A Mercenary's Tale
My tale begins long ago, when I was a mere child of around twelve years, living in the vast kingdom of Gallia, home of the beast laguz tribe. Of course, my age then is only a guess, because most of what I know of my dark past was told to me in words by another. Back when I was a kid, we were a family. My mother, my father, and my sister, Mist were all the family I knew of. For reasons Mist and I didn't know, our mother carried an old medallion which she kept from us and forbade us to touch at all. We knew she had a reason for that too, but what exactly that reason was, Mist and I were unsure.
Now I know that the medallion was in fact Lehran's Medallion, an artifact that once belonged to a heron, a member of the bird laguz tribe. You might say it was a cursed medallion, for whoever touched it was driven with uncontrollable madness and forced to go into a violent rage. Well, almost no one could touch it because of that reason. My mother, Elena, and my sister were able to carry it safely. For awhile, I had no idea why, and I still don't completely understand. Mist had no knowledge of what the medallion was or why Mother carried it for awhile either.
One day, while they were away from us, my father, Greil, suddenly reached for the medallion in Mother's hands and took it, unaware of the dark secret that was hidden inside. He went into such a violent rage and for such a long time, that he went off and killed a number of people before Mother's very eyes…and before my own. From what I've been told, Mother went out to find Father and right when she laid eyes on him once more, she snatched the medallion out of my father's hands and let him slide his blade right through her flesh. I saw the whole thing while Mist was inside the house.
I found myself just standing there in disbelief of what had happened. I felt like a statue, unable to move or say anything at all. I heard Mist's voice from the house and she came running out. Mother and Father were lying there on the ground motionless, the medallion lying right next to my mother. Two men were standing there beside them, talking about things I wasn't understanding right away.
"Ahh! Father! Mother!" Mist cried in dismay at the sight of our parents.
"The general's children…" the first man said upon noticing us.
"What's wrong with them? Are they asleep? …Father? Mother?" Mist replied.
"They're very tired, child. Let's not disturb them," the second man explained. However, Mist had other ideas.
"We can't just leave them sleeping here! It's cold out! We have to take them home!" she insisted. "Ike, you have to help me! …Ike?"
I said nothing and simply stood there, still confused and in shock. Mist had no idea what had happened and was unaware that our mother was dead. I could see why it was best for the two men not to let her know of Mother's death that moment.
"I'll take them home," the second man offered. "Will you show me the way?"
"Yeah! Come with me!" Mist gleefully replied.
One of the two men carefully picked up my father off of the dirty ground and followed Mist to our house. I stayed outside with the other man, unsure of what to do or what to think at all. Mother was dead…and I knew it. Mist was lucky she hadn't known, but because I did, I couldn't find words at all. The thoughts kept swimming through my head like there was no tomorrow. I feared the memory would haunt me forever. I then heard the other man mumble something to my mother's dead body. However, I couldn't quite make out what it was. Then, Mist reappeared from the house, not accompanied by the other man just yet.
"Ah! Hey!" she exclaimed, seeing the medallion lying next to Mother. "That's my mother's medallion! No one's supposed to see it!"
"No child! You mustn't touch it!" the man warned her. Just then, the other man reappeared from the house.
"We can't let it get lost. I'll keep it," Mist decided. She picked the medallion up off the ground, but nothing had happened to her.
"You…you are unchanged?" the man gasped in surprise. Mist ran up to the other man after putting the medallion in her pocket.
"You said you'd take my mother home too," she said.
"Yes, of course," the other man replied. He then walked up to Mother and gently lifted her off of the ground in almost the same fashion he had done with Father. Mist led him to our house and pretty soon they disappeared into the front door. I was still standing there in silence, lost in thought and fear. I didn't even notice Mist come back out a few minutes later and ask me what the matter was.
"Ike? What's wrong? Why are you just standing there? Are you hurt?" she asked me. I still chose to say nothing.
"You saw everything, didn't you? Poor child," the man still outside said to me.
"Ike?" Mist said again.
Suddenly, the man held up his staff, and the tip glowed a large, bright glow. Soon, the glow appeared around me and the sight of my father stabbing my mother suddenly shot through my head. And then…it was gone. Just like that. I let out a loud scream, suddenly feeling a sharp pain in my head. I fell to my knees, not able to bear the pain.
"Ike? What's wrong?" Mist gasped.
Instead of answering, I kept grunting and groaning, with mixed feelings of pain and fear. I suddenly grabbed Mist and started pinching her uncontrollably.
"Ouch! Ike, that hurts! Let go!" she cried.
Instead of listening, I kept grunting and groaning. Then, the other man appeared from the house and saw me on the ground looking like I was in pain.
"What happened?" he inquired.
"Give me a moment," the other man replied. Then, he raised his staff again, letting its bright glow appear once more. Soon, Mist and I fell into a deep sleep. The last thing I heard him say was "sweet children…sleep now. Rest."
Now I can only remember so much of my childhood and my mother. The man with the staff had completely erased that horrible memory from my mind, knowing he could not let such a memory haunt one so young. From then on, after we moved from Gallia to the neighboring land of Crimea, Mist and I grew up while living with Father, and I became a man of seventeen years. Mist was fourteen, and the closest thing I had to memories of Mother. She often hummed a certain song that I was familiar with, and it always reminded me of our mother who we now both knew was dead.
Father and I were out doing my training lesson one morning. We were practicing with wooden swords, and I was determined to do my best. For I wanted to become one of the Greil Mercenaries, the mercenary company led by Father. After much training and hard work, and a battle against my father and another member, Boyd, I finally made it in as a full time mercenary. I was quite happy about it, and even gave Captain Titania my pride and joy about it later on after a fight against a group of bandits.
From then on, I worked to hone my skills at the way of the sword, and it wasn't long before my father began putting me in charge of missions which included Boyd, his older brother Oscar, Titania, and the rest of the group. Why he was doing this, I was unsure but what I didn't know was that it would prove useful in the near future. For awhile I assumed the role of captain, and, despite being young and inexperienced, I did my best to lead the group to success. And success we achieved, too.
One day, however, we found a young woman unconscious by the woods after a battle with some soldiers from the neighboring kingdom of Daein. We brought her back to Father, and soon she awoke. The woman claimed to be Princess Elincia, the heir to the throne of Crimea. After explaining everything that had happened from the moment she had fled the capital, Melior, to the moment she went unconscious, Father decided to believe she was telling the truth and we agreed to escort her to Gallia so she could meet with its king, Caineghis.
However, on the way there, while we were staying in an abandoned castle, I had trouble sleeping, and caught a glimpse of my father walking away from the place in the middle of the night. I jumped up from my bed and followed him outside, wondering what he was up to. He asked why I was up and I explained to him that I was unable to sleep and saw him leave. Father insisted that we have a little talk. We began to walk into the woods ahead. I asked him why he had been putting me in charge of things, but for some reason, he wouldn't tell me.
"I'm weak, inexperienced. I shouldn't be in charge of anyone," I reasoned.
"Ike…do you remember your mother at all?" Father inquired.
"What? Where did that come from?"
"Just answer the question."
"Well, she was kind…I think. I don't really remember," I replied. I hadn't known much of my mother at all at the time.
Just like that, Father then told me to go back inside and get some sleep. I was reluctant to go, but I turned around and started walking towards the castle. Just when I had reached the door, I turned around and watched my father disappear into the dark, thick woods up ahead. I started running after him as fast as my legs could carry me through the tall trees. I panted as I kept running, not wanting to stop until I spotted Father.
"Father…what's going on? Where are you?" I said to myself, still panting. I sped up to full speed, and eventually I came to a clearing in the woods and stopped running. There, in the middle of the clearing, was my father, wielding his axe and in battle with a knight, a Daein knight from the looks of it. The knight was tall and covered from head to toe in ebon armor. He wielded a long, heavy-looking sword with a golden brown hilt and white blade.
"Father!" I exclaimed, starting to run up to him.
"Ike! Stay back!" Father yelled back. I suddenly came to a halt in my tracks and stood there, fear in my mind of what was happening. From that point, I watched as the two battled it out for moments on in, until the armored knight suddenly slid his blade into my father's flesh. Father's mouth hung open as the sword was driven into him. Seconds later, the knight withdrew the blade and I found myself racing to my father's aid.
"Father!" I exclaimed once more, catching him and letting us both fall to the ground. I sat there looking at my severely wounded father, feeling tears building up in my eyes. I couldn't help but feel like a child all over again.
"Don't…don't leave me…" I mumbled to myself. "Don't leave me! FATHER!" However, I knew it was too good to be true. My father was dying, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Later on that morning, we buried my father's body and used his axe as a gravestone. Mist was heartbroken and couldn't believe Father was really gone for good. And then, when I returned to the castle, I had a little talk with Titania. I insisted that I take command of the company for my father. She asked if I was sure about it and I said yes. I wanted to avenge my father and find that knight who had brought him to his death. So from then on, I was the commander of the Greil Mercenaries, and led the group to the aid of Crimea in the kingdom's war against Daein and its mad king, Ashnard.
Eventually, I became the general of the Crimean army and helped Princess Elincia win back her kingdom. After much toil and hardship, I came in possession of the holy golden blade, Ragnell, and used it to defeat my father's killer, the Black Knight. Ragnell was one of the only indestructible blades on the entire continent, and I was a lucky man to wield such a weapon. From the time I helped Elincia gain her rightful place as queen of Crimea, I aided her in Crimea's well-deserved reconstruction and remained near Melior with the Greil Mercenaries. I eventually renounced my peerage, as I only desired to live as a mercenary, but somehow, I couldn't get her off of my mind…
A few months later, while my company and I were still residing near Melior and going in and out of the capital to aid Elincia and the Crimean army, we received word that a previously unknown tribe of laguz, the wolves, had invaded the weakened Daein. Though we cared little for Daein itself at the time, we knew that we'd be sinking as low as Ashnard if we allowed the wolf tribe to kill innocent people. We had no quarrel with Daein's common people, after all, only her late king. And with that, I took command of the Crimean army once more for Elincia and led our men to victory over the wicked wolf king, Arius.
During this short quest, I made friends with a pair of wolf laguz who also desired to take Arius down. They were Kiel and Sara, two siblings who were actually prisoners of Arius's clan at the time. With their help, we managed to bring him down.
The night before the battle, which was dubbed the Battle of the Beast, however, I came to a realization, thanks to Elincia. I found that I'd fallen in love with her over the course of our adventures together. She was a very kind and courageous young woman whom I would do anything to protect, even give up my own life. Her beauty and strong will also caught my attention. She also shared my dream of seeing beorc and laguz live in harmony in all of the continent of Tellius. What's more, she admitted to being in love with me as well and that was the beginning of our romance. Of course, I knew that, if I ever were to marry her, I'd become a noble again, but somehow, I did not care. All that mattered to me was that I loved her for who she was and would do anything to be with her. I knew that together, we could do many great things.
Unfortunately, there were few people who seemed to embrace the idea of a queen being with a common mercenary. We were forced to hide our feelings for one another and keep our meetings secret. But that wasn't the worst of it. Three years after the Mad King's War, the war against Ashnard, ended, a new conflict erupted. First, a rebellion in Crimea went under way that aimed to dethrone Elincia. Count Bastian of Fayre hired my company to put an end to it. And we did, just in time. Duke Ludveck, the mastermind behind the rebellion, was about to sacrifice Lucia when Elincia refused to give up the throne, even though her army managed to put him behind bars. I rushed in after my archers, Shinon and Rolf, freed her from the rope that bound her neck, and caught her in my arms. Afterwards, we fought off the rebels.
Elincia then met with me secretly once again, but this time, it was more so business than our secret romance. She was warning me that Daein was finally returning to power and had a new ruler on the throne: King Pelleas. Daein was comparing him to Elincia and a girl known as the Silver-Haired Maiden to me, since they claim she was Daein's true heroine. I also received reports that the Black Knight, whom I thought I defeated three years before, was alive. Of course, I was astonished.
However, that wasn't the end of it. Sometime later, my good cat laguz friend, Ranulf, hired the Greil Mercenaries and I to aid them in a war against the Begnion empire. Not one to turn down a close friend in need, I accepted his offer and we fought side by side. Unfortunately, this is where my relationship was, as I prefer to put it, put on hold. I had to remain apart from my beloved Elincia for a long time during this war and at the same time, she had to have many meetings about the recent and current conflicts with her retainers, including General Geoffrey, the commander of the Crimean Royal Knights.
While I was already astonished that I would be fighting against Daein again when they surprisingly came to Begnion's aid, rumors had begun going around that Geoffrey and Elincia had been sharing a secret romance. Unfortunately, I had not learned this until far later when the armies of every nation had finally made peace and joined together to take on the goddess Ashera's Disciples of Order. The goddess was not supposed to wake for another two centuries or so due to a promise made many years before: there would not be another war in Tellius for one thousand years. Instead, Micaiah, the Silver-Haired Maiden, woke her with a sacred heron melody known as the Galdr of Release. Though I continued to fight Ashera's forces and even managed to defeat the Black Knight for good this time around, my heart gradually ached more and more.
Then came Ashera's defeat and my fame reaching its peak. I cared not for the fame my deeds brought me, only that I wanted to get away. I once thought I could not cry, but surprised myself when tears streamed down my cheeks when finding out that my beloved Elincia might have left me for another man. I couldn't bear to remain in Tellius due to these events and decided to leave. I vowed to never return. Ranulf protested, but I had made up my mind.
"Ranulf, you won't stop me," I insisted. "I don't care how much others love me anymore… I've lost the one person I loved the most and being here will only keep my grief intact… I'm sorry."
"Alright then, if that's how you feel, I'm going with you," Ranulf decided.
"What? But Gallia needs you! Skrimir is not going to be an efficient ruler without you either."
Skrimir was Caineghis's nephew and heir to Gallia's throne. He also commanded Gallia's army. Ranulf was the deputy commander.
"Oh, he'll get by somehow. And frankly, I'm rather tired of him. But my main reason is that I don't want you going through this alone. Someone needs to be by your side to comfort you. Soren is all the way across the continent in that Branded village Stefan was talking about, so I'm the closest friend you have that can go."
"Well…alright. Thank you…"
Soon after, we heard reports that a new land was found west of Tellius. According to the few inhabitants that were spoken to, it was called Altarais. Since we had no other ideas, Ranulf and I chose to make it our destination and do some exploring. Hopefully, it would take my mind off of things and gradually help me get over my emotional pain. Unfortunately, as we were boarding the boat, I overheard some people talking about General Geoffrey and Elincia being engaged and that they would be wed very soon. From that moment on, my heart was shattered completely. I kept asking myself 'how could she do this to me? I loved her and cared for her and protected her with all my heart and strength…' and began contemplating suicide.
Thankfully, Ranulf prevented me from killing myself and convinced me that possibly, Elincia wasn't lost to me after all. I wanted to believe his words so bad, but I was unable to. All I could do was blame everything on myself, saying I should not have left, I should have confronted her and Geoffrey, and should've done something to make our love for one another known to more people. What I didn't know, however, was that I would soon be caught in yet another adventure…