A/N: Update 2014
I have finally grown as a writer to where I don't hunger for concrit as much as I used to. Feel free to review if you'd like, but that's entirely up to you. :)
A Red Poppy for Flynn Scifo
By Baby Kat Snophlake
The monsters converged, surrounding him. Flynn could now see the saliva dripping from the beasts' fangs and he could smell their foul breath. He raised his sword high and swung, striking some across the face, other across their chests or shoulders. He turned to face those behind him, but he was outnumbered and quickly becoming overwhelmed.
He turned just in time to catch a scratch, the claws searing into his skin with venomous poison that felt much like a splash of fire had been streaked across his face. He yelled from the pain of it, dropping his sword to clutch his face. The monsters took full advantage of his disarmament, cowering over him to steal bits of flesh through the armor and clothes he wore.
The pain burrowed into his skull, he could feel the poison prickling his brain, and everywhere the darkness seemed to be closing in. He thought he heard a faint shrieking, but it wasn't long at all before he could hear nothing at all.
He had lost consciousness.
Flynn faintly heard somber voices and a sob that he recognized. He tried to move his fingers, but either they wouldn't move or he couldn't feel them. Possibly both. He tried to remember what happened when last he was awake, but all he could remember were swarms of monsters inching closer. The pain in his head, though, was enough to explain it all.
He had been outnumbered. He had far too many enemies to withstand for long. The more he thought about it, the more he could remember those gleaming teeth, the smiling evil eyes, and he could feel the pain in his legs. He tried to open his eyes, but they did no good. He couldn't see no matter how much he tried to flutter his eyelids. Was that because he was blind? Did he wear bandages on his face? Were his eyelids just like his fingers and too numb to move?
He tried to speak, but his mouth wasn't working either. The only thing he could do was breathe and even that was harder with the weight slumped over his chest. He knew who it was without having to see her. She was the princess of Zaphias, Lady Estellise, and the woman now sobbing uncontrollably. He wondered about her healing artes which, thanks to her mysterious power, should've been enough to heal whatever damage the monsters had done…
Except that he remained motionless and unhealed. She surely would've already tried. And the most that worked was the he had awoken and judging by the lack of excitement from the room, no one had noticed. He could hear voices muttering to each other. He recognized the voice of Witcher, the young mage from Aspio that he had brought along with him, speaking to another person who hadn't yet spoken. Next to Flynn, he heard someone sighing repeatedly and muttering about the loss of a young man and how his own life should've been taken instead.
Flynn then heard his best friend, Yuri, reprimanding the mutterings of the old man.
"Nobody should be dying right now, old man." Yuri said, and the whole room went quiet.
Flynn was… dying…?
Yes, he could feel it. It was the one thing he could feel. His heart was fluttering helplessly at odd beats that surely would've alerted Lady Estellise to Flynn's life that remained, but she remained where she was. Her head had lifted briefly but resumed its position on Flynn's chest where she was silently but surely leaking more tears.
The only thing worse than dying was the thought that he was awake, laying on his deathbed unable to tell them what he wanted them to know. He couldn't tell Sodia that he had all along loved her but that it was completely unprofessional of a Commandant to ask his Second in Command to marry him. He couldn't tell his best friend that he was proud of his efforts in saving the world and that he wished he could be as decisive and alert as Yuri was. Flynn had beaten Yuri at everything until recently when Yuri had grown through his travels across the world. Flynn wanted to admit that Yuri had surpassed him in strength, knowledge, and accomplishments.
But he couldn't say how he felt to anyone. He couldn't even tell Lady Estellise that he was proud of her newfound strength and knowledge, and her inability to behave as a "proper Princess" should. He wanted to tell her that she had come too far to worry about this Commandant supposedly dying in his bed that she needed to move on with her self-discovery. He wanted to assure her that he would be fine.
He wanted to assure them all that he would be fine…
The words they were speaking in low whispers to each other were no longer making sense. He could almost feel death gripping his hands, his throat, his heart… The heart that beat so that his life wouldn't end struggled against the burning sensation in his chest. He could almost feel the tears streaming down his cheeks. The tears burned as they passed over the wounds in his face and he would've flinched had he been able to.
There was so much left undone and he was going to die without tying up any of it. He was supposed to help save the world… He was supposed to help Yuri… He was supposed to save the imperial citizens from monsters… He was supposed to…
His inhaled his last breath, his heart valiantly fought against death's hand but it couldn't hold out anymore… it gave up. His mind seemed to fog and there he lay.
The dead body of Flynn Scifo.
The shrieking came from his Second in Command who swung her sword much like an enraged berserker. She tore through the monsters with strength borrowed from her panicking. Moments before, she had seen her superior, the Commandant of the Empire, disappear beneath the mass of fur and scales. The monsters were startled at first, but then quickly focused their attention on her, snarling just as viciously as they had at their former prey.
But Sodia wasn't alone. Behind her, the members of Brave Vesperia charged, their weapons drawn. They all beat down the monsters with a fury they had never felt before. Monsters began to flee, but none of them were allowed, and any that tried were slain through the heart by a well-aimed arrow.
When the last monster fell, Sodia collapsed over the Commandant, turning his face to hers, but his once bright eyes had faded into an empty blue. His face was simmering with poison slashes across his cheeks, the smell, though rancid as charcoaled, spoiled meat, wasn't strong enough to prevent Sodia from pulling his face to hers. She sobbed over his body. Brave Vesperia gathered around her, watching with disbelieving eyes.
The oldest, Raven frowned almost with envy. The young Commandant had much to live for… Raven would've given anything to take the young man's place. Next to him Estelle, frozen with shock, couldn't see for the tears in her eyes. Several times she tried healing him with her powerful artes, but the injury, though hidden by Sodia's short tan hair, didn't seem to change. Rita was absentmindedly raising her hand to set it comfortingly on Estelle's elbow, but it never quite made it. Her attention was focused on Yuri who, for the first time in his life, allowed tears to fill in his eyes. Karol, the boss of Brave Vesperia and the youngest of the humans, sat crouched at Yuri's feet, hardly bothering to hide his sadness at the loss.
Repede whined, nudging his nose against Flynn's motionless hand as if hoping it would move with help from Estelle's healing artes. Sodia cradled her arms around Flynn's torso, hiding not only his injuries now, but her tears. Never before had she allowed herself to cry and she was suddenly conscious of it. Even so, a small part of her didn't care how weak they thought she was. She was supposed to eventually marry this man who now lay dead in her arms.
He was supposed to be the man who saved the empire from its corruption. He was supposed to help Emperor Ioder rebuild the empire into a government to be proud of. A government that would help the citizens to prosper and live.
More than that, he was supposed to be the man that helped Brave Vesperia save the world…
A/N: I actually wrote the alternate first, but I wanted to write it from Flynn's perspective, so I went back and woke him up instead of telling about what happened with the others. I was reading back and this really tugged at my heart string. I wrote it for The 500 so I could prove to myself it's okay to kill characters. Especially my favorite ones. So yeah...
Oh, and the title relates to the World Wars when the dead were given red poppies as an honor for their sacrifice. As always, I appreciate those who serve to protect our country, those who lost their lives, and those who have defended us in the past. POW/MIAs are not forgotten. -lays a red poppy for them all- To all of you, Thank you! To everyone else, Support Our Troops!