Echoes of the Eternal Recurrence

By: Mena

"Lost Memories"

Written for 100-Series' Valkyrie Profile Challenge Themes Contest --Theme Number 7: Lost Memories of a Former Life

Summary: 20 years after the victory over Lezard Valeth, the spirits that combined Valkyrie have been reborn. The stability of Asgard and Midgard continues. However, there is one soul who is haunted by visions of a former life…

Note: Contains the following: Mild language; mild violence; mild themes; Alicia/Rufus; some ambiguous Alicia/Silmeria; Lucian/Lenneth; Lezard/Lenneth

Author's Note: Yes, it has been a long while since I have written anything worthy. Help me make a story worthy for all of you! Please support me with your constructive criticism and reviews! Thank you! I also apologize for any OOC Alicia-ness. I figured since she was reincarnated, she was entitled to being a strong individual.

Disclaimer: I do not own Valkyrie Profile or any related characters.

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"I'll be there by your side

In your dream, I will go

Till we find the sunrise

I will be there till the dawn of eternity

I'm searching for you"

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Dreams are a funny thing. It is believed that they are the key to unlocking the mysteries of our souls. Feelings, thoughts, even memories are seamlessly woven together into an intricate painting of your soul. The dreams leave an imprint on our hearts that will never leave us throughout eternity.

I want to believe that.

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The village of Coriander was never a sprawling town. Hidden in a little nook off the beaten path it blended in with the surrounding wildlife and nature, offering a peaceful respite to some, a prison of simplicity to others. Yet when night came and the moon shone down on the town everyone had to agree that its beauty was unrivaled, especially with the surrounding mountains and the occasional lily that wafted down to skim the tops of the ponds. At least that was what the cloaked young woman thought as she stared into the moon.

"Alicia."

The woman turned at the sound of her name, the voice piercing through the darkness. "Oh, I didn't think anyone else was up now. I'm sorry if I disturbed you," she added as the man who called out to her approached.

Reaching down to the pond the young man snatched the petal up. "No, I usually keep these types of hours. It is easier to work on my alchemy at night when there aren't noisy brats running around."

Alicia smirked and bumped her shoulders against his, their hoods falling down from the impact. "Don't be stupid; Coriander hasn't had any children since we were young, unless that was a shot to my overall demeanor."

"Ha ha, no, I could never insult one as fair as you," the man sniggered as his long bangs bounced up and down as he laughed.

"You're so funny, Lezard."

"I do my best," Lezard said as he squinted at the light that shone off of Alicia's hair in the moonlight. "I haven't seen you for awhile, so I must do my best to entertain my closest friend when I do see her, even if by chance."

Alicia felt her face flush at the compliment. She shivered as a gust of wind wound its way through her hair. "As much as I hate to admit it, it seems as if winter is coming."

"Hmm…"

Glancing over to Lezard, Alicia noticed that the petal he had scooped from the pond had been cradled in his hand and that Lezard was absent-mindedly stroking it with a far-off look in his eyes. "What are you thinking about?"

"Oh," Lezard exclaimed upon his return to reality. "I'm sorry. I was actually thinking about you." Upon Alicia's quizzical look, Lezard continued. "I was getting up to fetch some ingredients for my latest potion when I saw you out the window." He placed a hand upon her shoulder. "I've noticed that you've been coming out here for many nights now."

Alicia sighed. "Haven't been able to sleep."

"Really." Lezard paused. "A problem you've had for 14 years?"

Gritting her teeth, Alicia turned away from him. "So you've been watching me at night?"

Lezard put his hands up in a defensive gesture. "No, no, merely observations. Is it wrong for one to worry about someone they care about?"

"I guess not," Alicia admitted, turning to face him once more.

The pair stood in silence once again as the moon began to wane.

"I've been having these dreams," Alicia explained. "One night when I was six I was heading home when I thought I heard someone whisper my name. I became dizzy and then I saw these images—places, but mostly people. At first it was just one person…someone I felt like I could never escape from."

Lezard furrowed his brows. "Did this person frighten you?"

Shaking her head, Alicia replied, "When I first saw her I was afraid. She kept showing up with increasing intensity and I tried to run away from her but she was always there. I was running through the halls of a castle when I ran into her and suddenly I wasn't scared anymore. It was…" Alicia scrunched her nose up in an effort to describe the sensation.

"…like looking into a mirror of your heart," Lezard supplied. Alicia's brows shot up in surprise at his statement. Chuckling softly, Lezard scratched the back of his head. "I have a way with words, I guess."

Alicia looked skeptical but continued. "The next thing I knew I woke up lying on the ground. Ever since then my dreams have been full of memories of this woman and her companions."

"Isn't that when you started learning how to fight?" Lezard put a finger to his forehead.

"Yes," Alicia affirmed, then frowned. "Didn't you take up magic around that same time?"

Lezard smiled and gave a vague wave of his hand. "You know, Alicia, it sounds to me that these are more than just images. It's like they're some sort of lost memories of a former life, or something."

Alicia gave a snort of disbelief. "Sure, Lezard. What's next? Odin comes barreling out of Asgard and hands me Gungnir?"

"You shouldn't dismiss things so easily," he chided as he offered her his arm.

"Where are we going?" Alicia asked as she acquiesced to his gesture.

Lezard put a finger to his lips and beckoned her forward.

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Alicia didn't know quite what to make of Lezard's home. There were hardly any lights and what few there were had a dim glow about them as if they were struggling to exist in the pools of darkness that surrounded them. Various potions and other concoctions bubbled in nearly every corner and Alicia had to be careful not to step on top of any of Lezard's notes scattered across the room.

"Come here," Lezard called, giddy as a child.

Alicia grimaced as she felt something gooey ooze from under her boot. Okay, now this place is eerie, she thought as she approached Lezard who was hovering over a large cauldron muttering incantations under his breath. "What's going on?"

Ignoring Alicia's inquiry, Lezard reached over to a nearby table and grabbed a fistful of powder and tossed it into the cauldron. Alicia shrieked as a large explosion shook the house.

"What the Hel, Lezard!? You think getting us fried will solve the mysteries of the past," she demanded.

Lezard grabbed Alicia's hands as she started to back away. "Do you want to know about your dreams or not?" he vehemently replied.

Alicia closed her eyes. Am I too scared to face myself? The woman in my dreams kept resolving herself to every situation—if she can do it, I can too! She clutched Lezard's hands for support. "Yes, Lezard. Tell me what to do."

Nodding, Lezard placed Alicia's hands on the edge of the cauldron. "I need you to think very hard about what you want. You need to visualize the person in your dreams in your mind very clearly. Think about how you feel in your dreams. You must emulate these thoughts and feelings exactly if the magick is to work."

Peering into the swirling mass inside the cauldron Alicia took a deep breath and concentrated on a particular memory that had been recurring recently.

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"I—can't—breathe—wait—" an incredibly tall man wheezed as he collapsed against a nearby tree; at least it resembled a tree. The background seemed to be obscured with only a dimly flashing orange light.

A woman with raven hair and deep purple armor strode past him. "If you spent more time on your training than your tongue you wouldn't be gasping like a fish out of water," she quipped.

"Not all of us are as divine as you," he snapped back, his long green hair whipping around his face.

The warrior smirked. "That is true," she snidely replied.

"You are kinda pathetic," a burly man carrying a glowing orb added. He plopped down on the ground. "But you are right. It's quiet here. We should prepare ourselves before moving on."

"Agreed," said another woman, appearing next to the green-haired man, clad in blue armor. "We don't know what he is planning. It is best to recuperate and strategize rather than rush headlong into a trap."

The other woman harrumphed and leaned against another tree-like structure. The fire-red glow of the area seemed to burn brighter with each passing moment. "You are too soft, Lenneth."

Lenneth, the woman in blue armor, tilted her head slightly. "I'm merely thinking logically, Hrist. We would be at a clear disadvantage if we took him on without recovery; our chances of failure would increase ten-fold."

Hrist grunted her assent. "I suppose a little rest couldn't hurt those of, softer spines."

"Hey!" The green-haired man cried indignantly as he stomped up next to Hrist. "Are you saying you don't care if ------ is tired?!"

Hrist glanced straight ahead, staring at someone unseen. "I was only joking. In case you've forgotten, I am a Battle Maiden and I know full well the severity of our situation," she flipped her hair, flashing a cocky grin at him. "Please, Rufus, is alleviating the tension an unwelcome act upon my part?"

The burly man guffawed loudly at Rufus' obvious annoyance. "Man, you can't say anything right, can you?"

"You keep outta this, Arngrim!" Rufus jabbed a finger at Arngrim.

"What we need to be doing is calming down," a deep voice resounded. The towering figure from which the voice emanated walked up next to Rufus. Hrist's right eye twitched.

"Adrenaline is good for the body," she remarked. "Besides, everyone has their own way of calming down, Brahms."

Brahms merely flung a sneer at Hrist, a gesture which was immediately reciprocated.

Lenneth turned slightly to the left. "What think you, --------?"

Just to the right a dim outline of a woman appeared. Her golden hair shone even brighter in the fiery area, its light bouncing off her gentle curls.

The group nodded at whatever the woman said and each went to their own little place of sanctuary. The woman looked to her left.

Resignation.

Sadness.

Hope.

Fear.

Love.

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"Alicia! Look!"

Upon hearing Lezard's cries, Alicia opened her eyes to reality. She gasped upon seeing a shape inside the cauldron. It was the woman from her dreams—the woman without a face, a name, even a voice. "It's her," she breathed.

Lezard glanced at Alicia. "She looks a lot like you," he quietly said.

Alicia gripped the cauldron tighter as the woman's shape twisted into a better-defined outline.

"It must be her reincarnation," Lezard supplied.

Alicia leaned further over the cauldron committing every detail about the woman to memory. "How do I find her—oh!" She gasped in surprise as the woman was replaced with the image of Rufus strolling about in a dark forest.

"This is amazing!" Lezard exclaimed shifting through reams of papers next to the cauldron. "'…if another shaype appears after the image that thou seeketh, it is thine catalyst.' Alicia—this man must be the key to discovering the true meaning of your dreams."

"You're saying that all my questions will be answered once I find R—er—him?" she pointed to the shimmering image of Rufus.

"Yes—this is so exciting, I never thought that I would amass such power so soon," Lezard uttered as he impulsively gripped the cauldron. "What the!?" As he grasped the cauldron another explosion rocked the house and threw Alicia off her feet.

Alicia propelled herself off the ground. "Lezard are you—" she stopped short as she glanced into the cauldron. There was Lenneth in the heat of a battle, her platinum hair twirling about. The image of Lenneth dissolved into another similar figure that appeared to be picking apples. "Lezard—"

He stood mesmerized by the woman in the cauldron. "Yes, Alicia, I am like you too. I am plagued by strange dreams also—of this woman. That is part of the reason I started magic," he said, his eyes still glued on Lenneth. "To learn how to return one's memory from another life. The answer is somewhere, I just know it—and—"one of his hands seized a lump in his cloak.

"Lezard!" Alicia placed a hand on his shoulder. "Don't you think the past should stay in the past?"

"But…" Lezard's bangs hung low over his eyes as he hung his head. When he lifted his eyes to her again, Alicia couldn't help but feel nauseated at the mad glint that shone in them. Her hand fell to her side.

"I would do anything to make her love me."

"If she loved you in the past, surely that wouldn't change now," Alicia suggested.

Lezard gazed intently at Alicia for several moments. "Are you going to go find your catalyst?"

"Y-yes," Alicia replied, taken aback by his sudden shift in mood. "My parents are both dead—there is no longer any reason for me to stay here, except to call it home. I feel as if I've waited a long time for one…"she drifted off.

"Your home is not always a material thing," Lezard kindly said. Alicia gratefully nodded. "I will accompany you as well—it is time we took control of our own destinies."

"Yes!"

With that the two clasped hands as the faint light of day broke through the grimy windows of Lezard's home.