The sun shone down on the clear, blue water that surrounded Palmacosta. Clouds gently drifted around the sky, casting wispy shadows on the water and over the cobblestone streets. Marta leaned over the railing separating her from the drop to the water below. It was a short fall; the path itself was built only a foot above the waves, if the waves lapped high enough, they could have covered the pathway. Today, however, the weather was perfect, the water like glass.
"I'm going to make the difference, Emil…" whispered Marta to the air as if her lost love would hear, "You forfeit your life for the world, so I'm going to make sure that it deserves your sacrifice. I'll find a way for Tethe'alla and Sylvarant to live in peace in this world, a different way than Daddy did. I think that would be fitting…"
The wind was the only recipient as it stole her words and carried them out to sea…or perhaps it was taking them to Emil himself. She hated the thought of him remaining in the Ginnungagap forever. Once Mithos and Lloyd finished helping him seal it, he was locking the door so that no one ever interfered with it again.
She could not blame him for that; the demons possessed the mind, twist it so that the victim could hear the screams of their loved ones. For Marta, it had been her mother, screaming for Marta to release her. She might have succumbed had the others not been there to explain what she was hearing.
So lost in thoughts was Marta, that she did not hear the soft footsteps until they were right behind her. For a long moment, she debated ignoring them in favor of simply continuing to stare out into the ocean, but, after a moment, she turned.
Her blue eyes flooded with tears and she gasped, the boy that faced her was short, only a few inches taller than her own head. He stood looking awkward and cute; one had rubbing the back of his neck while the other rested by his side; his bulky clothing did not serve to disguise the fact that he was more lanky bone than muscle. His hair was stuck up at odd angles as if he had slept on it oddly, one piece in particular that stood on end on the top of his head just begged to be trimmed.
It was not, though, any of these features that Marta took in, no, it was the bright green eyes, both trained on her, that she stared at.
"I-impossible…" she whispered through her tears, tears that she did not realize she shed. "Emil!"
Marta was in his arms; Emil's closing around her back, before either of them had realized she had moved. "Emil, oh Emil! How…" she asked softly, "how are you here…?"
He chuckled softly, "Ratatosk figured that between he and Richter they could handle it down there for a few years while I finish my life…" He smiled brightly. "I missed you…"
It was too quiet. The world was in perfect order; the sun shone, the clear water that flowed around the Tree glistened in the heat. Sophie, Tut, Nero, and Eon were all playing in the crystal water and Yuan and Martel were walking while Mithos was away, once again checking on the now-sealed Ginnungagap, as was his new duty. Kratos was horrified to find that Lloyd's quick ability to find himself bored did not, in fact, come from his mother.
The world was too quiet, and life too relaxed for a man who had lived his whole existence by the sword. With no one to return to, he found himself, more or less, camping with Mithos and Yuan. It was not as if the arrangements were uncomfortable, they had lived in closer quarters, but life was too…peaceful.
Lloyd was gone again, off to finish his exsphere hunt. Kratos had been hoping, had almost expected, to be invited along, but Lloyd had said nothing, simply waved goodbye as he left them to the Tree. To say that he felt abandoned would be an understatement.
Still, he could only sit and watch the monsters frolic and talk to Yuan and Martel and wait to be needed again. He would have liked to visit Anna, but when he had tried to do so, Dirk had not left him alone for a moment, and he had gracefully retreated with the dwarf glaring on.
Kratos was instantaneously snapped from his rather depressing train of thought when he was tackled from behind. The blurred red and familiar embrace informed him of the culprit almost at once, but his hand had still jumped to his sword before he could force himself to relax.
"Lloyd," he grunted, still pinned under Lloyd's weight, "may I ask what you think you are doing…?"
"Hugging…" Lloyd gave his midriff a tight squeeze before crawling off of his father and beaming at the older man. "I've got a surprise for you…" from the excited light in his son's eyes, Kratos almost knew he would regret asking, but Lloyd's enthusiasm was rubbing off.
"Dare I ask?"
"Guess what it is!"
Kratos rolled his eyes, "I have not the faintest idea, do inform me."
Lloyd stuck his tongue out at his father, "Come on…you're no fun. I'll give you a hint…it floats!"
At his words, Kratos raised an eyebrow, "It floats…" Suddenly, a conversation they had had years ago, back in Sylvarant, before the Tower of Salvation and its damning affects, resurfaced. Kratos could remember the child that Lloyd had been, his red-brown eyes sparkling as he thought of his next adventure, one that would take him around the world exploring, and him asking he, Kratos, to come. He had always wanted a boat…and now Kratos feared he had one.
Lloyd's eyes were bright once again and he knew that his father had put his hint to the real thing. "Can you believe it?! I bought it from a man in Palmacosta; it's still there now, 'cept I've got a little problem… I've got no idea how to drive a boat…"
"You do not drive a boat, Lloyd, you sail a boat, and what do you mean you bought a boat?!" Kratos eyed his son, wondering if this was another of his odd dreams bearing fruit. "What do you plan on doing with a boat?"
"Well," Lloyd here grew sheepish, "once you said that, after the Journey was over, you would think about sailing around the world with me…but when the Journey was over, you left." Lloyd looked up at him hopefully, "will you come with me now?"
It was a moment before Kratos realized that he was nodding. Nodding without even realizing he was doing so, in fact, it was only Lloyd's wide smile that made him realize that he had just agreed.
"Great! We set sail tomorrow!" Lloyd stood, and Kratos followed suit, still mildly surprised that he had agreed to do this. "Hey, Dad? Thanks. I really can't wait." Lloyd stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Kratos, hugging him. Kratos hugged back.
This had to be the worst idea he had ever agreed to.