Disclaimer: I do not own Magna Carta, as it belongs to the lovely company, Softmax. You can tell who my favorite gaming company is!
Author's Note: This was such a difficult chapter to write. I've had to go and rewrite it about three times now. I had to make a lot of crazy decisions about how Calintz would have started the Tears of Blood, whether Azel was before or after Tears of Blood, and when Azel was trained with a sword. Looking at the game, it seems he's got quite the inferiority complex, and it seems like the first mission in the game was his first big mission.
And while I always liked Haren's design, but hated his character, writing his character has made him start growing on me.
Warnings: Azel's worship of Calintz. He's young and he adores Calintz, even though Calintz is a cold and strict teacher by all means.
"That kid of yours is crying again," Haren announced gruffly, entering Calintz's office without knocking first. Calintz looked up at Haren from his paperwork, clearly annoyed that the man had interrupted him, and had also referred to Azel as "that kid of yours." Calintz was only five years older than Azel and they weren't even related – the most familial they might be mistaken as was probably as brothers, but with completely contrasting physical features, even that wasn't likely.
"You mean Azel," Calintz corrected. "And what is the problem this time?"
"I don't know, but he's been sobbing by the side of the building all day," Haren said, waving a large hand around in the air dismissively. "All that kid does these days is cry and I'm sick of listening to it. Isn't he far too old to be crying?"
Calintz didn't voice any agreement, but nodded briefly so as not to aggravate Haren's temper. Ever since Calintz had established Tears of Blood, he had been busy with paperwork and missions. He really needed to hire someone to manage missions and paperwork for him, but so far all that work was left to the leader.
"You going to talk to him?" Haren asked, crossing his arms and leaning his large muscular back against the frame of the door.
Calintz rubbed his temple and reluctantly set down his pen. He understood Azel was his responsibility, ever since he had taken the boy in over a year ago, but sometimes he no longer felt that he was a twenty-year-old in charge of a mercenary group. He felt like an older brother who was raising a younger sibling. He couldn't be angry with Azel because the boy was generally cooperative, until his emotions blocked his confidence and ability. Emotions were a part of any normal person, especially anyone who had lost family or friends. Calintz understood those crushing emotions as well, but Calintz was quickly realizing how hard it was to deal with those emotions when they belonged to someone else. He had no time to keep an eye on Azel, so oftentimes the young teenager allowed his lack of confidence to eat away at him. It was wearisome for Calintz to deal with sometimes, as it seemed like nearly a weekly occurrence. Haren may have been too harsh to say Azel was too old to be crying, but the frequency at which he did so was troublesome.
"Where is he?" Calintz asked as he pushed his chair back and stood up. Haren only shrugged.
"At the side of the building, like I said he was," Haren said impatiently. He moved aside to let Calintz through the office door and watched as the younger man headed toward the stairs.
Azel was sitting with his back up against the building when Calintz found him. His fists were clenched and balled up the fabric of his pants inside of them, but Azel was no longer sobbing. Upon seeing a shadow fall over him, Azel looked up, his eyes red as evidence of his tears, his face red with shame when he saw who was standing before him.
"C-Captain," Azel said nervously. He didn't bother trying to move from his sorry state on the ground, and bowed his head down. "I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?" Calintz asked curiously, leaning up against the wall and folding his arms. He could not begin to solve Azel's problem unless the boy told him what was going on, but for a while, Azel stayed silent and kept his eyes focused on the grass next to him. The long wait made Calintz impatient, but he endured and showed no signs to Azel that he felt that way.
The sun was disappearing behind the rough, mountainous terrain, wrapping them in darkness as well as the silence as Azel stayed quiet. Calintz debated over the right wording, trying not to be too harsh to Azel while still handing him the facts.
"At present, you desire the strength to fight alongside me," Calintz finally began. "You're breaking down under all the strain of trying to overcome the past, adjust to the present, and train for the future. I think you need to slow down and become an apprentice for Master Smidt for a while, and after I find a secretary, I will train you at the pace I feel is right for you."
Soldiers were not just trained fighters, but also individuals. While Calintz realized that, but he had met many people – including those that worked in the Alliance – that felt differently. Each person had a different level to train at, an emotional strain blocking their abilities that they always had to overcome in order to perform correctly. People were flawed, regardless of their positions in life. Even as a leader, Calintz knew he was just as flawed as the boy sobbing next to him. They all had scars, they all had lost something to the Yason, and they had all been left alone.
Calintz's racism poisoned his reason, and all the blame led back to the Yason. In the end, he couldn't blame only Azel for behaving so childishly.
"Train me?" Azel repeated, looking up at Calintz hopefully. He couldn't hide his delighted smile from Calintz.
"It won't be right away. You'll stay with Master Smidt and help him until I can find someone to do all this paperwork for me. I've got my hands tied when I come back from missions as it is."
Calintz was surprised when Azel leapt to his feet immediately, brushing off the dirt from his pants and eagerly looking up at his idol. Surprisingly, Calintz's words had the ability to cease most of Azel's moping. It was something Calintz realized but could do nothing about – for now it wasn't a problem, but he realized the potential hazard it had if Azel continued to rely on him so much.
"You will have to train under other people, when you become more confident," Calintz said sternly. "It wouldn't be any good if you hesitated to use your blade in front of anyone when you're up against the enemy. What can you protect then?"
"I understand, Captain," Azel said eagerly, following Calintz back into the building. With his back to the boy, Calintz indulged in a small smile.