Hi there! I've been absolutely hooked on Tales of Vesperia now, so I decided to take a little break from World Collision to give you this little one-shot. I wrote it in about a day and I hope you enjoy it!
(Oh, yeah! I'd also like to add that Tales of Vesperia does not belong to me, nor does Bandai Namco. Although if I could, I'd own Raven!) Enjoy!
The sun was blinding as it relentlessly beat down over the Sands of Kogorh. After having climbed that steep incline to the entrance of the uninhabited Mt. Temza, some members of Brave Vesperia were praying for even a cloud from the mercilessly vacant sky. Judith looked back, down the incline and spied as Ba'ul swatted away a few monsters with his tail before effortlessly gliding into the sky. Blinking the sun out of her eyes, she turned back to the group. Karol wiped his brow with his forearm, releasing an exaggerated sigh. Rita shifted her weight, placing an exasperated fist on her hip. Estelle, never seeming to break her princess-like air, looked around at her surroundings and at Brave Vesperia, clasping her hands daintily beneath her chin. Yuri gave a sigh, perching a hand on his hip as Repede sniffed the ground near his feet, his scythe-like tail slowly waving in the air.
The last person Judith noticed was Raven. He stood at the edge of the crater that remained of Mt. Temza, staring over the precipice. Aside from his slouched shoulders gently rising and falling upon moderate breath, he was motionless. His forearm was absently raised across his lower torso, a relaxed hand resting on the hilt of the tasseled dagger at his belt. She couldn't see Raven's face, but Judith assumed it was serious.
Judith began to wonder exactly why. Raven, for about as long as he'd been traveling with the group, had been an enigma. He was always coming and going, disappearing and reappearing, concealing secret identities and kidnapping princesses. Seeing him possibly get all sentimental seemed uncharacteristic of the old man.
Ten years ago, something happened in this location, something that both Judith and Raven remembered. They apparently had more in common than Judith initially thought. Had he lost a family and a home here a decade ago too? Her own memories of the Great War looming, Judith's curiosity and imagination were piqued.
Slowly and without much ceremony, Raven withdrew the sparse bouquet of fire lilies from his deep pocket. He held them out, just as a gentle breeze blew across the high hilltop. For more than one, the breeze was very welcome. As the wind blew, the vibrant, red flowers caught the eye of the rest of the guild members.
"Ah--!" Estelle gasped.
"Hey! What are you doing?" Rita exclaimed. Her tone was angry and accusatory, as usual. The others just looked on, curious eyes speculating.
"Just payin' my respects," Raven calmly replied. With a melancholy smile, he watched as the fire lilies drifted off and were lost among the rubble and dust.
"Your friend that you mentioned at Elmead Hill," Estelle began. "The one in the military; he died in the Great War, didn't he?"
Raven closed his eyes, his fingers closing around the blade handle at his hip. He sighed, gazing out across the expanse of ruin. He released a heavy sigh and nodded in the affirmative.
"I- -I'm sorry," apologized Estelle.
"That must be rough for you, old man, losing a friend like that," Yuri spoke, shifting his weight. Repede left Yuri's side and wandered to where Raven stood, sniffing the air and just catching the scent of the flowers.
"Yeah," Raven replied, looking back at Yuri. "Given yer shiny relationship with Flynn, I'm sure ya'd understand."
"I wouldn't exactly describe my relationship with Flynn as 'shiny'," answered Yuri. Raven managed a chuckle.
"So those flowers were in honor of your friend's death, right?" Asked Karol. "I think he'll really appreciate them!"
"Your friend must have been lucky to have someone like you to remember them," Estelle smiled, her clasped hands dropping down to her lap.
Raven peered back over the ledge, out beyond where he'd been looking. "Casey," he said in a lowered voice, "you will be missed."
"This friend of yours wouldn't happen to be a woman, now would it?" Yuri asked after a short pause, flicking up an eyebrow.
Judith crossed her arms just under her chest, glancing over at Raven with a surprising eagerness to hear his response.
Raven smiled, lowering his head. "Doesn't get past ya, does it, boy?"
Judith could almost swear she felt her face change into a frown. Her heart speed up a bit, which was a little unexpected.
"You mean that there was some kind of secret love affair between you and this girl in the military?" Rita enthused. "I wanna hear all the dirty details!"
Raven's eyebrows contorted. "Now, Rita dear, remember yer blood pressure…"
"Since when do you care about Raven, Rita?" Karol grinned. Raven had actually been thinking the same thing.
Rita replied with a swift smack to the back of Karol's head. "Shut up!" she shouted.
"Ow!" Karol whined. "You suck!" Rita just crossed her arms in response.
Judith stood, still hugging herself, her gloved hands gripping her elbows. "Oh! Could this be a case of unrequited love?" she smiled coyly.
Raven faced the razed city again. "Judith darlin' ya know it's not nice to tease yer elders," he said as he fingered the hilt of his tasseled blade.
Judith shifted her weight, letting her coy smile slowly melt away. Having it disappear all at once would only display her internal discord. Raven had always been so goofy, jovial and usually amorous when he addressed her, but now he seemed more like a curt, reminiscent old man than ever. She had apparently struck a nerve, and most of her regretted having said something so insensitive. This Casey was more to Raven than Judith thought. She looked up into the sky again, spotting Ba'ul gliding and hovering in the air a few miles away. Damned fire lilies, she thought as she watched her dragon entelexeia. Ba'ul floated, his body waving in worm-like motions. She could never get tired of watching him fly.
Although other guild members had been conversing for a while now, Judith was suddenly brought back by Raven's voice. "But hey, don't let me dampen yer happy moods, now," he said. It was that same light, goofy, jovial tonality that she had grown so fond of hearing.
"You're the one who brought up this sob fest, old man," Yuri playfully argued. Raven chuckled.
"I guess yer right, kid."
"Hey!" Karol exclaimed. "Something just fell from the sky!" The guild looked up, mesmerized by the item. As the unidentified falling object was identified as "Casey's favorite compact," Judith pouted a little. Fortunately, Estelle's speculation of Casey's ghost appearing, and Rita's hasty and adamant denial of its existence, amused Judith to no end.
As the group finally left, Yuri took the lead, with Repede faithfully at his side. The duo was followed closely by Estelle, Karol and Rita. Raven and Judith picked up the rear. Just like always. Judith glanced at Raven as they walked down the incline, gently perching a hand on his shoulder. Upon her embrace, he turned to her and smiled.
"I knew I could count on ya ta console me, Judy baby," he grinned.
Judith smiled, shoving him just out of her reach. There was the Raven she wanted.
Well, what did you think? I hope you liked it! I'd love to get reviews from everyone! And yes, a lot of the dialogue was taken directly from the scene in the game, infused, of course, with a few of my artistic stylings. It's not entirely word for word, but then again, you probably assumed that, didn't ya? review, review, review!