Through you I've lived one thousand lives
And felt great joy and pain;
It is a guiltless death I die.
I have not lived in vain.
x x x
This is a companion to a fic I have already finished, Will.
I highly suggest you read Will first in order to make sense of Requiem.
In Will we discussed the circumstances of those left behind when their loved ones, one by one, passed away.
In Requiem we will discuss the circumstances of those loved ones as, one by one, they leave behind their beloved world.
x x x
It was he who had come up with the term 'halfling', and he felt it more accurately now than in all his years of guilt.
Anyone over seventeen was recognized as one, a person who was born into what was literally half of a world. It wasn't really all that necessary- in fact, it wasn't necessary at all- but people clung to their titles like water in the desert.
"Master Regal." George entered the office carrying a silver tray with a glass of water and two painkillers, plus a third pill. Regal looked up from his papers and offered a lopsided smile as the tray was placed on a corner of the ornate desk, carefully as to not disturb the organized chaos covering its surface.
"George." He swallowed the water in a way that only his closest companions would recognize as desperate, forgoing the medication. "How is it outside?"
"Everything is running smoothly, master," he said, speaking slowly. "But you should see for yourself. I'm getting too old."
"As am I," he said, and they both laughed. His was a happy laugh, a good-hearted laugh, and very few would recognize it as one of misery.
x x x
He'd been busy, certainly. The united worlds had issues that needed to be taken care of, old animosity that needed to be ironed out. The residents of the Sylvarant cities hated the Tethe'allans for stealing their mana and making them suffer. The Tethe'allans were less than excited to share their technology with their dark-skinned neighbours.
The Renegades had been a helpful as they could, even after Yuan's mysterious disappearance; he relied on their help more and more as his body began to fold in upon itself.
There was a shy knock at the door, which was soon replaced by the small form of his adopted son's governess.
"Regal," she said, her voice larger than her body, "I caught Hazel telling the park staff that his papa is looking ill. You can't hide this much longer."
His eyes pleaded with hers, but stubbornness ran in her family. After all, her brother did fool the mightiest lords of Cruxis. "Fair enough," he said. "Arrange for an interview with the press. Tell them that Regal Bryant has fallen ill but expects to be back on his feet within the month- no, two months. Don't reveal anything that would have them come running."
She motioned with her chin towards the untouched medicine.
He sighed. "I can't. I know you understand, Seles."
"It's your life," she said, and hurried out of the room to hide her tears.
x x x
He was sure that George had caught on to his odd habit of turning his wrists in his palms, but he couldn't quite shake the feeling that they hurt more now than when the chains had chafed them.
"I'm not long to live," he said, not wasting any time, "And there are a few things that I'd like to ask of you before I die."
"You're not going to die." George sat down at the chair that faced the desk, folding his hands. "You're only fifty years of age, Master Bryant. When your illness calms down-"
"It's only a common illness, Master Bryant."
"I will not argue with you today, George." There was a sweet sort of breeze filtering in through the window; it reminded him of who would outlive him. "When I die, have me buried next to Alicia. I've taken the liberty of reserving their old room in the Inn, but you'll have to post these for me." He coughed violently into his hand, staining his fist red like he had with the blood of the monster he loved so many years ago. Only when his hands were clean did he hand six letters to George.
"Lloyd and Colette are travelling together. Have theirs sent to Mizuho- Sheena will know of their location better than I would."
George shook his head, but accepted the letters and left with quiet dignity. Only Master Regal would handwrite invitations to his own funeral.
x x x
The weight he felt was a different kind of weight than before. Then, it was like a stone on his back. Now it was the weight of the world, like heavy wings holding up angels. The moonlight streaming through his open window was suffocating him; he accepted its pull and drifted onto his balcony. On the horizon, the lights of a Sylvarant city he could not name were fading away.
A toast, he imagined himself saying, motioning with a wineglass towards the horizon. To Lloyd. May you one day be free.
He wasn't quite sure why he thought it, but it sounded poetic enough. There was a strange buzzing in his head making him feel delirious. Black spots jumped in front of his pupils. Alicia frowned at the broken glass and black stain on the carpeted terrace, a frown that he'd always loved.
"Odd," he whispered through burning lips as his knees gave out. A guiltless death was given to him, but he'd rather do without it. Twenty years ago he was ready to throw his life away for a chance at redemption- but as he died, all he could remember were the times he shared with those who loved him.
I have not lived in vain.
x x x