A fanfiction by Velkyn Karma
Summary: Reyson has always hated the beorc for what they've done to his beloved forest. And while some are unusually trustworthy, Reyson still gives the benefit of the doubt to no no one—especially filthy human Daeins. But there may be more to those humans than meets the eye. When a terrible accident comes his way, Reyson realizes he still has a lot to learn about the beorc...
Note: Written in response mostly to the lack of good Reyson fics on the site. Most involve Reyson in a pairing with somebody; very few actually explore his character. To that end, I've made this, and I hope you enjoy. No, it isn't a pairing fic, so don't get your hopes up.
Disclaimer: I do not own, or pretend to own, the Fire Emblem game series or any of its subsequent characters, plots or other ideas. That right belongs solely to Nintendo and Intelligent Systems. The only thing here that's mine is the idea for the story.
"Falling isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous."
Words of Wisdom
The scream of iron clanging on metal seared around him, clashing with the shrieks of the injured and the whistle of arrows, and in the whirling mass of terrifying cacophony Reyson reflected briefly that he hated warfare.
The thought did not surprise him now, just as it had not surprised him the last fifty times he had stumbled across it in mid-battle. His people had never been a violent race, but rather one of healing and rebirth, and so it made a good deal of sense that he would dislike the complete and utter destruction that war alone could bring.
But, he reflected, as he fluttered aside to avoid the range of the oncoming archers, the conclusion inevitably led to the next of his thoughts: if he hated war so much, why was he on the battlefield, risking staining his wings red with beorc and laguz blood he wanted nothing to do with?
The archers were moving closer, and Reyson's thoughts broke as he hastily flapped aside once more, taking shelter behind several members of the Crimean army. Nearby, Tormod leaped forward to combat the enemy men, summoning embers from the air itself to fling at his enemies. The boy had been friendly enough with the heron prince for the past few weeks now, and seemed to consider it a job to protect the non-combatant while they were relegated to the back ranks of the army. Reyson did not mind—the boy was surprisingly more capable than he let on—and so he turned his attention from the archers to the allies he had sworn to help.
The Crimean army was in a sore state. They had originally come even with their black-armored enemies, and it seemed that Soren's brilliant battle tactics would once again snatch them a fantastic victory from seemingly impossible odds. But the Daein company had received sudden and unexpected reinforcements, carried in on the backs of several large wyvern riders with a pair of captains at their head.
Ike's force rallied to the best of its ability against the new onslaught. The long hours of training and fighting side by side had allowed its men to fall into defensive positions near instantaneously, even without Soren's instructions. But they were tired, and the new arrivals were fresh. If things continued as they were, the Crimean allies would be crushed underfoot.
The situation was not in Crimea's favor, but Reyson intended to change that. He could not fight, of course, and could not aid Ike's men with another pair of talons or claws, or even a sword or bow. But his galdr were powerful, and with his enchantments he could restore some strength to the tired muscles and minds of the Crimean men. It was admittedly not much that he could offer, Reyson reflected bitterly. But anything that he could add he would, without question.
And that was his answer, he knew, as he flapped forward another few feet, gliding low to avoid being spotted. He would aid Ike in any way possible, even if he was a beorc, and even if it meant the prince risked staining his elegant hands or fragile mind. Ike was unusual, and sometimes overly blunt or stubborn. But he truly did care, and Reyson found it curious. Never had he seen such a loyal beorc before, and so he continued to break against his better instinct and help the young man, just as Ike in turn had broken the long-lasting wall between the laguz and the beorc to help his lost sister Leanne.
And deep in his mind, the prince knew that he was acting for Serenes as well. Even if his beloved forest had been restored, his heart still burned with mourning for its painful death twenty years previously, and he knew now that Daein was connected to influencing that murder. For it was murder, even if the others could not see it that way. The forest could speak to him, bore its own intelligence and wisdom and personality, and eradicating it had been wrong, so wrong. He could not forgive Daein for their cruelty. Daein and its filthy humans...
There was a cry of horror ahead, and Reyson snapped from his reverie, briefly cursing himself for losing focus on the battlefield. He was even more of a target than his Crimean allies, and if he did not pay attention he would find himself impaled on the lance or sword of a bloodthirsty Daein human.
Narrowing his delicate eyes to see further, the heron prince scanned the depths of the battlefield ahead, and soon located the origin of the terrible cry. Closer to the mountains, the right flank of Ike's army was being pressed brutally by a pair of armored wyvern. The riders stabbed viciously at their opponents with lances while the creatures snapped and bit with claws and teeth, proving to be a dangerous challenge. The Crimeans fought valiantly in return, but were rather hopelessly outmatched by the long reach of the lances and the deadly swiping claws of the wyvern, and most could not reach with their swords. Reyson could recognize the short silver hair and wickedly curved blade of Zihark, trying desperately to rally some of his fellow swordsmen against the wyvern, but the men were too outnumbered and too weakened to truly fight back.
The implications were clear, and the wyvern lords were laughing as they thrust repeatedly against the thin line with their lances. When the flank was broken, it would open up far too many opportunities for the ground-bound Daein men, who would be able to attack the left and center flanks of Ike's army from behind. It would be over in moments unless the regiment could hold.
His destination now clear, the heron prince flapped his snowy white wings and rose several feet into the air, giving himself mobility above the chaos. He concentrated his magic carefully even as he swooped above the Crimean crowd, preparing to unleash his restorative song as soon as he reached his exhausted allies. There would be no time to spare, and his aid would need to be near instantaneous.
He reached them as one of the red-armored Begnion soldiers fell with a scream, and one of the wyvern pressed forward hungrily. Zihark dived forward to fill the hole in the dead man's place, but the line was spreading too thin, and all the men were covered in injuries.
The wyvern riders spotted the heron first, and one of the black-armored men leered as he raised a javelin to hurl at him. Dropping to the ground, Reyson raised his hands in a gesture of sacred prayer as his allies became aware of his presence, eliminating his awareness of the world around him as he readied the enchantments already resonating within him.
Reyson heard the whistle of the javelin as it flew, and a sharp crack before him as someone else deflected the blow. But that was no longer important, and even as the battle raged around him he dampened his excitement, opened his heart to serenity, and began to sing.
The song was haunting, ethereal, and vibrated in the air around him with such power that he could feel it against his very skin, feel his feathers brushing softly against each other from the energy of it. He could feel its power resonating all around him; from the forest bordering the mountains nearby, from the mountains themselves, from the sky and the clouds and even the soil now firmly beneath his feet. It vibrated, pulsed, and he called to the energy about him, captured it with his voice, and wove it to his will gently, with the grace and tenderness of one caring for a young child.
It responded to the familiarity of his voice and moved passively, happily, as he directed. His exhausted allies listened to the strength and beauty of his melodies with both awe and wonder. And though they did not understand, they found their pain suddenly slipping away, found their strength and will returning to their tired muscles and minds. With new vigor the Crimeans launched themselves, as one, at the startled wyvern riders; for the enemy, too, was captivated by the power of that haunting song, but in no way restored by it.
Reyson stumbled backwards with a tired sigh, but a feeling of satisfaction as well. He had aided his allies once again, and the beorc would now be able to hold the side lines until reinforcements could arrive. He could already see several others rushing to their aid, weapons held high as they approached the vicious wyvern. The situation would right itself soon.
The sudden sharp lance of pain caused him to leap back in surprise, and he glanced down in shock to find an arrow lodged loosely in his right shoulder. It was not particularly deep, but it seared with a touch like fire, and he grimaced heavily as his left hand came up to grip the shaft. The heron's wings flared instinctively in warning and in pain, and he had taken to the air before he thought to look around for the man responsible for his wound.
The sniper did not even attempt to conceal himself, and leered at the prince greedily as he reached behind his back for another arrow from his quiver. That arrow was meant for him, Reyson knew. With a sudden touch of panic the laguz looked around, searching for a nearby ally. The sniper had to be taken down before he could--
But there was no one, and Reyson barely managed to swoop aside as the second arrow shot with alarmingly fluid accuracy through the patch of air the prince had occupied only seconds before. Worry clenching at his heart painfully now, the heron began to soar in a zig-zag pattern, desperately trying to evade even as the sniper drew a third arrow and sighted along the shaft at him.
Why was nobody stopping the man? The birdman exhibited panic now as the third shot grazed the shoulder of his left wing; a hand span lower and the limb would have been pierced. It should not be happening like this! Reyson was well aware of the risk he placed himself at on the field, but while he had encountered snipers and other dangerous Daein humans before, one of his allies had always managed to take down the offending soldier before any real harm could be caused. Yet this man went unopposed, and seemed to be devoting his full attention to dropping the prince. Why? Why hadn't anyone killed the man yet?
He slid aside to avoid a fourth arrow, and instinctively swept higher, flapping his wings painfully against the strain as he did so. From his new vantage point he could see the full impossibility of the situation. The sniper was hidden from ground view by brush and foliage, and unless one of his own Crimean allies spotted the direction of the arrows it seemed the sniper would avoid any threat of battle.
Reyson had to escape himself, then. His expression was grim, and while his eyes flickered with fear he was determined. He would not be slaughtered by these filthy humans, not like the rest of his clan. Summoning his strength, he called to the energies of the forest once more and melted, fluidly and gracefully, into his true heron form. While no smaller a target, the bird's speed and agility was much higher, and the prince was sure he could move away from bow range safely this way.
The sniper below him seemed surprised at the change, but his dark grin returned a moment later, and he drew another arrow with almost gleeful intent. Reyson swerved aside in midair, and the black-fletched arrow soared upward, snapping the tip from one of his long tail feathers. Too close.
Something flashed past a small distance away, and Reyson's spirits fell. The wyvern were airborne, and had spotted him; should they reach him, he was most certainly going to die. He gave an almost instinctive wail of frustration from his heron's bill, and the sound carried, haunting and eerily beautiful, to the ground below.
Ulki heard it first, and disengaged from the Daein he had just defeated, abandoning the shredded armor and bleeding body to soar upwards in his hawk form. His eyes searched hastily for the prince he had sworn to protect, and the bird of prey screamed his own call of warning, swooping upward to protect the prince from the wyvern barreling towards him.
Ike recognized the call next, and glanced around worriedly for the prince he had also promised to protect. Even as he fluttered aside to avoid another black-fletched arrow, Reyson could spot the look of surprise and horror on the lord's face. At the same time, the prince felt triumph; for he could also see Ike's eyes trace the flight path of the arrow, and watch as the lord leaped forward towards the sniper's hidden location.
He would be saved. The heron felt the desperate relief flood through his fear-driven, exhausted body, even as he flapped his delicate wings and slipped to his left, taking a deep graze in his side. Just a few more minutes to survive, and then he would be safe. Ike was nearly there now, thundering through the brush to his assailant, and Ulki was ripping savagely at one of the airborne wyvern in an areal maneuver of wild skill. Just a little further.
The second wyvern came out of nowhere, diving down in front of him from above with a roar of predatory triumph. Startled and panicked, the prince's wings forced themselves into a back-thrusting movement, screaming painfully against the sudden change. But he was successful, avoiding the gaping jaws of the wyvern by a hair's breadth--
The impact was jarring as it hit him from behind, smashing with grueling pain into his left shoulder. He registered a second pain moments later, ripping through the wing membranes on the same side, and suddenly the appendage seemed unresponsive. Yet he couldn't be sure though haze of bright stars that suddenly obscured his vision...
He lost his focus and his consciousness, and for several moments was unaware of anything at all. When his mind groggily pushed itself back into control, he suddenly recognized two things: he had reverted to his half-beorc form, and he was falling at a very rapid pace towards the forest below.
Falling...falling was dangerous, he recognized hazily. He had to control it. He tried to spread his wings, and became aware of a third sensation: pain, sparks of agonizing pain, and something foreign embedded within the feathers and tendons that should not have been there, something very wrong...
Agony rolled over him in waves now, and he found his usually firm grip on reality slipping away at a far too quick a pace. His vision had already abandoned him to darkness, and he no longer struggled to overcome it. He was vaguely aware of the screaming cry of a hawk, and the shriek of a wyvern close by; he thought he recognized flit of an arrow passing him, resulting in a thud and another wyvern scream; and closer still, he could hear the whistling of the wind past his ears and the song of the forest below him.
But then all he recognized was pain, and after that, nothing at all.
And there we have it, the conclusion of chapter 1.
Funny. This idea started as a one shot, and now it's expanded. This seems to be a habit of mine, and I'm not quite sure if it's an unfortunate one or not yet.
If anyone can guess what the title means...well you won't get anything beyond satisfaction, but I'll be impressed. Very impressed.
As always, if you leave a review, kindly give it some substance! I'd like to know what you like and what you don't. What could be done better? What was done well? Constructive criticism does wonders, so please help!