you up themselves told me all about it after Friday prayers. Renault, didn't I raise you better than to use language like that? What did Saint Elimine have to say on the matter?"

The bishop's son groaned inwardly. "Umm, I know this one," he stammered, badly attempting to feign some knowledge of any of the religion his mother had tried fruitlessly to instill within him.

"You should!" said his mother, looking at him expectantly.

"Umm…it, um, escapes me at the moment." Renault said, giving up.

Sighing in both irritation and dismay, Monica recited the relevant verse. "People are not made unclean by what passes into their mouth; but rather, what comes out."

"Hmph!" Renault grumbled, "Even if that's the case, it's still no reason for a guy to throw a punch at me."

"Even so, is that any excuse for you to bring yourself down to his level? Elimine did recommend turning the other cheek, after all."

Renault rolled his eyes. "Did Elimine have some sort of recommendation for every situation, mom?"

Monica's frown deepened as she admonished her son. "Nearly every situation," she said. "You'd be a lot better off if you lived life according to her teachings."

"Well, the guy I got into a fight with could probably have used the advice more than me. He beat me up worse than I beat him up!"

"Did he?" Monica's displeasure with him receded for a moment in the face of motherly concern. "Let me take a look."

Renault bowed his head obediently, showing the nasty bump on its top to his mother. "That does look painful!" she exclaimed. "Poor thing, when we get home, I'll give you a vulnerary for the pain." She tenderly stroked the swollen area and kissed it, an act which greatly pleased the recipient. Renault despised being lectured by his mother, but he certainly didn't mind being babied.

"Now, Renault," she said sternly, looking straight into his eyes, "You do know you deserved that bump. When we get home, I expect you to properly make amends."

Renault shrugged dismissively. "Yeah, sure, whatever."

Mother and son continued on in silence. It was dusk when Renault stepped out of the prison doors, and by the time they reached the entrance to their lavish (but far from showy) abode, night had almost fallen entirely upon the second-largest city in Etruria.

"Hey mom, I'm hungry!" Renault whined as he sat himself down at the head of his mother's large dining table. The pair had just got home—Monica did not even have time to change out of her clerical vestments—when her son began demanding food.

"Renault!" she exclaimed, quite annoyed. "Let me change, for heaven's sake!"

"My head hurts, too!" he cried after her as she ascended the stairs to her room.

"I'll get you a vulnerary for it, just wait!" came the reply.

Fidgeting in discomfort, Renault smiled eagerly when his mother, now clad in a loose, flowing blouse and skirt, walked down to him with a vulnerary in hand. Inspecting the bump on his head and parting the hair around it with one hand, she dabbed a smidge of the sticky, smelly contents of the vulnerary on the area with a finger of the other hand. Immediately, Renault felt the ache start to dissipate. "That ought to do it!" Monica smiled. "There's no need for you to actually drink the stuff; for such a small bump, it'll heal on contact."

"Yeah," Renault said. "It doesn't hurt at all, now! I'm still hungry, though."

"I'll get you something, don't worry." said Monica with a stern expression on your face. "Before I even start making dinner, though, I expect you to do something first."

"Huh? What do you mean?" Renault asked in confusion.

"Renault, don't you remember what I said about making amends?"

"Um…yeah, I do. And?"

"Renault, how can you not remember this? The Rite of Contrition! It's not enough to apologize to me, you've got to apologize to God as well!"

Rolling his eyes (an act his mother fortuitously either did not notice or chose to ignore), Renault folded his hands in front of him. "Right, right, I remember this," he mumbled. "Okay, here I go…um…God, my Lord, who watches over Heaven and Earth, today I have sinned, and tonight I repent…uh, was that right?"

Monica nodded impatiently, and motioned for him to continue.

"Okay, I've got this…I have…uh, transgressed against my fellow man, and I, um…shit, what was next…"

"Renault, surely you must remember this simple prayer!" Monica said reproachfully. "And swear once more and I'll wash your mouth out with soap!"

"Sorry!" Growing annoyed, the bishop's son gave it another try. "God, my Lord, today I have sinned, and tonight I repent. I have transgressed against my fellow man, and…um…I'm sorry." Renault looked up and smiled. "There, that's it. I'm done!"

"Renault, how could you?" Monica fumed. "That's one of Elimine's most important prayers! You…you can't just spout off a slipshod mockery of it like that! It's an insult to God!"

"Look, I said I was sorry!" Now beginning to get angry, Renault took a deep breath in a futile attempt to calm himself. "I don't remember the stupid prayer, okay? I said I was sorry, I spent time in jail, and that's good enough!"

"How can you say that?" his mother cried, now growing angry herself. "It isn't good enough to simply accept punishment! You have to understand that what you did was wrong, and you have to accept the forgiveness of God! Temporal chastisement is important, but nothing is more important than the mercy of our Creator!"

"If God's so merciful, why doesn't he just forgive me instead of making me say some dumb lines from a book?"

"What are you thinking? The Rite of Contrition isn't much to ask at all! It takes up just half a page of the Common Book of Prayer! The same one you've been reading every night before bed!"

Renault pressed his lips tightly together and glowered at his mother.

"You…have been reading it, haven't you?"

"NO!" Renault slammed a fist down on the table, his knuckles white with rage. "I haven't read a single page of it! I don't want to read a single damn word from it! I don't know anything about prayers, I don't know anything about forgiveness, and I don't care!"

Monica's eyes flashed in anger, and her voice rose sharply and harshly. "How dare you say such things?" she demanded. "What's wrong with you? This isn't how I raised you! Do you want to remain in darkness forever? Do you want to cut yourself off from God?"

Renault's lips curled into a bitter sneer. "Yeah, I do. After all, it beats what happened to Dad, doesn't it?"

"Renault!" his mother cried, and drew back as if struck. The bishop's son knew he had gone too far, but was too angry to stop.

"Yeah, God sure is merciful, isn't he?" Renault spat. "Visiting death on one of His most pious servants? Real merciful. You'd think He'd have a bit more to spare for one of His own bishops, wouldn't He? Remember just before he died, when Dad collapsed in front of his entire congregation during Mass? Remember how you had to spend hours cleaning up the blood he vomited? Remember how I prayed, day and night, for him to get better?"

"E…Enough!" His mother cried, her eyes growing wet with tears. "That's enough!"

"Well, it didn't make a bit of difference, did it?" Renault shouted. His voice grew low and guttural, and his face twisted into a bestial grimace of hate. "All those hours spent by his bedside, asking for God's mercy, didn't do a single thing! Is that God's forgiveness? Is that how He answers his petitioners? By taking my father away from me?"

Trembling with rage, his mother shouted, "Do you have any idea how hard this has been for me, Renault? I lost my husband! I had to take up his responsibilities as bishop, with no-one at all to help me! You used to be such a good boy, and what have you done for me since your father died? Get in fights and cause trouble around town! God has been the only one keeping me together for the past ten years! He's my only friend!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Renault shouted. "I've been training as a stoneworker for years now! Soon enough, I'll be a full fledged architect! But no, I'm not training to be a bishop, so I'm worthless, aren't I? Just because I won't stoop down before the same God who took my father away from me, nothing I do is good enough, is it?"

"You know that's not true!" His mother sobbed.

"You do nothing but nag at me and complain about me!" her son continued. "You forever criticize my work restoring your stupid church, even though you don't know the first thing about masonry! You never stop needling me about those damn prayers! It's always about God! You don't care about me at all!"

"THAT'S NOT TRUE!" Monica screamed in despair.

Blinded with fury, Renault paid no heed to her words. Memories thrashed and burned within his head, painful memories of the father he'd never see again. Memories of the strong shoulders upon which he rode as a child. Memories of the warm smile in a masculine, chiseled face. These images played themselves in front of Renault's eyes, reminding him that they had been nothing but memories for ten years, and would never be anything but memories, all because of a deity who didn't care.

"No," he growled, "Even though God took Dad away from me, you never stop talking about Him. You blind your parishioners, in the city and outside of it, with those stupid lies. You do nothing but encourage people to put their faith in a God who hasn't been there for seven hundred years, who'll NEVER be there when they need them. You're a damned fool, Mom!"

Monica could take no more of her son's abuse. Almost bursting with anger, she strode up to Renault and slapped him as hard as she could across the face.

The dining room fell entirely silent, almost as if the walls themselves were hushed by the bishop's outburst. For a long moment, the only movement was a single drop of blood trickling down the young man's face, drawn by one of his mother's long nails.

The first thing that broke the silence was Renault's right hand, clenching into a hard fist. His eyes glowed like coals in his hate-filled face, and with a cruel grimace, he brought that fist crashing straight into the bridge of his mother's nose.

Monica was by no means a large woman. She barely came up to her son's chest, and her body was slight and soft—her son had taken his father's muscular physique. She crumpled under Renault's blow, and her teal hair flew out around her—the only attribute she had passed on to her attacker. Collapsing to the floor, she could only stare with wide, stricken eyes into her son's red, narrow ones—the wide and open eyes of his parents had been lost upon Renault. The man took a step forward, and his beaten mother could do nothing but raise up an arm before her face in a pitiful attempt at defense.

The pathetic sight stirred something within Renault's furious heart, and his terrible mask of hatred receded into a pained, twitching morass of regret. Looking incredulously at what he had just done, he could offer nothing even resembling an apology to the broken woman lying before him. He simply turned, left the house, and slammed the door viciously behind him. The tortured, agonized weeping of his mother was left far behind him as he wandered, aimlessly, into the depths of Thagaste's torchlit night.

:Linear Notes:

First off, the legal stuff. I am merely a Fire Emblem fanboy-I do not own Fire Emblem 7 or its related properties. This game is copyrighted to Intelligent Systems and Nintendo.

Now, my dear reader, I thank you, with the utmost sincerity, for reading this far. There are many excellent authors writing equally excellent fics on this website, most of which are far better than my work. I truly appreciate you taking the time to read what I've written. I can't say I hope you've enjoyed it-I will warn you now that this story is unremittingly grim, and may sadden or anger you much more than cheer you up. It is something I felt must be written, however, and thus, I hope you found something in it you empathized with or appreciated, or something that made you think in a different way. I must add, however, that this work may be very disturbing for some people. Believe me when I say that Renault's abuse of his mother is probably one of the less ghastly episodes I will portray during the course of this fic. Renault, and the characters he meets and associates with, will commit many reprehensible transgressions as the story continues. In accordance with FFn's rules, I have not included any sexual or violent content that would exceed an 'M" rating, but quite frankly, the themes this fic explores, and the actions and attitudes of the characters populating it, may be offensive in ways no rating system could properly convey. Thus, my dear reader, I beseech you, if that sort of thing is far too offensive for you, do not continue reading.

Now, I must apologize, because my author's notes-or 'linear notes,' as I call them, a throwback to my earlier days-will probably end up being extremely long and rambling. I have written them to clear up any questions people may have about possible canon conflicts and that sort of thing, along with providing some background information on each chapter, so you are by no means required to read them. I can only hope they don't end up being longer than the fic itself ;;;

This story is the first installment of a greater whole which I believe will turn out to be my "magnum opus" in the FE section of FFn. "Wayward Son" is the first work in my over-arching "Paths Through Purgatory" series. It is a collection of multi-chapter fics I plan to write that are united by shared themes and plot points The stories themselves are mostly unconnected-I plan to write several Fire Emblem 4 works, for instance. This piece of fanfiction is the first, not because it is any more or less significant than the other stories I plan to include in this collection, but because I just wanted to tell Renault's story as soon as possible, due to its importance to me. Renault is one of FE7's most neglected and maligned characters, due to the fact he comes so late in the game with such poor stats. As a character, however, he is easily my favorite of any game I have played, and his backstory, judging by his supports, is fascinating. Thus, I now embark on a grand venture-I wish to write a convincing account of the burdened bishop's entire life, filling in some of the plot holes I saw, and shedding light on his mysterious history. However, I must immediately make note of the fact that I am far from the only author who has written about Renault-many others, far better than I, have also shared great fics about him on FFn. To name just a few (remove the spaces in all links):

http/ www. fanfiction s/2857254/1/ - Conversations with Renault, by Writer Awakened

http/ www. fanfiction s/2846227/1/ - Haunted, by SamtheBranded

http/ www. fanfiction s/2025882/1/ - Atonement, by TetraSeleno

http/ www. fanfiction s/2010552/1/ - On the Tip, by Vyctori

http/ www. fanfiction s/1861661/1/ - The Widening Gyre, by Griffinkhan

As proud as I am of my own work, these other authors have written truly excellent Renault fics (or poems, in SamtheBranded's case) you should read. I highly recommend them, check 'em out!

Now, to address some possible canon complaints. First off, as you have noticed, I have portrayed the Eliminean church as allowing its clergymembers to marry. Some of you may be puzzled by this, since IRL, the Catholic Church enforces celibacy for the priesthood, and in the game, Serra mentions something about "vows of chastity" in one of her supports. I do not think they are binding for all members of the Eliminean clergy, however. First off, Serra does have 'together' endings, with Matthew, Erk, and Oswin, I believe. Indeed, some say that she is the mother of Wendy from Fire Emblem 6 by Oswin. Also, Eliwood's mother is a Bishop, as you can tell by her green map sprite on the very first stage of his campaign. Thus, I have concluded that the Eliminean church allows its priests and priestesses to marry and have children.

Secondly, as Renault's supports illustrate, he is very, very old. How old? Well, in this fic, he makes the statement, "a God who hasn't been there for seven hundred years" which alludes to the period this story takes place in as being 700 years after Elimine began preaching her religion...i.e around 700 years after the Scouring ended. For reference, Fire Emblem 7 takes place 980 years after the Scouring, and FE6 takes place exactly 1000 years after the scouring. Continue reading, my friends, and we will discover how, exactly, Renault met up with Nergal and gained his longevity. ;)

Thirdly, I'd just like to point out I've included a few references you may have noticed in this fic. Renault's angry declaration, "I don't know anything about prayers, I don't know anything about forgiveness, and I don't care!" echoes his statements to Isadora, "I knew nothing of prayers, or forgiveness..." and the line "his eyes glowed like coals set in his hate-filled face" alludes to his B support with Lucius. Now, there are several other references I've snuck in there, to Christian history (specifically the life of St. Augustine) and, on a lighter note, Zeta Gundam. I'll let you try and figure these out, although I'll explain them all at the end of this arc ;)

Finally, I must thank the esteemed Firelizard98 for his translation of Fire Emblem 6, the game our beloved Blazing Sword is a prequel to. I have looked over his script and support translations to ensure that this story hews to the canon of both FE6 and FE7. His translations are truly top-notch, you can check them out at GameFAQs. Here they are:

http/ db. gamefaqs portable/ - FE6 script translation

http/ db. gamefaqs portable/ - FE6 support translation

Put underscores between each word of "fire emblem 6 trans" and "fire emblem 6 support conv trans" to reach them, since FFn apparently hates underscores :(

If you'd like to gain a better understanding of Elibe and the future of Eliwood and friends, I highly recommend Firelizard's work!

Again, thank you so much for reading, and thanks for bearing with me all this way! A writer is nothing without readers, after all, so if you've been patient enough to take a look at my work, I am truly grateful to you.

EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT: After Pureauthor and Keaira19's reviews, and after looking over the scripts of both FE7 and 6, I decided that Renault's use of profanity was indeed excessive for the time period, especially since this story takes place about 300 years before FE6. Thus, I replaced all instances of "the f-bomb" with 'damn' or 'god-damn.' I think the story works a lot better now, especially since the next chapter (which I'm working on at my own pace, don't worry ;) ) will deal heavily with the Eliminean concept of the afterlife and damnation. Perceptive readers will notice that Monica didn't mention anything about where her husband went after he died…that's an issue I was saving for a lot of exposition in the next chapter. I think you'll like it ;)