A/N: Wow, the final update. I knew it would come eventually, but it's always hard to part from a story. I can't express just how much I enjoyed writing this fic. It was challenging at times, and I often wrestled with characterizations, but it worked out. Once more, thank all of you for your support, and thanks to all reviewers. So, the Epilogue is often the hardest part. However, I didn't want to just write a 'here's what happened, thank you for reading' Epilogue.
So in the spirit of originality, here's how we'll do this: I am going to tell the Epilogue through a series of Moments pieces, giving tidbits of information about the lives of our heroes. The timeframes vary, and its up to you exactly when they occur. Please, enjoy a mixture of all the genres included in this fic.
Epilogue: Dawn of a New Age
It is neither cold or warm, bright or dark. All he knew for certain was that someone is holding him. His body numb with exhaustion, and eyes burning with strain, Yuri Lowell forced his eyes to open. He blinked slowly, as strands of dark hair brushed his face gently. He slowly caught the strands and felt their texture. They are soft, and indeed black as night. Why does it feel so familiar?
"Ah, so you're awake." A soft voice spoke from just above his head. "You look just like your father when you're asleep."
He stiffened. That voice is familiar too. He hadn't heard it in years, but he could never forget it. Dark eyes cast above, he saw the smile of a beautiful woman. Her black hair flowed from her head like a waterfall of the night sky. He blinked, shocked at the face that smiled so lovingly down at him.
The woman's smile grew when she saw his lips move. "Don't force it Yui," She laughed lightly at his shock. She gently set him back down on her lap and closed her eyes. "You won you know." She opened her eyes once more, looking up into the endless blue above. "You fought well."
She knew he wasn't referring to how he had won. Her face took on a less relaxed look, "Just like your father." She sighed and shook her head. However, a loving smile lingered on her lips, "He would always ask questions at the worst times." She tucked a lock of ebony hair behind her ear and smiled down at him again. "You're close to death. You could say I'm able to be here because of that." She placed a finger to his lips to silence another question. Lovingly, she embraced the shocked Lowell on her lap, and whispered into his ear. "Leave this place; make Estelle happy."
"Mother," His numb body tensed suddenly, as feeling rushed back into him. The rushing winds around him, the pain in his chest, the pressure in his head. He is conscious once more, and aware of his return to the world of the living.
That shout snapped him fully awake. He looked around slowly and realized he had hit the ground. After a moment of figuring out where he is, Yuri laughed. The irony was just too much. All those years ago, it had started in this very spot. He had landed in the forest outside of Zaphias, where he first encountered Fen.
Upon thinking of Fen, Yuri noticed that a blanket of fur had padded his landing. The instant he noticed, however, it bucked him off and started into the forest brush. "Fen," Yuri groggily barked after the retreating wolf. Is he going just leave like that? His suspicion, however, stopped when he got a good look at the wolf. When Fen turned, he saw that his body is now half white and the other black. "You fused with Durendel, that's why Demigog's body suddenly fell apart."
Fen opened his mouth, as if to answer, but snapped his head around when another yell called for Yuri. The others are getting closer. He looked to Yuri, blinking to silently speak. Something is wrong, and he needs to go.
"Will you be back?" Yuri caught the gist of what Fen wanted. Whatever is wrong, he can't be around people to solve it. Fen nodded with a wolfish smirk. "I'll hold you to that." He watched as Fen turned and dashed into the thick brush.
Yuri felt the world spin when a blur of pink tackled him. He blinked, winded by the sudden appearance of his excited princess. "Oh Yuri, we were so worried, I thought I lost you! Are you alright, do you need me to heal your wounds? Are you hungry, thirsty, soar?"
With a warm smile, Yuri let Estelle babble on for a few more seconds before stopping her with a quick kiss. "Estelle," He met her emerald eyes, "it's good to see you're alright too."
Estelle blinked, finally taking in what was before her. It hadn't dawned to her that Yuri is no longer fused with Rem and Ebon. He's back to normal; back to his smirking, sarcastic, and sweet self. "Yuri," She embraced him again, savoring the familiar essence of his torso.
"Ah, young love!" Raven jumped out of the brush, dramatically motioning to the sky. "It sparkles just like the rain that falls from the sky." He motioned to the sparkles of light that still fell from above.
A random group of Black Brigade members popped their heads out of the brush. The females of the group swooned at Raven's poetic, and dramatic, statement. Yuri could practically see the hearts in their eyes. "Oh, such beautiful words Master Raven."
"Ladies," Raven turned to them, grinning. The second his teeth gave off a strange glint, a boot met the side of his face.
A frowning Rita lowered her foot and dusted off her hands. "I don't know what to say to you anymore." She ignored Raven's groan and looked to Estelle and Yuri. "See, I told you he was fine." She threw a glance back to the bushes.
"Y-You were all watching!?" Estelle hid her crimson face in Yuri's chest when their friends emerged from the bushes.
Karol grinned and rubbed his nose, "Oh come on, you act like we caught you doing something naughty." He laughed when Estelle's face grew even redder and Yuri rolled his eyes. His laughing quickly faded when he caught Nan glaring at him. "Ahehe, ahem," He cleared his throat awkwardly.
"That's better." Nan nodded, pleased with her ability to rope Karol back in.
"It does a man proud to see his friends embark on the journey of love." He grinned when he heard another chorus of swoons, "Ladies," A wink and a smile nearly gave the women of the Black Brigade a heart-attack.
Repede groaned and rolled his eyes. Everyone needs a fan-club I guess. "Woof!" He barked and shifted his pipe. Someone is missing.
"Hey," Rita looked around, "where's Fen?"
"He's fine," Yuri quickly tried to keep her from losing herself. A crying Rita, for any reason, never resulted in anything good. "He has to deal with some business, so he left as soon as I woke up." He gave her a sympathetic smirk when he saw disappointment flash through her eyes.
Judy smiled, "Don't worry Rita, Fen will be back." Her smile shifted in its usual way, a sign she is about to tease someone. "He's like a dog with you. He'll find his way back."
It took Rita awhile, but she finally caught what she was insinuating and blushed. "S-Shut up already. Geez, you're all a bunch of perverts." She folded her arms and looked away.
Flynn laughed at everyone's antics. After a stretch of comfortable silence, he asked the question they are all avoiding. "So what now?" Their adventure is over. Demigog is gone, Cain is dead, and there is peace once more in Terca Lumireis.
"The usual," Caleb leaned on his lance and grinned, "have a party, say our goodbyes, and get back to living our normal lives." His grin grew a bit bitter, "Or start building normal lives."
"So is that it?" One black knight asked, "Are we just going to disband?"
Raven put his behind his head and smirked, "I doubt Joseph will just break the brigade."
"Hey," Yuri blinked, "where is my old man? Sheez, he's always disappearing at the worst times." He glared into the distance. His glare melted into a confused look when he spotted Judy pointing to her left with a sad expression. He looked over and found his father, kneeling on the ground. "Old man?" He didn't respond, "Dad?"
Yuri was on his feet in the flash, fearing the reason why his father is slumped over, "Hey, answer me!" He turned Joseph around and almost yelped (almost) at what he saw.
Joseph's face was pale, tears leaking from his dark eyes in large drops. He sniffled before looking up to the sky, throwing his hands into the air, "Why couldn't it have been me!?" He broke down into shameless sobs and wrapped his arms around Yuri, "He, he was like a son to me!"
Two knights appeared at his sides, patting him on the shoulders. "It'll be alright sir."
"Yeah, he wouldn't want you to cry over him."
Yuri blinked, "Who are we talking about again?" His face took on a look of disgust when Joseph pressed his cheek to Yuri's still crying like an infant.
"I-I remember, when I first named him." He sobbed bitterly, "He was the," He sniffled, "he was the cutest shade of grey!" He went into another fit of blubbering, heavily leaning on a confused Yuri.
"Who are you talking about!?"
A rough sigh broke the strange scene when Sebastian walked out from the trees. He was in the middle of wiping his hands on a stained rag.
"How is he? Tell the truth!" He held on to Yuri tighter.
Signaling for him to calm down, Sebastian gave an astute response, "Well, the damage is heavy. It'll take quite a bit of recovery before things will be back to working condition." He placed the oil-stained rag on his shoulder, "But with some elbow grease, the King's Bane will fly again."
Joseph's crying instantly stopped, "Very well then, get on it." He looked to Yuri and shoved him away before brushing off his armor, "What the heck are you hanging on me for boy? You shame yourself in front of my daughter." He looked to Estelle, "Thank you for putting up with my worthless son."
Too busy blushing at being accepted as Joseph's daughter, Estelle missed Joseph's insult to Yuri, "Oh," She looked down with pink cheeks, "please Mr. Lowell, you're embarrassing me."
"You screwed up old geezer!" Yuri roared, beside himself at his father's latest fiasco. He leaped at him, intent on breaking his father's body in two.
Joseph laughed and accepted the challenge, "Oh ho, I see. So you wish to be a man after all. Come, come so I can teach how to be a true alpha male my son!"
From afar, Duke watched with a twitching eye. Are these the heroes of his precious Terca Lumireis? "Elucifer, my old friend, I don't know what this world is coming to." He turned and started walking into the wilderness before him. After a few steps, he smirked a little, "But I must admit. With those children, this new age will be one to remember."
In all of us, there lurks wolves. One is white, the other is black. One is good, the other is evil. Mankind chooses for itself which wolf it will feed. Will it feed the wolf of goodness, righteousness, and justice, or the wolf of greed, cruelty, and lawlessness? Fate, lies only in our hands...
Moments: Tales of Vesperia
She let out a relieved breath and smiled with satisfaction. After all this time, she finally finished the last page. Her smile grew when strong arms hugged her from behind, and a chin rested on her shoulder. Lovingly, she leaned her head against his, enjoying the warm silence.
"So you're finally done?" His hands reached out to open the book when she hummed a 'yes'. He flipped through the pages and skimmed, chuckling at a few lines. "You've gotten better."
"That's sweet," She leaned back into him, slightly displeased with how her chair got in the way.
He smiled, "No really, this one is good. Though I'm a bit too mushy for my liking." His tone said he was teasing her. She played along and gave him the pout he is looking for. After all this time, her expressions are still as cute as ever.
"It's your own fault." She snapped the book closed and stood up from her chair. Stretching, she turned and fell into his arms, hugging him loosely. "You've learned to be quite mushy," She smiled at her mocking use of the word, "after a bit of trial and error." She silenced a response with a kiss. Without a second thought, their lips parted, only to meet once more in a deeper kiss. "How did your assignment go?"
Not surprised by the change of subject, he shrugged. "Nothing to write home about." He flinched at his choice of words. He still can't avoid these things with her.
She gave him a stern look, but with an understanding smirk. "I know, you never write home when you leave on your trips." She swiftly tidied up a few things around their small home, eyes closed. She just can't keep the content smile off of her face. "And when you do write home," She felt his follow her into the kitchen, "you never write more than two sentences."
"And one always says I love you." He leaned against the frame of the doorway, smirking his smug smirk. She both loved it dearly, and hated it. When she kept her back to him, he walked over to her and hugged her again. His hands gently made their way over her thin waist and kissed her smooth neck. "I'm sorry?" He kissed her neck again and smirked when she sighed. She does that when she needs to hide a moan. Something about it being more "ladylike" and such.
"Not yet you're not." She took up a wooden spoon and hit his hands. It wasn't hard enough to truly hurt, but it did get him to let go.
"You're getting good at this whole 'act like I'm angry' thing." He strolled over to the kitchen table and plucked a strawberry from the fruit bowl. "I like it." He swallowed the fruit and snapped around, eyes cast downwards. At the door of the kitchen, he spotted a pair of large green eyes, and a head of black hair.
"Daddy!" It rushed at him and threw its arms around his neck.
He greeted her with a large hug of his own, "There's my girl!" He lifted her high into the air and grinned, "Where've you been? I expected you to attack me as soon as I got through the door."
The little girl giggled, "You and mommy always act icky when you get home." She made a face and giggled again when her father laughed.
"Oh, you mean like this?" Her mother glided over to her father and kissed him on the cheek.
The little girl stuck out her tongue, "Eww, I thought you are done being icky."
"Icky you say?" Her father smiled at her.
"Yup, icky, just like boys." She missed the pleased smile on her father's face. Instead, a low voice from behind her caught her attention.
"Does that mean I'm icky too?"
"Pappy!" The little girl wiggled out of her father's hold and rushed into the spread arms of the older man. "Pappy, you're too old to be a boy." She laughed at his silly grin, and hugged his neck.
"Funny," The girl's father chuckled, "still acts like a little boy to me."
"Yuri," The mother pinched him scoldingly.
"Marie!" The little girl sang with a giggle.
Pappy grinned at her joke, "Joseph,"
Yuri feigned amusement, "The both of you are very funny." He smirked, despite his dry sarcasm. Smiling, he looked to the cute Marie, "Hey, do you want to go and play with Repede today?"
Her eyes lit up light two huge lights, "Will the puppies be there too?"
"I bet they will be." Estelle smiled brightly at her little girl, "He never lets them out of his sight."
Yuri chuckled, "I don't see how something could go wrong. Thanks to Repede's reputation, they're like the royalty of Zaphias' dog population." He scooped up his daughter and placed her on his shoulders. He didn't fight the happy curve to his lips when he felt her small hands on his head.
"Daddy," She gently tugged on a lock of his black hair, "now that you're back, can you teach me how to do that cool wave thingy with my sword?"
"WHAT!?" Estelle bristled with indignation.
Yuri laughed nervously and dashed out of the room, "Nothing bye Estelle!" His laughter grew when Estelle called after him, and Marie squealed with excitement at his fast pace. "Hey Marie, do you want to stay with Pappy tonight? Your mother and I need to talk a little tonight." He meant something else, but the innocent on his shoulders didn't need to know that.
"Kay 'kay, Pappy is fun!"
Back at the house, Estelle huffed. That Yuri, going behind her back like that. Her frown curled up into a smile. "Just like her father." She raised the wooden spoon and slapped Joseph's hand away from the cookie jar. Giggling, she decided it's time to start on dinner.
Joseph sighed, having failed at swiping a cookie. "Children these days, so disrespectful to their elders." He plopped down at the kitchen table and skimmed through the newspaper resting on it. "Estelle," They didn't look at each other, "are you happy?"
She didn't pause to think. The answer is as clear as her laughing, emerald eyes. "More than I've ever been." Estelle recalled the last line of her book, and felt herself giggle.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Moments: Same Place
Finally, after months of planning, they managed to assemble at Halure. A picnic under the tree, amidst the falling pink pedals. It was relaxing, memorable, and slightly painful for a certain mage. She hid her ache well, laughing with Estelle and Judy, making fun of Karol, and watching Raven strike out while hitting on women. Caleb's unusual talent for juggling occupied their attention for awhile, and even drew a small crowd.
With warm applause for his performance, Caleb joined everyone for their picnic. All the traveling with Judy must have really done something, because she could hardly guess that he used to be their enemy.
"Hey, who swiped my rice ball!?" Rita glared towards a puffy-cheeked Karol and growled at him. "You little dweeb! I'll strangle you!" She chased him around the giant tree, laughing when he screamed like a little girl. "Just wait until I show Nan those pictures of you in those girl clothes!"
Karol looked back, pale as a ghost. "Y-You wouldn't!"
Everyone smiled when Rita let out her most diabolical laugh, scaring a few of the townsfolk. They aren't unfamiliar with the rumors from Aspio.
"This is so nice." Estelle poke from between Yuri's legs, back pressed against his chest. "Everyone seems so happy to see each other."
"I suppose." Yuri eyed Rita knowingly.
Estelle saw Judy exchange glances with Yuri and a strangely silent, and behaved, Raven. "I'm missing something. What's wrong?"
"She's either strong, or in denial." Raven observed, mellowly stroking his rough chin. Repede whined, pausing from eating his rather large turkey leg.
It instantly hit Estelle what they were talking about. How could she have forgotten? Rita had told her once how she and Fen met. It was right here, in Halure, under the tree. "This must be hard for her. Why didn't she say something?"
"That's not her style."
Judy nodded sadly, "Yeah, she's a stubborn girl." She smiled, "But that's why we love her."
"I hear that one."
"We should do something for her, to make her feel better." Estelle gave her friend a sad look. Rita is still chasing Karol, breathing threats against his life now. Perhaps this is her venting? Hard to tell with a short-tempered mage.
"Are those apples?"
Yuri lifted the tray to the one who asked, "Yup, help yourself."
"Don't mind if I do."
Moments went by, many of which filled with the crunching of fresh apples. Finally, after piecing the pieces together, their eyes shot over to the person wolfing down the tray. He grinned at them and signaled for his friends to keep from yelling. Estelle couldn't help but mouth a warm welcome. He had figured she would.
Oblivious to the extra body slip up the tree, Rita cornered Karol. His back was pressed against the trunk, knees shivering like a frightened animal. She cracked her knuckles and closed in, chuckling impishly.
"C-Come on Rita, it was just one rice ball." He squeaked pathetically. Berserker or no, Rita is scary!
She flexed her fingers, aiming to grab him by the collar. "It wasn't just any old rice ball twerp. It was filled with apple jel-" She stopped and dropped her arms. She averted her eyes from his surprised eyes and sighed. "Whatever." She turned on her heel and started to the Inn. Suddenly, this picnic doesn't seem fun anymore.
"Rita?" Karol blinked, worried for his friend. Mean as she is to him, he thought of her as his abusive older sister. Seeing her look so... sad suddenly made him feel terrible.
As they planned, the group stayed at the Inn that night. It was a sort of reunion tradition they decided to start. The last thing any of them wanted, was to lose touch with their closest friends. Unfortunately, Flynn and Sodia had business to attend to this year, so they were unable to make it. Yuri teased them about "going on an early honeymoon", but soon regretted it. Flynn had plenty of stories about him "serenading" Estelle.
The night was thankfully cool. It really didn't matter to Rita though. Bunking with Estelle and Judy was always comfortable in the past. She felt sort of bad for Yuri. Surely Raven and Karol snored, but that's what he gets for being a sarcastic jerk.
"Ugh," She softly growled and threw off her covers. Its the perfect night to sleep, and she can't even close her eyes. "Why now?" She groaned and wiped her tearing eyes in frustration. The day she stops researching, she reverts to crying little girl. Nice Mordio, real nice. "I need air."
Leaving her shoes off, Rita quietly left the Inn. She had slipped on her Seeker outfit, figuring it made her look better than her usual red clothes. She walked her way up the path and to the trunk of the Halure Tree. She eyed the very spot where she had seen Fen and sighed. "Stupid mutt." She cursed herself when her voice cracked, and her eyes burn with fresh tears.
How did he get this close? To make her cry so much, it's shameful. "Get a hold of yourself already!" She growled and placed her head against the tree. Her will to stop, however, only made the tears fall hotter and faster. "Why did you leave? Again." She couldn't stop a sob from breaking her shell of indifference, now crying openly.
Through her pained sobs, she didn't hear footsteps approach from behind her. The person stood there and watched her, thinking of what to say. He decided a direct approach is best. "Jeez, it's awkward when you cry."
Rita's head shot up, a gasp exploding from her throat. Whirling around, she saw Fen standing there, smirking sadly at her. His hands are in his pockets, his eyes sparkling in the moonlight. "F-Fen?" She hoarsely whispered, as if afraid this wasn't real. She stood up on shaky legs and bolted to him. Hallucination or not, she didn't care.
Fen gladly caught her in his arms and held her close. "I'm sorry, I couldn't risk hurting you." He let her cry into his shoulder before gently setting her down. Lifting her chin, he kissed her. "I'm sorry."
"You jerk." She sobbed when he kissed her again. "Coward," He kissed her again. "Bastard." Yet another kiss. Rita bit her lip when he pressed his forehead to hers. "Mutt."
"Now there's the Rita I love so much."
"Huuuuuuhhh!?" Karol whined when Nan repeated the words he prayed were just a joke. "You still remember that!?"
"Humph, two more days for forgetting!" Nan glared down at him. He's on his knees, practically begging her to let him off with a warning. "You need a reminder that you can't boss me around! Starting right now, you are on probation!"
"Noooo!" Karol cried out, horrified by the implications.
Nan, ignoring his anguish, reviewed the rules, "You are here by forbidden to touch me for one week, forbidden to speak to me for more than ten minutes, and you have to take me to the chocolate shop at least two times." She tapped her foot when he whimpered, "Any questions?"
Knowing better than to fight the system, Karol lowered his head. "No ma'am." Sweet as she can be as a girlfriend, Nan can be quite the disciplinarian. He once burned a few strands of her hair (on accident!) and she made him be the bait for her next guild assignment. His hands were tied, and mouth plugged with an apple.
"Good boy." Nan smirked devilishly. She loved running Karol through the ringer, only because he loved it too. "Now come on, I want chocolate."
"B-But I have paperwork to do." Karol yelped when Nan looked back at him sharply. Her harsh expression melted to one of indifference.
Examining her perfectly managed nails, Nan shrugged. "Two weeks." She practically sang it. She knew its like tightening his collar. For such a shy boy, Karol was quite the touchy-feely type. She loved that part of him, not only because it's an easy place to punish him.
"I'm sorry, we'll go right now!" He smiled nervously.
Nan smiled at him, "Good," She started off for the chocolate shop, Karol following like an obedient pet. Of course Nan didn't see him as such truthfully. Both of them loved this little game they play, even if people find it strange and unhealthy. The perfect match: a masochist and his personal sadist.
Moments: Old War Dogs
"Checkmate... again." Joseph smirked in triumph. Raven sat across from him, his white chess pieces scattered in defeat. "Honestly Raven, are you even good at this game?"
Raven grumbled, "Of course I am. Every knight learned how to be at least decent at chess." He sighed heavily and slouched in his chair. "Its not fair I tell you. It must be old age." He smiled when Joseph glared across at him.
"For the final time, you are not old." Joseph ran a hand through the greying streaks in his buzzed hair. "I'm older than you and Duke." He pointed to said swordsman, busy reading a book, "If you're old, then I'm ancient." Joseph growled when Raven's grin grew. "Tell me this isn't the life of retirement." He glared down at the chess board. "What's an old dog to do when he no longer has a reason to bark?"
Duke turned the page of his book, "You're loud."
"And you're a prick." Joseph shot back.
Duke sighed calmly, "I'd expect a man of your caliber has more class."
"Bah," Joseph laughed, "this comes from the skinny little albino kid that couldn't stop idolizing me when the Great War started? Come off your high-horse," He grinned wickedly, "Sidney."
Duke's red eyes glared at Joseph, snapping the book shut. "I've told you never to speak of that name." His glare switched to Raven when he heard him laugh.
"S-Sidney!?" Raven continued to chuckle, "Y-Your name used to be Sidney!?"
"I hate you both."
Joseph leaned back in his chair, "Awww, what's the matter Sidney? There's nothing to be ashamed of. It's a very pretty name." He chuckled when Raven fell over from laughing so hard.
"At least I'm not balding." Duke smirked when Joseph gasped, hands shooting to his head.
"I beg your pardon. I simply couldn't see the grey hairs." Duke returned to his book, satisfied when Joseph rushed to a mirror.
"Lowell men do not bald, and our hair remains black till the day we die!"
It didn't take long for everything to settle down again. The three men sat in silence, passing the time through chess, books, and memories. All three has lost so much since that fateful day. Two lost loved ones, all three lost friends. That's what war does, take and never gives back. Not a day goes by that these men wish for their lost ones to be at their side. But age has scarred over the injuries.
They are so experienced, so familiar with the world. They were neck-deep in the past age, when humans fought beast. Now, with the Spirits, they witness a new age. There will always be battles, people who lust for power, who will exploit the poor and unfortunate. However, with heroes like the younger ones, there is hope for this world.
In this new age, they're just old men, watching a bright future form around them.
Honestly, he hardly is in need of such a thing. However, it is regulation. Every knight scoffed at the very idea. This guy has taken virtually everything that can be thrown at him, and they still want him to have a guard in his hallway? To the entire order, it seemed like a waste of time and manpower.
That's why she found getting the job so easy. To many, it seemed like a demotion. I mean, she was on the verge of leading a brigade of her own! How can she possibly juggle brigade obligations and simple guard duty? Well with a Commandant like Flynn, she learned that anything can be done.
It's her third night guarding the spotless hallway. It hadn't taken long for her to learn that humming can pass the time, especially during times of peace. She hated needless fighting, but also missed the thrill of uncertainty. "The last guard was right," Sodia stopped to lean against the wall, "this is very boring." She fiddled with a short lock of her blonde hair and continued to hum to herself. Sighing, she decided now was as good a time as any.
"Commandant," Sodia knocked on the door. On the third knock, Flynn's door opened, revealing a weary blonde knight. Sodia smirked, "I assume you're ready for a break."
Flynn rolled his eyes, "Please, save me from those dreaded papers." He flexed his writing hand and groaned. Seeing her nod with a smile, Flynn followed her through the halls. It's a bit late to leave the castle, so a simple stroll through the halls would have to do. "Anything you need to talk about?" He broke the neutral silence between them.
"Um," Sodia thought to herself, "not that I can think of." She looked back at him and clearly saw his expression. He needed human contact, any topic would do. Honestly, if you're such a social person, why do you focus so much on paperwork? "Well, there is one thing."
The pair picked a nearby window to stop and talk. It allowed rays of silvery moonlight to further light the warm colored halls. Sodia cleared her throat, suddenly a bit uncomfortable. "I hate to pry Commandant," She caught his strange look and corrected herself, "Flynn. Sorry." She gave him a sheepish grin. Old habits are hard to break.
Satisfied, Flynn shrugged. "No point in being formal when its just the two of us Sodia." He smiled at her, "Pry away."
"Well, I don't want to be a pest." She continued to shift her feet.
Flynn rolled his eyes, though amused by her tame behavior. "You can never be a pest Sodia. Now what's on your mind?"
"It's about that... uh, thing you wanted to tell me when things calmed down." Sodia looked everywhere but towards him. "I was just wondering what it was."
She mentally berated herself when she saw his face grow serious. Had she gone too far? Sodia instantly waved it off, "N-Nevermind Comman- I mean Flynn." She took a calming breath. This is hardly the time to act like a school girl. "If you'd rather tell me on your own time, that's fine." She held up her hands, signaling that she is backing off of the subject. However, she couldn't stop a surprised gasp when Flynn took her hands into his.
"Ahem," Flynn cleared his throat, "well, I'm not too good at this type of thing." He spoke mysteriously. "I mean, I wasn't raised in nobility, so forgive me if I do this wrong."
Sodia blinked. Is he nervous about something? "Um, Flynn, are you-" She never finished.
He held up a hand, "Please, let me do this." Flynn took a deep breath, calming his nerves. "Sodia Almee Hansworth, will you do me the honor of courting you?" He put on the most serious face he could.
Sodia blinked, deciding whether to blush, faint, laugh, and cry. She settled on blushing, but while she stifled a wave of laughter. She expected Flynn to be hurt by her laughing, but he remained focused on her. He wanted words, not a reaction. "F-Flynn, um I'm not really the one you should be asking." She clarified her amusement anyway. He needed to know after all.
"Really?" Flynn's serious face softened to that of a curious child. "Then, uh, who should I be asking?"
Sodia gave him a smirk, "My father."
Disappointed in himself, Flynn looked down and scratched the back of his head. "Oh, right. That makes sense I guess." Why do nobles have be so difficult to figure out?
To say Sodia was enjoying this moment is an understatement. The more time she spent with Flynn, the more she got to see him when out of his comfort zone. Before, it would've made her feel strange, but now it only made her love him more. The way he looks down when uncomfortable is a little cute.
Taking pity on the man, Sodia stepped forward and embraced him. "Well, it was sweet of you to ask anyway. I'll admit, I wouldn't expect any noble to even consider my opinion on simple courtship."
This seemed to make Flynn feel better, "Um, thanks." He chuckled at how silly the whole scene must be. "So just for the record," He saw her eyes look up to meet his, "what's your answer?"
Sodia blushed, suddenly feeling her mouth go dry. Through all of that, she hadn't even thought of how she should answer him. Her cheeks growing hotter, Sodia glanced around quickly. It would be improper for a patrol to suddenly pass by and see them. Deciding swiftness is better in this situation, Sodia quickly pecked him on the lips. "Yes." Her small reply was all Flynn needed to spin her around, laughing with happiness.
Before he set her down, Sodia sighed with a smile. This is going to be an interesting courtship.
Moments: Heaven or Hell?
The open skies, the cool breeze, the sense of freedom, nothing beat going on a relaxing trip across the world. There is always something to see, people to meet, and events to attend. You don't appreciate the world you live in until you see just how interesting it is. However, an adventurer of any kind always has their favorite spot.
"Heaven or Hell!? Can this dynamic couple climb their way to the top!?"
Amidst the roar of the crowd, two Krityans stood ready to meet their next challenge. Nordopolica's visitors and citizens screamed their praise for this strange sight. How many people get to see not one, but two Krityans taking on the infamous colosseum?
"Take a bow Caleb, the crowd loves you."
"And let you get the jump on the next round? Not on your life Judy."
Their teasing stopped when another horde of monsters approached them. The usual, dramatic intro from the announcer was flooded out when they had clearance to begin the fight. Needless to say, the duo made quick work of the mid-level monsters. "You know," Judy ducked under a claw and drove Brionac upwards, "I'm glad I never used a blastia."
"Why's that?" Caleb parried a mouth of fangs and used the pole of his lance to drive the beast into the ground.
"Fighting would be too easy with one."
Her old friend laughed and shook his head. "You make it sound like a game." He dropped low, and swept his lance in a wide crescent. He heard a handful of monsters cry out, stunned by the low attack. He saw Judy finish them with a well placed Moonbeam.
She smiled when the crowd cheered for their latest victory. "Oh, I wouldn't say it like that. I just like the challenge." Judy blinked at him with a cute expression, hoping to make him blush.
Flexing his immunity to her antics, Caleb twirled his lance and looked away. "Uhuh, and my grandmother was Phaeroh."
"Phaeroh was a woman?"
"Oh, you're just so funny Judith." Caleb cracked his neck when the final wave of monsters came out. They were really only looking for a warm-up, but one thing led to another, and Judy got carried away... do the math. "So, what do you want to do after we're done here."
Judy looked up in thought, "Hmm, I want to go visit Estelle and Yuri in Aurnion. I hear she's pregnant with her first child."
"Probably driving Yuri up a wall."
"Hmmm? Talking from experience? I hope not."
"Don't insult me Judy. You know you're the only one for me."
"The only one that'll put up with you."
"I am hardly the one that needs toleration."
"Why, what ever do you mean?"
"That doesn't work on me Judy."
"It does when I tickle your ears."
"Why do I put with you?"
"Oh, I don't know."
"Really, stop smiling like that."
"I-I don't believe it! Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first couples champions! They don't even look winded! The heavens must have sent them straight here, to snatch victory without even breaking a sweat!"
Caleb and Judy stood with their backs together, both with a smile on their face. Separately, such easy battles wouldn't be half as fun.
"Let's hear it for the Blood Lancer, and the Dragon of Blue Lightning! They've done the Black Brigade of Brave Vesperia proud!"
Moments: The Black Brigade
I, Joesph Solomon Lowell, being of sound mind, hereby present my last will and testament as follows. To my only living relative, Yuri Gregory Lowell, I leave full command of the Black Brigade. All powers of the Black Brigade Captain, including the title of "The Black Wolf", will be transferred to his name.
To my friend Karol Capel, son of Kharon Capel III, I leave the Black Brigade itself. From this moment forward, the Black Brigade will be an entity for justice, placed under the guidance of one Karol Capel, guild-master of Brave Vesperia. All facilities, supplies, and funds under the control of the Black Brigade, will be placed under the control of Brave Vesperia, from this day onwards, until decided otherwise by Karol Capel.
To the Black Brigade itself. I leave my parting words. Keep your hearts far from greed, corruption, and self gain. We live in a world filled with good people. However, there are wolves that look to devour them. It is your duty, under the command of your new Captain, and under in your new guild, to defend those who cannot defend themselves. I hereby place partial deployment control to the Union, and the Empire. Only under mutual, majority vote, can the Black Brigade be deployed. Forty-eight hours after the issue is given to the Union and Empire, all deployment powers will be forfeited to the guild-master of Brave Vesperia, and Yuri Gregory Lowell.
Protect this world of ours, not for king or country, but for the ones you love.
-Joseph Solomon Lowell
Joseph Solomon Lowell
4450 E.B – 4491 E.B
A loving father
An honored hero
"I'm sorry for your loss young Lowell."
"Dreadful, truly dreadful."
"He was proud of you Yuri Lowell, now show the world why."
"He left our fate in capable hands."
Noble after noble, and citizen after simple citizen offered their condolences to the downcast Yuri Lowell. Estelle remained at his side, just in front of the casket that holds his father's body. By the time everyone funneled out of the gravesite, the sun was going down.
"Yuri?" Estelle snapped him from his thoughts, "Come on, we need to leave."
Taking a breath, Yuri nodded slowly. "Yeah, I don't feel too good being here." He gave her a weak smirk and took her hand in his. The pair strolled through the streets of Zaphias, and weaved through the crowds finishing their daily business. Nobody stopped to question their dark attire. Everyone knew the passing of Joseph Lowell.
Finally, they reached the pub that is under Yuri's former place of residence. Slipping through the doorway, they silently made their way to a single table. Yuri stopped, while Estelle took a seat across from a man wearing an old cloak. "You are unbelievable."
"Did it work?"
Estelle nodded, "Yup, everyone believes you really died of a heart-attack."
The cloaked man moved his hood back far enough for Estelle and Yuri to see his face. Low and behold, it was the face of Joseph Lowell. "Good, now all I need to do is take up that old nut-job on his offer for a house."
"Nut-job?" Yuri sat down beside Estelle.
"Edward Baldwen, the Noble Shepherd." Joseph snorted at the title, "More like sheep loving crackpot if you ask me." Despite his insult, Joseph smirked.
Estelle smiled at his friendly joke. "I remember you telling us you're old friends with him."
"Don't remind me." Joseph and Yuri spoke at the same time, for slightly different reasons.
Ignoring Estelle's amusement at their little moment, Yuri looked to his father, "So what's with naming me as the Black Brigade captain in your will? You never even mentioned that part of your little scheme."
"Old dogs can't protect a new peace, especially when he didn't fight for it." Joseph sipped his warm drink. Old men need to fight the winter cold.
Estelle frowned a little, "But you did fight for it."
"No I didn't." Joseph snorted, "I fought to kill Demigog. It was you and your friends that stopped the use of aer, brought the Union and Empire together, and established a new era." He took another long sip, "You can set this world up for a bright future, not an old war dog like me."
Her frown deepened slightly, "Then what will you do?"
"Sit around and sulk in his memories." Yuri smirked when Estelle gave him a disapproving glance.
Joseph reached over the table and pinched Yuri's nose, hard. With a large grin, he responded with like humor, "I'll make sure you act like a man for my daughter."
Estelle blushed at being called such. To be so easily accepted into the family at such a level is an honor to her. "I-I'm sure Yuri will do fine."
"He better, married life isn't easy." Joseph laughed.
"I hate it."
"Rita, you look fine, I swear."
"You're just saying that!"
"Yes, I am saying it because it's true."
Fen kissed Rita on her forehead and led her to stand beside Yuri and Estelle. "I still hate this dress," She motioned to her black, gothic dress, "it doesn't hide my... my-" She trailed off, as her hands rubbed her slightly protruding belly.
"Rita," Fen firmly spoke to her, "you hardly look like you're carrying, let alone carrying a pair."
Yuri watched Fen console the mage, and chuckled. "Man, I feel sorry for him. Rita's probably giving him all kinds of chores to do." He flinched when Estelle pinched his cheek with a small smile.
"Be nice Yuri." She kissed the spot she had pinched and sat down, although slowly. Unlike Rita, she's further along, and long gave up trying to hide it. Besides, she grew to be proud of her glow, or at least that's what Yuri called it during a mood swing. "Where's Caleb and Judy?" She looked around and spotted Karol trying to wake up Raven. A night of partying just before an important day wasn't exactly a good idea.
A chuckle escaped Yuri when he found the pair. Judy was helping Caleb with his tie, and accidentally started choking him.
"Oops," Judy giggled as he tried to loosen the tie, "sorry, I got distracted."
"I know I'm good looking Judy, but please try not let it be a hindrance." Caleb laughed as well, adjusting his tie to the perfect position. "Oop, here let me get that." He carefully adjusted the strap to Judy's black dress, and made sure she was perfectly symmetrical. "There, gorgeous."
"Why thank you."
"I meant the dress." Caleb was swiftly punched in the arm, "Ow, kidding, kidding."
Judy gave him a strangely sweet smile, "Maybe I need to take a lesson from Nan and put you on probation."
Caleb instantly straightened and saluted, "Ma'am, no need for that ma'am. I will be on my best behavior from now on." He smiled when she laughed.
"Good, dismissed." She turned him around and guided him to stand on the other side of Yuri and Estelle. Soon, Karol and Raven joined the group. Repede stood up from his short nap and sat down at Yuri and Estelle's feet.
"Alright, everyone looking nice," The man standing in front of them held up three fingers and started counting down, "and three, two, smile, one." He pointed his finger and clicked a button on the camera. A bright flash indicated the picture was taken, forever freezing the moment. The photographer smiled at the well dressed group in front of him, "Nice, a fine picture of the Black Brigade."
Yuri smirked, "Hey, why not one more?" It didn't take much to get everyone to agree with happy smiles.
Our world, Terca Lumireis, has begun a new age. With peace between the Union and the Empire, freedom from the fear of Adephagos, and a new found hope, we can live towards a brighter future. Mankind will never be without war, but as long as there is good in our world, darkness will never reign forever.
A/N: A happy, happy ending for our heroes. Yuri gets a daughter, Rita gets twins, Karol gets probation, and Caleb get enlisted for Judy's boot-camp. I really wish the game had ended with such finality. However, if they plan a sequel, then I'll understand a little more. Anyway, that does it for this fic. Rest assured though, I do plan on doing more stories, but none as large as this. Until I post another, I'll be taking a break. I also want to check out First Strike (Tales of Vesperia animated prequel movie) and the PS3 version for more canon material. In case you're curious, I want to focus more on the minor characters, like Hanks and Ioder (my first two targets). Interesting characters and much left to the imagination.
Anyway, enough rambling. I bid you all a farewell for now, and I hope you find more gems in the Vesperia fanfic category (there are lots, I'm sure). Thank you so much for reading, and please drop a final review!
Like glass, the dark shard of matter shattered in his palm. Balling his hand into a fist, he looked up from his grey surroundings, and to the world who's satellite he stood on. "Terca Lumereis,"...