Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:

Unbidden, Not Unwanted

Lyon's quill pen scratches across the paper, a line of black bleeding into the parchment. We have already discovered that the residual energies can greatly enhance magic power. Only a few weeks ago, with the power of Grado's Sacred Stone, we revived a girl burned nearly to death in a fire.

The prince of Grado lifts his quill to the ink bottle, then pauses. He remembers telling Eirika about the event. Her beautiful face was so filled with amazed disbelief, but also a trust unasked for yet given so freely and completely. He has to admit to himself that the story still seems so incredible he can hardly believe it.

The girl was falling over the brink into death, no magic should have been able to save her, to reverse her journey, for she had passed the point of no return. They had done the impossible! If they could do one impossible, then surely the impending collapse could be averted. It would just take a little more power.

Yes, more power, just a little more power . . .

The deep, a darkness pure in its totality, a pulsing like the single beat of a heart echoes out—


Lyon jumps, surprised by the voice of his Dark Magics advisor, Knoll. "I was just completing a journal entry. Maybe by writing it down, I'll think of something new, something we haven't tried."

The elder man nods in understanding, letting a second of silence stretch before politely venturing, "My liege, it is possible that the court magicians of Renais could provide some assistance . . ."

Like the toll of the castle clock, his father's rejection rings loud and clear in his ears. Before he realizes it, he is reciting his father's words. "No, Renais will not help us. We will have to save ourselves."

Knoll bows but does not leave. "My liege, I am sure that if we send a message . . . King Fado has long been our faithful ally, they may even send Prince Ephraim or Princess Eirika to oversee the aid."

Now the heir to the imperial throne falters. I can't go to them for help, but to see Eirika again . . . Lyon pinches the bridge of his nose. He can't even admit it to himself, but he misses the sound of her voice, the way the sun shines on her blue hair . . . The prince sighs.

Only power can save your nation.

Softly, Lyon acknowledges the stark, suddenly clear words that spring unbidden into his mind. "Yes."


The prince's eyes look downcast once more. "Power . . . Power is the only way to save them."

Some people seemed to be born with power. Ephraim, his friend - he was always a powerful young man.

Power is the only way to best him.

Ephraim. A friend, yes, but always the better. Bold, confident, strong, a brilliant leader, someone who seemed to gain loyalty from those around him just by being there. A better soldier, a better prince, a better man. And always beside Eirika.

Lyon sighs. It always came to one of those two, either his inability to best his friend Ephraim, or . . . Eirika. To have a woman like that by his side . . .

The last time she visited, he remembered that they stood there in a garden waiting for Ephraim to return from Father MacGregor. They sat down together on a carved stone bench, and quite unintentionally they made eye contact. He felt lost in those great, cerulean orbs, felt like he was flying, and he would have gladly stayed there. She tilted her head in the most adorable expression of perplexity, but he didn't notice until she spoke, "Are you well, Prince Lyon?"

Oh, cruel world, where a minute with a hand on a hot stove felt like an hour, but an hour with a

"Forgive me, mi'lord, but you were waiting for Drayson's reports?"

Lyon's surprise is so great that his quill audibly scratches the parchment, almost tearing it. His face feels hot and he tries to swallow the lump in his throat. After a second try, his mage knight and standard-bearer Keith prods with more than just a little cheekiness in his tone, "Did I interrupt something important, my lord?"

Lyon's response is snapped more harshly than he intends, "A wise man watches where he treads."

The teen warrior bows deeply in apology, but his tone shows that he is continuing his habit of treading thin ice, "Now, my prince, is there anything wrong with being in love?"

Lyon's mouth drops so far open he's surprised he doesn't feel his chin hit the floor. I never bothered to question why my father placed him under my direct command. I wish I had.

Keith smiles again and straightens. "It's okay, mi'lord, I'll keep your secret." He sets down the stack of papers neatly threaded together and plants his hand on the corner of the study desk, leaning on it as he resumes. "It's not really such a terrible affliction, prince. I know I spend more than a few minutes of the day dreaming of a certain Pegasus Knight from Frelia."

Fortunately, his familiarity with his standard-bearer removes the tongue-lashing he would have given most other Gradoans, instead replacing it with sudden curiosity. "You were in love?"

Now it is Keith's turn to try unsuccessfully to hide his embarrassment, this time by ducking his head and letting his unruly, sandy-blonde hair hide his hazel eyes but not the tinge of red on his cheeks. He looks back up with a smile, more quickly recovered, before he answers, "I should say it still has a hold of me, mi'lord. I met her when I went there to train with them last year, and I still correspond with her." The smile fades to a slightly more serious expression and he mutters, "And separation does indeed make the heart grow fonder."

Now the prince's patience with the subject has grown thin, "And how do we cure this affliction so we can get on with our lives? I'm trying to unlock the Sacred Stone, I don't have time for all these unbidden thoughts!" He throws his pen beside the scroll and lets out a frustrated sigh before whispering, "Half the time I don't even know where they're coming from."

Keith stands up and clasps his hands behind his back as he answers, "All of us have unbidden thoughts. Sometimes they are to be struggled against; but sometimes we should embrace those not unwanted thoughts - they are trying to guide us. We can know the difference between those to be rejected and embraced when we take a little time to calm."

Lyon reaches for the quill again and pauses. A little time . . .

There is no time.

The prince's shoulders sag a little, and he lets out, "A pity time isn't a luxury I have. If my people will have hope . . ." But what of Eirika?

Power is the only path.

The imperial heir reaches back for his quill with his right hand, dismissing Keith with his other. An unpleasant frown curls onto his face as he thinks, If only there was a way to save them, and to . . . Lyon sighs. . . Eirika.