Author – Chibi / Warlordess

Notes – Wow; another ToS fic so soon? I'm sort of proud of myself, though this is a bit sadder of a plot than I'd like it to be. Not angsty or anything, but not exactly bright or cheery either. Still, I'll deal. Even if I don't know whether or not this is going to be more than one chapter. . .

Warning – This fic is from the POV of Cruxis, kind of; this means that there will be spoilers for the end of the game. I'm not sure it matters, but I wanted to let you all know.

Notice – Oh my goodness, you all have no idea how happy I am to be able to post this. I mean, up until a few minutes ago (meaning the past four or so months, or maybe longer) I haven't been able to log in to my account here at FFN and for whatever reason it's finally working again. I'm about to die from bliss. . .

OoOoO

Title – "Lloyd's Role"

Summary – The mana lineage has born unto the land of Sylvarant a new Chosen of Regeneration and Cruxis has given her reason to die already. Colloyd-ish with a hint of darkness. Lloyd-centric at first.

OoOoO

It was the same as it had been in the world of Tethe'alla a few years ago. At the time the Chosen had been born a male and had been blessed with a younger sibling who he could never socialize with and who would always agonize over his existence in a way that suggested he should also. It gave him a reason to sacrifice himself, though he wouldn't know of it until he was forced into the situation.

And forced he would be, as the one to end his own life to regenerate his world.

But this daughter of the mana lineage of Sylvarant was different. Her mother was dead with her birth and her worldly father maintained an iron will. He would not love again, nor birth another child with a woman different than his first. And as much as their Lord Yggdrasil noted his own prowess at the magic arts, he could not bring one back to life, especially for the sake of child-bearing.

The newborn female with hair of the sun and eyes of the sea stared around the room with a wide and affectionate gaze, unbeknownst as of yet of her own fate. An elderly woman cooed at her just as lovingly as her father talked in silence to an authoritative figure in the background about future schooling, her journey, and the eventual end of her life in this world. As the one with the closest mana link towards his sister, the Lord could not fail at giving this girl a reason to sacrifice herself with no fear of consequence.

And so the story turned to Lloyd. He was a young one born to a woman who was part of the Grand Cardinal Kvar's Angelus Project. The woman was willful also and had tried more than once to escape her habitat so that her son would live freely. The Cardinal had offered her freedom upon debate that she tell him who had helped conceive her son, but she wouldn't divulge the information. Possibly because influence by his past action had helped prove he would not so easily let go of an experiment.

Still, the drawback of Kvar's project being put on hold did not convince Yggdrasil that it wasn't for the best, and so he hastened his plan to include the woman named Anna and her son, Lloyd, to exit the Human ranch led by Forcystus, aided by one of his most trusted followers, Kratos. It was a shame, although slightly antagonized, that the woman lost control of her Cruxis Crystal at some point of her travels and her body died, allowing another to take over. The monster stared down at her child and both of them watched Mithos' soldier draw his blade.

It took only a few minutes for the woman to lay under a peaceful spell of everlasting silence. Kratos stared for just one extra split second at the young boy as his eyes widened and then snapped closed - a wail echoing throughout the area - before disappearing. It was the quickest half an hour of any of their lives, though Lord Yggdrasil was used to it. And then the shadow of a dwarf craftsman appeared in the distance.

He approached Lloyd with great confusion and finally took notice of the woman, now dying and returned to her original form, drenched in her own blood. She uttered barely one incoherent word before her fists unclenched and it was over. Not one for sadism, he quickly grasped the young boy's hand and tore him away from the corpse, rather than to prolong the moment of anguish. There were more tears to come throughout the rest of the early morning and into the afternoon as the few specks of blood on his complexion dribbled down his cheeks. The dwarf, named Dirk, let the boy doze upstairs in his own bed and made sure the child was indeed sleeping before venturing out towards the human ranch in the area; it was where the woman had taken her last breaths, and where she'd been left behind so that her son could get over the sight of her laying there. He braced himself for the bloodbath and picked her up in one heave, carrying her swiftly towards his home and bathing her in the stream outside the front of his house. The last of the scarlet flooded away from her arms with the current and he laid her up against the outside wall of his house.

Unfortunately, he was not used to the art of the burial, so a makeshift tombstone and ceremony was all he could afford to give her without messing it up horribly. He would not want that boy to see his mother the way he'd last gazed upon her anymore, though paying respects and saying goodbye weren't out of the question.

And Dirk's thoughts turned to sympathy. That child, whatever his name - he could barely walk. The only words he'd managed to get out were gurgling noises of horror and confusion as he choked on his own cries for the mother that couldn't hear him anymore. And that woman, her last expression flashed across the dwarf's consciousness. Even in death, she'd tried to comfort her son, though he probably hadn't understood it as such and had been even more scared when it came down to it.

"Lloyd. . ."

The only word that came to her lips; it must have been a name. His name? That boy? Well, if not, it was as of now.

And, from the ceiling, Dirk could hear some shuffling, and a few cries for attention from upstairs. He sighed; he hadn't ever looked forward to anything less than he was at that moment.

OoO

At age nine, Lloyd was introduced to Iselia and it's villagers. He and his "father" came through once every other week or so to shop for food and supplies. As a blacksmith, Dirk had to keep up with his work and - therefore - had to buy replacement hammers and anvils for craftwork. But they rarely ever stopped to chat. Still, Lloyd was of juvenile age and had to be prepared for the real world, and because of that, also had to be entered into schooling. There he would have the chance to learn in exact words about the Chosen's Journey of Regeneration, the Desians, Mithos, the Goddess Martel, and her fellow angels. In fact, he would be able to meet the Chosen if he was lucky. He needed to learn about magic that only elves could learn and discrimination.

So he met with the mayor and told him of Lloyd's situation and his intended upbringing. He didn't want the boy to have to hear everything that needed to be said, however, so he threw him out (as affectionately as he could, of course).

Lloyd remained loyally just outside the front door to the mayor's home. He didn't know what else to do, after all. He had no social skills so running up to any other children he happened to see was almost impossible for him. He could hear voices that belonged to people who's names he'd never learned and laughter from teenagers as they walked out of the building next door. If he squinted he was able to see a few farmers sifting the earth beneath them to tend to the vegetables in the village garden.

And then he heard it. Somewhere, some one was singing.

"Kaze wa tooku, kumo wa yuruku. . . Utsuroiyuku toki yo! Hana wa tsubomi, kigi wa yusumu. . . Kureyuku daichi!"

It was a girl. Lloyd nearly immediately decided he didn't want to interrupt her. He had already journeyed a couple houses away from where he was supposed to, and here she was, just sitting next to a small pond in the front yard of her house. She seemed to think she was alone, which made it safe for her on whatever level she needed it to be so that she could sing freely. He liked the lyrics and he wouldn't know what to say to her even if he somehow managed to pluck up the courage to talk to her so he decided to just stand there and listen.

"Tori wa sore e, mushi wa hakage. . . Sore zore no iechi yo! Ichiban boshi hikatta. . . ! Uchi e kaerou! Atatakai wagaya e. . ."

"Pretty. . ." The boy mused to himself without a thought, and clapped a hand over his mouth instantly afterward.

The girl jumped, having heard him anyway, and turned to gaze at him with a very embarrassed sky-blue stare. Suddenly he was very, very sure that her voice wasn't the only pretty thing about her.

"Um, uh. . ." He tried to think of something to say. It suddenly hit him how he'd never even properly talked to a girl before. Were they so different from him? "S - sorry. . . I couldn't help but listen. I was over there," it was a lot more comfortable for him to look off in the distance in the direction opposite so he continued to do it for a few seconds longer than necessary as he pointed.

"Oh. . . Sorry about that." She stated with a soft giggle. She seemed just as new to this as he was and thinking that made him feel a bit better.

Tug. Wow, what was that? He looked around him, sure that it had been a physical yank on his clothes. . . but there was no one there. Still, he continued to look down and then up towards the sky. For some reason, it seemed like the source had been up there somewhere. . .

". . . Why are you saying sorry? You didn't do anything, did you?" He cocked his head to the side in curiosity, suddenly sure he didn't want this girl to turn him away for his strange behavior. Anyway, he'd had no prior experience with apologies either, but it seemed like hers was highly uncalled for.

"Oh; maybe not. My grandma has always told me to be polite and I guess I thought apologizing was an extension of that. It's something I do a lot." She gave him a bright smile and he felt his cheeks flush. How hot was it today anyway? "Sorry about that."

And she bowed.

Lloyd didn't know much about ettiquite. He was sure that if he had known his mother longer she would have taught him about it, but they'd never had that chance. Instead he was raised with a dwarf who worked everyday with his hands and who thought emotions and actions were supposed to be stealthy yet blunt. He never beat around the bush and he never acted coy about anything. Lloyd was never ungrateful for being taken in, but this lack of understanding did make him curious.

He was about to ask her about why she bowed so low to him when the door opened behind him and a small child ran out.

"Sorry I'm late, Colette! Raine left earlier than usual today and forgot to wake me up so I had a late start. I'm ready to go, though. . . Huh?" The boy with silver hair and ice blue eyes allowed his intelligent gaze to drift in Lloyd's direction. "Who's this?"

"Oh, sorry Genis. . . I'll introduce you now." There she went, apologizing again for absolutely nothing. "This is. . . um. . . hm; what's your name?" She asked, her face red.

Lloyd wanted to laugh but wondered if it would be inappropriate so he kept it bottled up and told them his name.

"I live outside of town with my dad. He's a blacksmith. I think he was talking to the mayor a little while ago about getting me enrolled in school."

"How old are you?" The younger boy asked.

"Nine; I'll be ten in a few months," and he made it sound so impressive, too!

"Then you'll be in our class!" The girl named Colette clapped her hands together in glee. "That's nice; I don't think we've had someone new join us since I did last year!"

"Yeah," at the obvious expression of Lloyd's confusion, the silver-haired child explained what they meant. "The school is divided into two classes. Eleven and younger learn basic things; arithematic, language, history of the village, and a few other things in between. . . When you advance through that into the next class, you learn stuff that's more interesting; stuff like the history of the Chosen of Regeneration and the world of Sylvarant!" The boy coughed, knowing he sounded a bit over-excited. "Of course, I study up on that on my own, so I doubt anything will surprise me.

"Oh, sorry; I forgot to mention my name. I'm Genis, age five."

". . . You don't sound like any five year old I've ever met. . ." Lloyd muttered under his breath, feeling shown up by this kid. Then again, what did he know? In all honesty, he'd never met a five year old before.

"Well, my sister's the general teacher in town so I guess you could say I've been brought up with a scholar. She always has me reading and taking notes. Sometimes she even practices some of her lectures on me the night before class, so I feel like I'm constantly one step ahead." Genis shrugged, not particularly insulted by Lloyd's discomfort for some reason.

"Oh, and speaking of school. . . Genis, if we're late won't Professor Raine be angry?" Colette asked with innocent curiosity. The question made Genis twitch in a way that even Lloyd noticed and the two automatically decided that the conversation had to end there.

"Sorry, Lloyd; if we don't get going now I'm going to get a huge beating." It ended on a positive note considering, next moment, the older boy overheard his father calling his name from the three door distance.

"I hope I get to see you in class soon!" Colette called after her as the two children ran at top speed towards the school building down the path.

". . . So, where'd ya go?" Dirk asked when the two outcasts next saw each other a few minutes later. They were walking together, their arms as full as they could be, towards the southern exit of the village. "You wandered a bit while I was gone; had me worried for a minute there. What was distracting you all that time?"

"Oh, uh. . . I met a couple of the students at the school. They were nice."

"Well, maybe you'll get to know them better next week when you start class with them."

"Huh?" For some reason, despite the boring idea of having to spend hours per day in a stuffy classroom for the rest of his adolescence, he was suddenly excited at the possibility.

"I told ya that's what we came here for. The mayor has allowed ya to join Professor Raine's class. You'll start next week and you'd better make sure to get up on time. Ya know the way to town by now and I expect ya to start making that journey on yer own. I'll be crafting ya a couple weapons to help ya find yer way in due time and I'll show ya some basic techniques. I'd hate for ya to get whipped by any monsters on your way here.

". . . And I have another gift for ya."

The gift was a second responsibility to Lloyd, as he soon found out. That night his father built a key crest and equipped him with an item called an exsphere. It was supposed to bring out his dormant abilities, those that surpassed average human expectation. Lloyd hoped he would learn more about it in the future, possibly at school. If that was the case, maybe he wouldn't fall asleep so easily.

Lloyd Irving drifted off to bed that evening looking forward to the next week. He would be taught how to fight, make the walk to the village of Iselia on his own, and see those two kids again - let alone plenty more. He wanted to get to know them better.

He wanted to hear that girl, Colette, sing again.

And he wanted to continue feeling that desperate tug as he looked at her, too; the one that almost seemed to draw them together. . .

OoOoO

Notes - Whew. . . ! I like it. I thought I would make this a one-shot originally but then felt it would be cool to draw out the plot and add into effect Lloyd and Colette's reactions to the possibility of finding out that their entire relationship was doctored by Cruxis so I decided I'd make it three or so chapters long and include stuff from the game (like situations that could add into the plot).

Though it's funny that the song I had Colette sing earlier on was something from the anime, not the game. . . Hm, does that make this fic AU or mixed-media or something? Well, I think the song is the only "spoiler" so hopefully it won't be something we have to worry about.

If you want English translation lyrics to Colette's song, please cut and paste the following URL (minus the spaces, of course): http : // www . animelyrics . com / anime / talesofs / uchihe . htm