Disclaimer: If I were to be involved with Konami on making Suikoden I would not be writing this and would probably have to be male and Japanese anyway.

Oh and this is one that I had started quite awhile ago and picked up again to finish it. I admit I hate Luc for the most part in the games considering his attitude is about as refined as a sewer rat, but if doing things with the rune bearers he is an interesting one to do. Much of my interpretation actually comes not from the games but from the manga for the third game which offers a bit more human view of Luc toward the end as well as a real motive beyond simply being crazy.

Witness to Tears

The cool breeze was pleasant from the roof of the fortress town in North Window. Gradually the lights in nearby windows went out as the ragtag army retired for the evening with only the torches of the night watch indicating that there was life once again in the dead town. Of course, it wasn't as though he belonged to any of it. Had he not been ordered by his master he wouldn't have a part in anything and instead of enjoying the night on a patch-job roof repair, he would undoubtedly be in the Magician's tower, most likely reading a book in the window until whatever ungodly hour his body finally protested.

But he was here and while it appeared that things were ending soon, it was not a guarantee. Luc knew he needed to accept the small pleasures at his disposal. It was with a sigh that he stood and returned down the old creaky stairs toward his station at the stone tablet.

Going down he couldn't avoid passing the room that had been converted for Riou. The weeping sounds could be heard through the slightly cracked wooden door along with Shu, Apple and a girl all attempting to comfort him. Hearing the leader in such a pitiful position caused him to pause and to listen.

"Say something Riou"

"Riou, you need to pull yourself together. We need your leadership in the next battle."

"...Nanami's dead because of this. I should have listened to her wanting to leave."

"It's understandable to grieve for your sister but the country is more important right now. We are on the verge of winning."

"So? Anybody could do this. I'm not that special. You're a better leader than me Shu."

"Riou, don't speak like that. Things will be okay eventually. We are all worried."

"Thank you Ellie, I mean that. It just hurts. I wanted to protect her..."

"I know..."

Why had Leknaat subjected him to this? It was too much like the last time only with a father and a servant rather than a sister and best friend. She had said that it was important for him to be involved to observe these conflicts. For some reason she seemed to find worth in pointless wars and the devastation it brought. Two conflicts had brought more than a lifetime's worth of torture in Luc's mind. And it was all because of the runes.

Unconsciously he clenched his right hand into a fist, cursing the rune he held there. All they seemed to bring was genocide either through their power or man attempting to harness a power that was above them. It lacked any purpose. He wished at times that he could just dispose of his rune and let everyone else see beyond mankind's petty wars and what the rune saw as an inevitable future. Would they continue to fight knowing that what lied ahead was an ashen wasteland devoid of life? Would they be so eager to have nightmares of the rune's past to keep them awake at night?

"No more..."

"Huh?"
"I'm tired of people dying. Is there even a point?"

The rune was what was causing that poor boy to suffer and cry in futility. The curse of the runes seemed to bring tragedy to their masters in some form or another. Never was it a matter of if but rather when. He knew well the suffering that was brought in those long years spent confined to the damp cell somewhere in the cellars of the temple in Harmonia.

Those first seven or eight years of his life were not ones he wished to relive with any cost. It consisted of endless days staring at walls and using magic as his only entertainment. The only human interaction consisted of his mealtimes in which someone would simply toss scraps of food at him before immediately turning away without a word. Nobody spoke to him and thus his speech consisted of what he had heard in dreams as the rune bestowed its past onto him. He had questioned the reasoning back then only to wish that by some miracle something would happen that would either give him his freedom, or his death.

In many ways Leknaat was his savior. But it didn't change his development into an antisocial person. Luc knew that things may have been different if he was given a proper upbringing with a normal family and without a rune. There had been many occasions where he dreamed up a normal life; one with a mother, father and perhaps a couple siblings, one who wasn't a puppet of Harmonia. Sometimes the illusion he created for himself was great enough to the point where he could swear he smelled home cooking or could feel himself kiss a girl on the cheek. Eventually he would be drawn back though to the life that was and with the sight of the bare stone walls of the tower, he could feel his heart harden a but more.

Despite being only seventeen years old, his heart was already too hardened to bring up those kind images anymore, his heart refusing to be hurt any further. While most thought of him as cruel, that coldness was the only way to truly cope with the days of solitude that separated the rare visitor to the tower.

"Get some sleep Riou. It's been a long day."

Hearing the boy crying in the next room, Luc could hardly help but to be grateful for his own distance from his fellow human beings. It seemed better, more efficient to try to avoid emotions as they tended to be mostly negative feelings. The sound alone and the pain that was so obvious from that boy as well as the last one tore at him enough to never wish the full brunt of it himself. It didn't matter how good someone was or what intentions they have for their fellow man... either living was a series of tragedies or the runes truly did relish in human destruction.

"Who's next? Will I have to go against Jowy and kill him too?"

"It is a possibility. Just remember you are doing this for the good of the people here."

"Shu! Don't worry Riou, we'll find some way to end this without hurting Jowy."

The worst part is the idea that this would not be the last time he would have to play a witness to this. Every time the 108 stars of destiny would form, he would be sent out and forced to witness a hapless rune bearer get torn apart in a war that was above them. It was hardly what his intention was in life.

If only there was a way to defy such a fate. Most wars revolved around the runes... there had to be a way to end that cycle. It would eliminate the need for wrecked villages and the grief of countless families. Good people wouldn't have to suffer while those with selfish intents sat on top of thrones making chess moves.

"I hope so. I really hate funerals."

Testing fate was a temptation, but he knew it was hardly a simple goal. Luc lacked even the simple knowledge of how much it could be done before facing the consequences. But if it ever did come to him it would be worth it to not have to hear some kid crying because their most important people were sacrificed as pawns to the runes.

"Nanami... I am so sorry. I'm so sorry..."

Taking care to keep his footsteps light to make his presence remain unknown, Luc hurried down a few levels and navigated his way down the torch-lit passageways toward the library. Typically he simply used the place as somewhere to hide being called out into battle or to avoid Futch and Sasuke. However, at the very least he needed to lose himself in a book of some kind. Perhaps there would be something amongst the dusty old book volumes on ways to counteract the runes. Even if there was a sacrifice, he could possibly end this useless cycle that had caught all of humanity.