Edit: People, I'm sick of getting anonymous reviews talking about how Raven wouldn't die because of reason A or B. I know that he doesn't actually die because of the images during the credits. Can we please just enjoy a fanfiction written on a fuzzy basis? If people are allowed to do AUs and genderbends and self-inserts, I think I can bend the ending slightly. Thank you.
AN: Spoilers for just about everything important in the game. So yeah, avoid unless if you've beaten the game, or don't care.
I stared at a first-aid manual for the longest time to learn more about Heart Attacks and Medical Shock. I hope I have things right.
No real pairings, but I guess if you interpret this the right way, you can find some RitaxRaven in there. Wasn't intentional, but I 'aint stopping you from believing whatever ya want ta believe.
Though it was nighttime, the entire world glowed brightly with stars of light. They came from every corner of the lands, from the civilized cities, to the uncharted wilderness. Terca Lumereis glittered and shone brightly, and all the light gathered above the floating tower that was Tarqaron. The light converged into a great blade above the tower, which rose up and cut into the monster clinging to the world. The sword of light dug deep into the Adephagos, converting the giant, sentient, mass of aer into harmless mana.
The creature howled if such a thing could, but it could not fight back. And as the final remnants of it dissipated, all the sparkling lights fell like some sort of celestial fountain. It was a beautiful sight, a sight that took the breath away from all who looked at it. The world was saved. The Adephagos was no more, and Duke had abandoned his plan of using human lives to stop the monstrosity. It ended well, even if humanity would lose the use of blastia.
"You are strong." Duke remarked to Yuri after a short conversation, the two of them watching the falling, glittering lights that were the newborn spirits, made from both the many blastia cores sacrificed for this operation, and those who had been a part of the Adephagos. Duke still believed that his way of defeating the Adephagos would have been best for the world, but these children were so stubborn and persistent. Perhaps they would be able to teach the people of this world to act differently than they had in the past. But humanity had always been slow to correct their mistakes.
"Well, that's because I'm not alone." Yuri replied without any hesitation, a smile on his face. They had finally seen this to the end, what had started as a simple journey to find Flynn and to capture a blastia thief...had come to a conclusion with this. The formation of Brave Vesperia, the treaty between the Union and Empire, stopping Alexei's goals for power, creating the Spirits, and finally, destroying the Adephagos that threatened this world. It has been a long and hard journey, but Yuri knew they had gained more than they lost.
"Raven!" Yuri heard Karol cry out in surprise, and he spun around, to see the group clustered around the oldest member of the party. Raven had fallen onto one knee, left hand clutching at his heart, while his right hand waved the others away, as if telling them he was alright. Yuri felt his heart literally skip a beat as a sudden realization dawned upon him.
They had converted every single blastia core in the world into spirits to battle the Adephagos, rending blastia useless.
A blastia was what kept Raven alive.
Yuri hurried to the group, and was surprised to see Raven pulling himself up to a standing position. His breathing seemed to have found a regular rhythm by the time Yuri reached him, and he looked fine. The blastia that served as Raven's heart should have shut down, Yuri reasoned. So how was Raven standing there, seemingly okay?
"I told ya, I'm alright Estelle." Raven complained to the girl as Estelle began firing off a few healing spells on the ranger. Raven grabbed her wrist gently as she attempted another one to stop her. "Thank you girl, I'll be fine. Save your strength."
By now everyone had backed off a bit, each with varying degrees of confusion on their faces. In the rush to defeat the Adephagos, they had all forgotten that Raven's heart would work no longer after converting blastia into spirits, so how...?
Raven could sense their confusion, and offered an explanation.
"Alexei-" Raven spat that word as if it was a curse, "-made sure my heart was able ta function for a while after the core is removed, just in case it ever shut down on me. There's a part of the blastia that stores some energy. I didn't expect it ta work right now though, -ya kids damaged it slightly back at Baction- but it seems that it's buying me some time." Raven explained with a shrug. This was only a temporary reprieve; the stored energy won't last very long.
"Why didn't you tell us earlier?!" Rita yelled at him, barely able to control herself. She was this close to punching Raven in the face. Why didn't he say anything?! How could he have kept something like this to himself?
"Oh ya know, people at my age get forgetful. My memory 'aint what it used ta be." he remarked in his normal, light voice. He casually put his hands behind his head, and didn't look all that concerned himself. This time, Rita couldn't stop herself and she slapped Raven across the face. Hard.
"You idiot! You knew this all along didn't you? I'll ask you again, why didn't you tell us?" The young mage growled. She hated herself for not thinking of this earlier. It wasn't like her to slip like that. But in the panic, between the Adephagos and Duke...this possibility just never crossed her mind.
"Ow...darlin', that wasn't nice." Raven complained, feigning a hurt look as he brought a hand up to his face, still stinging from where Rita had hit.
"Stop evading the question old man." Yuri added in. He didn't sound happy. Behind him, Duke watched with detached interest. What would these kids think about their decision now, knowing that they had condemned a friend of theirs to death?
Raven sighed, and shook his head. "Kids, always so persistent."
"Well...?" Karol piped up, almost fearfully.
"Look, if I told ya kids earlier, would you have gone forward to defeat the Adephagos like this?" Raven asked them, suddenly dropping his arms by his side and turning serious. "Knowing you kids, you would have hesitated in makin' the decision, although I'd trust you would have made the right one in the end."
Raven jerked his thumb over his shoulder at Duke.
"From what I've seen, if we'd have been even a few hours late, Duke here woulda finished his formula, an' the people of the world would have died. I couldn't afford the delay you woulda all made." he explained. The group was silent, as they considered this. If Raven had reminded them...would they have made that fatal mistake?
Rita was just about to hit Raven hard again -more out of frustration than anything- but the ground began to shake violently. Everyone grabbed onto each other to steady him or herself, and looked around nervously.
"W-what's going on?" Karol asked nervously, using his hammer for support.
"The blastia holding this city afloat is gone." Duke explained, coming up to them. "You have destroyed it in your attempt to rid the world of the Adephagos."
"Then let's get out of here." Yuri stood up fully and headed for the stairs, everyone else following. The entire city was falling, but thankfully, nothing inside the city was crumbling. The ancients had built this place strongly, and it stayed intact. The only trouble was with keeping their footing as the entire thing shook.
Ba'ul had landed in a large square, crushing a fountain and several buildings in the process. Normally he wouldn't have dared land so high up and in such cramped quarters, but with the entire place falling, he couldn't wait for the little ones to reach the bottom.
It was rather unorganized, with the entire group scrambling to get on the Fierta. As Karol -the last one- managed to fling himself onto the boat, Ba'ul struggled to get into the air from his awkward position. Duke was nowhere in sight, but that didn't seem to bother the group too much. Duke had single-handedly added enough power to their spirit-made blade against the Adephagos to tip the scales of that battle. He shouldn't have too much trouble getting off of Tarqaron safely. Or as Rita puts it, she's glad that they were rid of that psycho.
Ba'ul finally managed to break free of the city, gliding away on large and powerful wings. The group watched as Tarqaron fell behind them, seemingly in slow-motion. But they knew the entire tower was falling at enormous speeds, and only the sheer size of it made it look like it was going much, much, more slowly.
And finally, the entire thing crashed into the crater from where it had risen, from where Aspio had once stood. Dust and debris rose into the air in massive quantities, and would have probably have been a hazard for Halure if the mountains hadn't been there to contain the dust.
The sun was just starting to rise, tingeing the eastern sky orange. And it was the first time in a long while since the sky was free of the purple tentacles of the Adephagos. Everything felt back to normal; everything of course, except the problem with one man's heart.
An hour has ticked by, since they left the top of Tarqaron.
"How long will it last?" Yuri asked Raven, finding the archer leaning against the railings at the bow of the ship. He was looking out to the south.
"Whaddaya mean?" Raven countered absently, feigning ignorance.
"Your heart, old man. How long will it last?" Yuri repeated.
"Hmmm, a few hours. Half a day perhaps." Raven replied, giving up the pretence. "Maybe a bit longer if I don't get any more scares like back at Tarqaron. All that shaking nearly gave me a heart attack."
Half a day...it seemed like an unbearably short period of time. By now Rita had stomped to Raven's side.
"Alright old man, get in the cabin!" she snapped at him. Raven looked at her with one eyebrow raised.
"We'll be at Halure soon, but I want to take a look at that blastia of yours before we get there. I...I'll figure something out." she replied with a barely controlled voice. Rita was sure she'd able to do something. If she could have helped control Estelle's Rizomata formula, then she would be able to find a new power source for Raven's heart. She had to believe that.
Raven broke out into a chuckle at this, and turned back to look out across the land.
"Don't bother. Knowing you, you'll figure something out, but I'll be dead by then." Raven was being uncharacteristically blunt about his current situation. Rita tried to punch Raven in the head, but he knew her well enough by now to duck, his smile never leaving his face.
"So that's it? You plan to just die?" she growled. She was frustrated, and perhaps because she knew Raven's words were true. She barely understood how the original formula worked for Raven's heart, one that fed off his own life. It would have taken her at least a day to do a complete analysis of such a complex blastia, which was needed if she was going to figure out any way to solve the problem. There just wasn't enough time. If only Raven's spell, Stop flow, didn't tax him so much, and lasted longer...and if only he was able to use it without his Bhodi Blastia, which was now useless...
"Hey, we're not going to let you go that easily." Yuri told the man. It was barely noticeable, but his voice was strained. The prospect of losing Raven still wasn't something that was registering right in his mind. "Brave Vesperia still owns your life, and we're not going to let you throw it away like this."
"Whatever ya say kids. But first, can we stop by Zaphias? There's something I need to do. I'm all yours after I'm finished Rita."
How could they say no?
After a quick chat with the rest of the group, Ba'ul readily changed his course. He headed south, over Deiden Hold and finally landed outside the Imperial capital. Every moment seemed so precious, and all flowed past too fast, yet too slowly at the same time.
Raven had an odd request for them as they neared the Capital. He handed his own bow to Yuri, telling the boy to keep it safe for him for a little while. In his weapon sheathe he carried the bow he had been using for the past few weeks, the Divine Cannon.
Three hours had ticked by, since they had left the top of Tarqaron.
The atmosphere between them was awkward as the party entered the streets of the Middle Quarter. Many people were pointing to the sky, which was now devoid of the monster that had threatened to destroy them. There were whispers of who had done it, had defeated the thing. A few names circulated. Flynn, the new commandant, being the name used most often.
"Well then, this won't take me long." Raven announced to the others.
"I'll be back within an hour." he assured them. Nobody questioned it; who was going to deny him this?
"You better hurry with whatever you're doing, old man. Because you'll have plenty of time to do it once I fix that heart of yours." Rita told him, her posture confident, but her voice not.
"Well, in that case, we'll meet you by the fountain in the lower quarter." Yuri suggested, and they parted ways there.
Raven watched them all depart, his carefree charade melting away. He was damn scared of this. He's died once, and he was perfectly happy to avoid that again for as long as he could. The Great War taught him that life was so fragile, like a pile of dust before the mighty wind. These kids taught him that life was precious, and there was so much more to it then he had ever known. He would miss them all. And not just the kids, but his men, Altosk, Harry...heck, even that scary woman Kaufman. Everything that seemed trivial before was now another reason for him to stay in this world.
"If ya manage to fix this heart of mine Rita..." Raven muttered, and then shook the notion from his head. No, he's set on his path, and he believed that he had made the right choice. Giving himself hope was just going to hurt that much more when it disappears.
Raven then set his sights towards the centre of the city, where the imperial castle lie. Atop it, Zaphias's barrier blastia, The Sword Stairs, glowed no longer. The regular pulses of light it once radiated had long ago dissipated with the defeat of the Adephagos. Without the barrier, nothing stood between the people and the monsters anymore, except the city itself. The protection of the people of this world is now in the hands of the Knights and the Union. The next few years will be hard on humanity, and Raven could only wish them the best of luck. If only he could be there, to motivate his knights, to watch over the kids, to see things through to a conclusion beyond the present...
If only...a useless collection of two words if there ever was one, he thought to himself. It had never been like him to imagine what could have been, but something like that was hard to shake off when you know you were at the end of your life.
As he weaved his way through the familiar streets of the Capital, he studied the reactions of those around him about the recent events. Many looked to the skies, fear in their eyes as they realized the loss of their barrier, their protector. Some, who had been better informed by the Empire of what had been going on, looked ahead with relief and determination.
Raven finally found himself in the Noble Quarters. He looked out of place amongst the fine embroidery and fancy garments of those around him. Ignoring the strange looks his way -although he couldn't help but throw a flirtatious wink to a passing young noble girl- he went past the castle.
He wanted to get away from the castle as fast as he could, but Raven couldn't help but stop along one section of the wall. An ancient oak was tended to carefully inside the courtyard, right up against this wall. One branch had long ago grown over the wall, and had begun sagging down under its own weight. With a little skillful climbing, Raven had used this tree to enter the castle many times. To report back to Alexei, when Raven would become Schwann.
The last time he had tried to sneak in during the dead of night, it had been the first time he was caught. He got thrown into the castle prison because of that. Alexei was furious with him; the ex-commandant wouldn't bail him out until several days afterwards. That's when Raven had first met Yuri. That's when the boy had first called him an old man. Was thirty-five years really that old?
A progressively uncomfortable pressure in his chest reminded him that he didn't have much time. His heart was struggling to keep him alive already, and it wouldn't last much longer. It was getting weaker and weaker by the moment. He should make this quick. If he went into medical shock before he can get back to the kids, then he wouldn't get back to them at all. It might be better for them if they didn't see his final moments, but Raven himself needed their support. It was hard enough just to keep himself calm, as to not overwork his already dying heart.
After a few more minutes of circumnavigating the road that encircled the entire castle, he stopped at a set of large, ornate gates. The Knight Academy. Those of the Captain rank and higher, as well as their aides and certain lieutenants, lived in a section of the castle. But most knights stayed here if they did not have a home in the capital, and it was where they trained, learned, slept, and ate. It was also where they were laid to rest, unless if their family requested otherwise.
The gate was hanging open, the blastia used to lock it normally now unusable. No one guarded it as it often was, as almost all knights were called upon to the protection of the city because of the lack of a barrier. As he pushed one of the doors open and stepped inside, the courtyard was empty of its usual knights.
A paved path split towards many different sections of the Academy, and he began walking down on particularly familiar path. A knight had spotted him a few minutes later, and was obviously coming over to question his presence. Raven didn't give him the chance though, slipping into a walled off area before the other knight had completely processed the fact there was an intruder; if an Imperial Knight's captain can be considered an intruder.
This area wasn't as big as the courtyard Raven had just left. Walls thick and unforgiving encircled the entire place. A path went down straight through the area leading from the gate Raven had just entered from. The path abruptly stopped about twenty meters in, ending in a sword and shield laid across a large marble coffin. It was the final resting place of the commandant before Alexei, one who had died from his injuries after the Great War. It was more than that though. The coffin was there as a monument, a memorial, to the many lives lost during that war.
Tombstones dotted the grass, rows upon rows. All of the Knights that had died in the past few decades laid here. He knew this place well. As a Captain, it was his responsibility to be present here when one of his knights was put to rest. And there was also one grave he visited frequently, and one he would like to see one more time.
As he walked further into the cemetery, the tombstones got older and older, going back further into the history of the knights. None of them looked crumbled and damaged though- the knights took care of this place well in respect for those lost. Raven stopped at a particularly large section, and knew that he had reached the place where many knights had died, ten years ago during the Great War. To think back on it now, it was such a pointless loss of life. Not only for the knights, but also for the Entelexia, and the many innocent civilians who had gotten caught up in the conflict.
He found the tomb he was looking for, and knelt down in front of it. It was a familiar place and posture to Schwann the Knight, but it was the first time Raven of Altosk had visited. He felt like a stranger here.
"Hey Casey." He murmured, one hand rubbing a bit of dirt obscuring her name on the tombstone. Schwann had loved the girl back during the war, loved the girl that had been such a strong and capable Captain. He never told her though, because she had been engaged to another man already. He stayed close with his Captain, and Casey had seen him as a good friend in the end...but she never knew his true feelings for her. Or perhaps his perceptive Captain had always known, even without his words.
The pain had faded over the years. He had accepted Casey's death long ago, just as he has had to accept the death of many dear friends in the years after the war. His mourning had been for his own loss, and not for hers.
Raven would have liked to stay here a lot longer, but he knew he couldn't delay any more. He slipped a hand behind him, underneath his trademark purple cloak to the sheath where he keeps his bow. He took out the thin, magnificent weapon called the Divine Cannon, nicknamed the Lightning Bolt by the knights back during the war. A snap of his wrist deftly opened up the blade into a bow.
"Well, here it is, I found it fer ya." Raven murmured. He looked at his sleeve, where the bow had cut a slit in the cloth when he opened it. This bow didn't belong to him, didn't feel nature in his hands. It belonged to Casey, and he had been foolish in attempting to use it.
Raven laid it before the tombstone, and then stood up. He had to stand there for a moment, hands on his knees to support himself as a wave of dizziness washed over him. He then began to walk back through the cemetery, knowing that the bow will be given to Casey's family when the knights find it before her tomb.
Four hours had ticked by, since they had left the top of Tarqaron.
When he finally stepped out of the cemetery, he found it hard to gather his thoughts together. It was hard to focus on any particular thing for very long. He shook his head to clear it, and headed towards the open gate of the Knight Academy. He had delayed too long, he realized.
"Sir!" Someone called behind him, but he ignored the voice- until he realized why it was so familiar. He turned around to see a knight clad in the uniform of his own brigade running towards him.
"Whaddaya want?" Raven asked, turning around to continue walking as Leblanc caught up to him.
"Sir Schw- I mean, Raven, I'm glad to see you again." LeBlanc saluted awkwardly, still not fully comfortable with the alias their captain seemed so intent on using. Raven didn't reply, and LeBlanc noticed that the man didn't look so well. Raven's breathing was shallow, and he seemed to be struggling to keep himself together.
"Sir! Are you alright?" Leblanc asked with concern.
Raven would have lied and gotten himself out of here, but it's rather hard to think straight, and pretty hard to hide his signs of discomfort. Damn, it felt like a mountain was on his chest, it was so hard to breath properly.
"Nah, I don't think so." He murmured in reply. He knew the pains of when his heart was malfunctioning, but it's never continued for so long. "Say, can ya help me get to the Lower Quarter? There are some friends I promised ta meet, but I don't think I can get there myself right now."
"I'm sorry, I have orders to stay at the..." LeBlanc began, but then shook his head. "Yes Sir, I'll help you."
Raven looked at him curiously, giving LeBlanc a questioning look. Disobeying orders? Now that's not very like the knight. That's not like any knight for that matter. Leblanc straightened a bit and explained.
"A great man once told me, 'A knight's job is to protect and help the civilians. Nothing should get in the way of that, not me, not the commandant, not the Empire. It is your duty.' That man was my captain, Schwann. A troublesome boy from the Lower quarter, Yuri Lowell, reminded me of that back at Halure." Leblanc answered.
Raven still remembered saying that to his Brigade, of when he first saw Alexei moving down the wrong path. He was proud that his knights would remember it, would avoid the same mistake he did.
Raven knew it was a good idea to have asked LeBlanc for help as they went through the city towards the Lower Quarter. He was dizzy and disoriented, and if it wasn't for LeBlanc walking there with him, he probably would have gotten himself hopelessly lost, even with his intimate knowledge of the city's layout.
"Damn it old man! I was starting to think you'd have died already! What took you so long!?" was the first thing he heard when the Fountain of the Lower Quarter was finally in sight.
"Rita dear, it's nice to know you care about me so much." He grinned as the mage ran up to him, grabbed him roughly by the sleeve, and dragged him down to the fountain where everyone was gathered around. He hid a wince as pain laced up his sore arms. It must be getting worse, his heart has never become this weak before, and it was probably reaching the equivalent of a heart attack. LeBlanc stood there blankly for a moment, before saluting the group and moving back up towards the middle quarter.
"There we go, that feels more natural." Raven grinned as he accepted his own bow back from Yuri, and slipped it into its sheath, where it belongs. This had been the bow he had used since the beginning of their adventure, when he had first met the kids at Keiv Moc. It felt familiar in his hands, like an old friend that had been with him since the very beginning. Raven then looked the group over. Estelle was picking up a mountain of books, ranging through several topics, from aer, to blastia, to the human cardiovascular system. It seems like the entire group had been discussing about anything they could do to help him, and Raven was touched that they all seemed so intent on saving him.
Karol rushed over to help Estelle with the books, and the two ended up dropping everything instead.
"Alright, we're going to Yuri's room. Get moving old man, we've wasted enough time already." Rita growled, but she didn't need to have said anything, because she was practically dragging Raven down the street. Repede ran silently at their heels. Yuri and Judith helped Estelle and Karol get their books organized, and followed the trio towards the inn where Yuri had grown up.
The room was small and cramped, so Rita shooed everyone out, except Estelle. Karol had started to protest, but Yuri and Judith just dragged him outside without further argument.
Rita sat Raven down on the bed, and busied herself with telling Estelle which books to prepare, what pages to find, and what magic to ready. Estelle, who could use healing artes without her Bhodi Blastia, was still able to use her healing magic.
As they did this, Raven grabbed his canteen and nearly emptied it completely of water in a very short period of time. He had become very thirsty all of a sudden, and the water didn't seem to help. Estelle couldn't help but notice this. When they were getting here, the man had seemed pretty disoriented, and had complained of a headache. Estelle got up to grab his hand and frowned. It was cold and clammy.
"Oh no Rita, I think he's going into Shock." Estelle reported, a hint of panic in her voice.
"Shock? What?" Rita hated not knowing things, but she's never bothered in learning about the field of medicine before. She had to rely on Estelle for this.
"It happens with a lot of injuries. Something's causing your blood flow to decrease or whatever, and yer body's not getting' enough oxygen." Raven himself explained. "It basically means my heart's not going very strong in this scenario."
Right, so it means that it was a danger indicator. Rita stood in front of Raven, and moved her hand across the air before him. The controls to his blastia appeared before her, a shimmering screen of light hovering in midair, and she scanned through its contents quickly, assessing the condition of the blastia. It was struggling on a very small amount of energy right now.
Rita felt her heart sink. There was probably fifteen minutes, at most half an hour, left in this blastia. She wasn't going to be able to save him before then.
"Damn it, we shouldn't have delayed like this. We should have just landed the Fiertia in Halure, and I might have been able to fix this." Rita growled, going through the controls a bit more, trying not to be too aggressive about it.
"Ouch, watch what yer doing with that thing." Raven complained to her as she changed a small part of the formula in his Blastia, which was rather uncomfortable.
"I've slowed it down a little; it should last just a bit longer." Rita explained, looking through a few more screens.
"Just a bit more time, I might be able to do something." She muttered. Raven though, finally waved her away.
"Drop it girl, you 'aint gonna be able ta do this, and we all know it." Raven sighed, forcing the control panel to his heart to close. It always made him uncomfortable when that glowing screen was up. Anyone could mess with the formula when it was like that, and Raven did not like it one bit. Which is natural right? You wouldn't like the very key to your life out in the open for any fool to tamper with.
"Look, it won't be so bad. You still have each other. Besides, I 'aint suppose to be alive today anyways." Raven tried to comfort her a bit. Rita just stood up, and stomped out of the room. So much for comforting her, he's not very good at doing that.
"I can't believe you'll just give up like this! It's so precious, life...you should be spending every last moment of it fighting to continue." Rita angrily muttered, and slammed the door behind her. It opened again a moment later, and Yuri came in.
"I'm guessing that didn't go well?" Yuri asked, holding the door open for Karol, Repede, and Judith to enter.
"We can't stop though." Estelle whispered, her voice choking up. Raven got off the bed, knelt in front of the girl, and put a comforting hand on her shoulder. He hated seeing her, any of them like this.
"It's a journey every man has ta make. I've eluded mine long enough." Raven told her, and then plopped back down on the bed.
"Now Judith darlin', whaddaya say ya give me a good-bye kiss?" He asked the Krityan cheerfully. She slapped him in response, his words barely out of his mouth
"No." Judith replied sweetly.
"Awww, ya really know how ta break a man's heart." Raven sighed.
He was getting more and more tired. Lying down just made it harder to breathe, so he moved back on the bed until his back was against the wall. Rita came back a few minutes later, and it looked like she had been crying very hard outside, but had managed to gather her composure by now. Karol was trying hard not to cry, and failing kind of miserably. Estelle sniffed, wiping away tears every once in a while. Yuri and Judith stood by, impassive, but they even if they didn't show it, Raven knew they were distressed. Repede sat there solemnly, as if he knew what was going on. That dog always seemed to know what was going on.
Idiots, Raven thought. Why all so gloomy? They had their entire lives ahead of them. And seeing them like this was all just that much more painful. But a part of him was glad to see that they truly cared about him, the man who had made terrible mistakes and had betrayed their trust once. These kids had given him back so much that he had lost when he was in Alexei's grasp; he's going to miss them.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye kids." Raven murmured a little while later. "You all did well. I'm proud of y'all, every single last one of ya."
Five hours had ticked by, since they had left the top of Tarqaron.
The last working Blastia on Terca Lumereis stopped beating.
Many people came to the man's funeral. There were those that remembered him as Schwann Oltorain, an honourable and brave knight who had served the Empire well for many years. And then there were those who remembered him as Raven of Altosk, the man who maybe you couldn't trust completely, but was a great friend nonetheless.
The Knights and the Union argued over the funeral. Where was the ceremony to take place, if it was to be under the customs of the Empire or of the Union, where he was going to be buried, and who should be able to attend. It was a big deal to both sides, as Raven had been a high ranking member in both factions. Finally, Brave Vesperia stepped in and stopped the arguments. Back at Heracles, Raven had given his life to Brave Vesperia, and thus the small guild had the authority to decide.
Raven now lies in Aurnion, the city that stood as a symbol of the peace between the Union and the Knights. People from both the Union and the Empire came, and each celebrated the man they knew, the ceremony split into two, allowing both sides to say their goodbyes. It was odd, seeing how differently people remembered the man, some as Raven, and some as Schwann. It was surprising how similar their views of him were, yet so different at once.
After most of the people had left, only the group Raven had travelled with for so long stayed behind, as well as Harry.
"I always assumed he'd come back." the new leader of Altosk, Harry, murmured. "He was so close with my granddad, I thought for sure that after everything would be finished, he'd come back, and help me run the Guild."
"That idiot. I...We could have done something. I just know we could have." Rita muttered, angrily wiping a stray tear from her cheek. Estelle was crying silently, with Yuri's comforting arms around her. Karol was sobbing, hard and uncontrollably. He had seemed the most upset out of the entire group, and it didn't look like he'll come to terms with Raven's death for a long time.
They say that you never knew how precious something was until you lost it. Now that Raven was gone, they can only treasure the times they had spent together; death had stolen from them the ability to create more memories together, and inevitably, time will wash away the memories they did have. And not just that, there was so much more to Raven that none of them ever knew, and now they will never be able to ask and find out. It just wasn't fair.
"It could have been any one of us" Estelle murmured between chocked sobs. "After everything we went through, somehow, we all survived. So why did this happen?"
Yuri hugged her a bit tighter, squeezing her hand reassuringly. They would never be able to answer that question; all they can do is to move on.
When the group finally turned around to leave, Yuri looked back to the casket in which their dear friend laid.
"He was like the father none of us ever knew, wasn't he?"
A spirit hovered above the ceremony, watching it in its entirety. She was blended into the mana and aer around her, unable to be seen by mortal eyes.
As the last young humans left, she drifted downwards to settle atop the casket, looking at it mournfully. She was one of the many spirits created just about a week ago from the destruction of the Adephagos. Until then, her very being, her Apatheia, had been used to keep two men alive. One who had died recently in Zaude, and the other one was this man here. For many years, she had been forced to take those two men's very life, and convert it into the energy to keep them alive. She had cried out for freedom, for the task disgusted her. But the Blastia and the formula had trapped her, forced her to do the revolting work.
And now she was free, but her freedom had caused the death of this man.
He is finally at peace, she reasoned with herself, and remembered back to the day when her Entelexia form had died, killed by the knight with the long white hair. He had been the one to fashion her into a blastia heart. She had been but a small Entelexia back then. The other Entelexia had called her Corrine, but that name did not belong to her anymore. She was no longer Corrine the Entelexia, that being who died ten years ago.
As she flew away from the man she had kept alive for so long, she looked to the future, not the past. A future created by this dead man's friends, a future of strife, and definite hardship, but also of a new hope and fresh opportunities.
She was now Verius, the Spirit of the Heart.
AN: That last part about Corrine and Verius would only be significant to those who played Tales of Symphonia. Sorry for leaving everyone else in the dark.
Also, a disclaimer- I hope with my very being that this is not what happened to Raven. I hope he somehow miraculously survived -because he's Raven, he pulls that off a lot- and is happily off harassing the girls of the world.
Hope you enjoyed it.