Chapter 1: Wreck

My life has become a wreck. It was a wreck before, but now it's just down the drain into the sewers. Not to sound like an over-emotional teen, but my parents died a few months ago. Murdered by 'Lloyd the Great', that bastard. Since when did the morals of the Church of Martel allow the destruction of an entire town? Religious standards have reached an all time low. Don't they know that this whole situation is delicate as it is? With the Vanguard gaining power, more and more skirmishes are breaking out. Skirmishes between the Tethe'allans and the Sylvaranti. The world doesn't need anymore pointless blood-shed, lest a full-out civil war break out.

I was raised in Palmacosta, so I was always accustomed to travellers, tourists, and the occasional odd-ball. It was a beautiful place, worthy of being called the largest city in Sylvarant. From the governor-general's office to the pub, everyone was enveloped with magnificent sights, sounds, and smells. Many people came to and from the city, so new faces were never a big surprise. Even with the large population, nothing bad was usually spoken about Palmacosta. But out of the blue, rumours started to course through the ears of citizens and visitors alike about a rebellion taking place. If I remember correctly, our city was under the suspicion of aiding the Vanguard in their attempts to gain power over Tethe'alla. Palmacosta began to decline from a bustling city into a quiet port town. Tensions were high and pressure started to build. And just like that, everything fell apart.

On a beautiful late summer afternoon, an explosion ripped through the air. I was lying in the grass sketching the calm sea when the shop I was sitting next to was engulfed in a vicious blaze. My heart was pounding mercilessly in my chest as I scrambled to my feet and raced back home. All I could hear was the rhythmic beat of my footsteps. Flames were springing up in seconds, swallowed houses, restaurants, and shops. My eyes were watering because of the ash-filled air whipping by my face. I continued to run and passed by just in time to see the school being scorched in a red hot blaze. I wanted to stay and help, I really did, but there were only two things in my mind at the moment. My mother and father.

When I arrived home, I stood there and stared at our house. It was burning down right in front of my eyes. The home where I walked my first steps and spoke my first words. The home where I learned and experienced love. The home where my most precious memories were stored. They were gone. Tears over-flowed from my eyes as I fell to my knees. What's going on? How could this have happened? Why is this happening?! Thoughts laced with heavy emotions swirled around my head before I remembered what I had come here for in the first place. I jumped to my feet and looked around with a wild look in my eyes.

"Mom! Dad! Where are you?!" No, not them too. I can't lose everything!

"Emil! This way!" A voice reached my ears and I turned my head to the right. Mom! Dad! I forced my aching legs forward as fast as I could. My father was shouting at me to hurry up before Lloyd showed up. Lloyd? Lloyd Irving? What did he have anything to do with this? Putting that aside, I was almost there. Just a little closer…

"Who did you say is going to kill you?"

I stopped a few feet in front of my parents. The three of us looked up and saw him. Dressed in his usual red and brown garments, Lloyd Irving was standing on the roof of a burning house. In his hands were a pair of twin swords that gleamed eerily in the glow of the flames and the setting sun. He jumped down and sauntered towards my parents.

"The people of Palmacosta have aided the Vanguard and undermined the authority of the Church of Martel and the Chosen." There was an evil look in his eyes.

"The punishment for this crime is death!"

My memories from that line fade to oblivion. All I remember are the screams of my parents as Lloyds' swords sank into their backs. That sound will always remain etched into my mind. There's no way I'll ever forget. After a blanket of darkness, my memories skip forward to where I'm kneeling in front of my mother. She's trying to speak to me, even in her condition. Father has already been killed and his body is lying next to her. I lean down and listen to the last words of my mother.

"Emil, you came back. Oh dear, I can't even see your face." She tells me in her dying breath to find Aunt Flora. She gently drops and passes away in front of me. My mind is a mess and I can barely comprehend what has just happened.

"Mom…!" I start to scream and cry hysterically. A wave of sadness crashes into me and I drop down onto my hands and knees. All that I have is gone. I have nothing to live for anymore. As the firefighters and soldiers make their appearance, all I can think of is my parents and their murderer. I curse Lloyd to the depths of my heart while tears of anguish, despair, and rage flow down my face. The rescue workers pick me up and carry me to safety. My life has been saved, but my world is in indefinite discord.