Father and Son
By I.K.A. Valian
"…So you've come." He turned from the marker that was Origin's and faced his son, his executioner. The boy stood tall, was strong, was everything he'd wanted Lloyd to be. He recalled first meeting the boy in front of the Martel Temple. How far he'd come since then; how mature his son grew over the course of this grueling journey.
They both knew what had to be done. They both accepted that he had to die here and now for his crimes, at the place where it all started so very long ago. Finally, it would end.
"Is there no other way?" his son asked pleadingly, looking for one strand of hope, one last alternative. "Must we fight?"
"Are you still thinking like that?" He asked. "You'll die if you fight me with any doubt left in your heart. If you want the pact with Origin, then you must defeat me."
His son's face fell. He knew this would be hard on the boy, but it had to be done. He was an obstacle to Lloyd and his friends. In order to save the world, he had to die. Perhaps, to save himself as well.
"So… That's your way," Lloyd said. His shoulders sagged for an instant. Then he turned around and addressed his companions. "Everyone, leave this to me." His companions didn't respond, but he could see several heads shake.
"You're going to fight alone?" he asked his son. The boy turned around and strode calmly forward until they were facing each other in the clearing before Origin's marker. His son did not draw his blades. The look on his face was set, firm, and calm. Yet his son's eyes were searching, desperately.
"Lloyd won't lose," shouted the Chosen of Sylvarant in her caring yet defiant voice. A fragile flower that bloomed from a willing sacrifice to a true savior. "Lloyd bears the weight of all the lives that you and Cruxis sacrificed."
His son drew his twin sabers and settled into a stance he had taught the boy. Back before his son even realized his heritage or the true nature of the world. It looked comfortable on him now, that stance. How different it was to when he first taught it to him. He'd grown a lot.
He drew his own sword. His blue hued wings exploded from underneath his cape in a flurry of semi-transparent feathers. He then took up the same pose his son stood in, ready and fluid for attack or defense on a moment's notice.
"I'll not hold back this time," he warned.
"Neither will I," Lloyd responded. He charged at his son and leapt in the air. Lloyd rolled away from where his sword came down just in time to avoid an untimely beheading. The gravely dirt crunched under his missed strike.
"Lloyd didn't run!" shouted another of his son's companions. The young mage pumped his fists in the air. "He didn't give up. By that alone, he's already beat you."
His son initiated an attack on his exposed back. Before the boy could land any hits, he raised his shield and blocked the incoming blows. He jumped back a foot, pivoted, and leapt forward again. Their swords clashed. A flock of birds in the trees, startled from the shrill sound of metal on metal, took flight.
"You're witnessing something remarkable," shouted a woman, his son's teacher. "The sight of your own son surpassing you."
They separated; a small explosion of electric magic filled the air between him and his son. His spell had missed, thankfully. His son was much faster than he used to be. He gauged the distance between them and began casting. His son realized what was happening and charged.
"Lloyd possesses more strength than you imagine," shouted the Summoner. She pointed dramatically at his back. "He's not the same Lloyd you knew back when you were with us. But you already know that, don't you? You can see his potential."
He cast the spell just as his son reached him. Without thinking, he brought his shield up to block the two blades aimed for his mid-section. He jumped back just as another electric explosion went off. This time his son was consumed by the explosion. Much to his relief, his son survived and charged at him again.
"This guy's really stubborn, simple minded, and tough as nails," a man said. He recognized the Tethe'allan Chosen's voice, though it was filled with veiled concern. "So he's more than a match for you all by himself. Try your best to beat him, because it won't be easy."
Their blades locked again, his son trying to overpower him with sheer strength. It surprised him how much strength there was behind the swords his son held, and in his son's eyes as well. He pushed his son back with a shout and charged. He went into a series of jabs, slashes, and cleaving maneuvers.
"Lloyd is not alone." A little girl's voice, the ax-man's daughter. "We are always with him. Though we do not take up our weapons, we fight… alongside him."
His son twisted to the side and initiated his own combination of jabs and slashes. He went onto the defensive, blocking each attack that he could. His son had grown blindingly fast since they'd last fought. He quickly pushed past his son's attacks and knocked him back with a kick to the chest. His son quickly regained his footing and dashed forward again. They engaged in a cloud of dust thrown up from their fighting.
"You and Lloyd… is this not the closure that you desired?" It was a soft voice. That of Duke Bryant. A repentant sinner like him. Possibly the only one who understood his reasons among his son's companions. "You are… even less capable than I am at expressing your feelings."
Their blades met in a clash of sparks once more. He smashed the twin sabers to the side with his shield and slashed at his son once more, but his son managed to bring a sword to bear and deflected the blow. He was about to try again when his son shouted and landed a solid blow on his side. He retreated and cast a minor healing spell. The flesh would stop bleeding, but he wouldn't be able to fight at full power anymore.
"If it's your wish to settle things with your past…" He looked up at Lloyd, who continued to speak. "…then it's my duty as your son to see it through."
His son settled into another stance and brought his twin blades up in front of him. He fought through the pain in his side and prepared himself. This would be the last bout. His last bout.
They fought once more, neither of them gaining the upper hand. He cast every spell he knew until he was exhausted of Mana. His son took a beating but kept going, kept attacking and defending. Finally, his son managed to disarm him. His son adapted it from the maneuver he taught the boy. By hooking both tips of his twin blades under the hilt, he was able to apply leverage and flip the Flamberge from his hand.
Exhausted and spent, he fell to his knees. He was proud of his son for having surpassed him and satisfied that he was finally going to die. Finally, he would join his wife.
But the final blow never came. Lloyd's sword stopped at his throat.
"You've… grown strong," he rasped.
"It was… thanks to you," Lloyd responded.
"Aren't you… going to finish me?" he asked, waiting for his son to push his blade into his throat and end his life. His son stared at him for moments too long to count before he lowered his blade.
"I defeated Kratos, the Angel, the one who betrayed us," his son said. "And I forgive Kratos, the hero of the Ancient War, who helped us. That's all." His son closed his eyes and breathed deeply. In the end, it appeared he would have to do this on his own.
"Hmph…" He forced himself to stand. His legs cried out in frustration and agony, but he pushed them regardless. This had to be done. "…and I thought I'd finally earned the right to die… But you're as soft hearted as ever." He forced his legs to move again and walked toward Origin's marker.
"H…hold on!" cried his son. "You can't be…" The boy quickly stood in front of him, blocking his way. "Are you going to break the seal?"
"Is that not," he paused. The pain in his side flared for a second. He clenched his teeth and forced himself to work through it. "That is what you desire, is it not?" He pushed past his son and walked closer to the marker.
"But then…" his son mumbled, "…you'll…"
He revealed his wings once more. There was no explosion of feathers, they just appeared. Then he closed his eyes and fought through the pain to release everything. Thoughts of his son, his wife, and all the time they'd spent together so long ago were what he conjured in his mind. That was what he wanted to die thinking of. He let go of all the energy he had left in him. A light exploded from his chest and entered into the maker that was Origin's. Then he collapsed.
"Kratos!" His son raced forward to his side. However it was another face that appeared over him. The hand that belonged to that face slammed down onto his chest approximately where the light exploded from and a warm tingling filled his body.
"Don't worry," said his friend as he pumped his body full of Mana, "he's alive. I've given him some of my Mana to survive on until his body can produce its own again. Stupid fool."
He released a frustrated sigh. "It looks like I failed to die once more," he said.
"You… you stupid jerk!" his son shouted. Lloyd's voice echoed throughout the clearing. A monster was startled and quickly scurried into underbrush. The sudden burst of sound woke him up a little. "You can die any time! But when you die, that's the end. What will you accomplish by dying? Nothing! There is no meaning in dying!!"
He saw the truth in his son's words. To think he would learn such an obvious truth from his own son, after all this time alive. He looked at his son and realized how foolish he'd been. He couldn't die yet. His boy still needed him. It was clearly there, the need, in his son's eyes. "You're… right…" he said. And then he was out like a light.
"Kratos!" Lloyd shouted.
"Kratos will be fine," said Yuan, "form the pact with Origin."
And so ends this one shot. I don't think I need to explain where it fits into the game. As for why I wrote it, well, it was for another project called Sno Phoenix. Some of you may have heard of it. If not, you will soon. Mwahahaahaha.
Thanks for reading.
Beta work done by Canada Cowboy. Thanks CC.