A/N: Suikoden belongs to Konami, not me. This takes place well before Suikoden I, and is a combination of parts of Suikoden III manga and my own interpretation (if you've read the manga, I'm sure you'll noticed I added a couple quotes from it).


My Apprentice

The boy shivered under the rags he had been given to cover up with. It was a rather cold night in Harmonia, and it didn't help that the dungeon always seemed to be a few degrees colder. As he lied on the cold, hard floor, he often wondered what was on the other side of the walls that trapped him. Perhaps he didn't realize how bad he really had it; this place was all he had ever known, and therefore it wasn't as if he considered himself unfortunate. But he did realize that there was indeed a world outside of these walls, and he would like to visit somewhere else one day.

Occasionally, there were men that brought him food. Not lots of it, but food nonetheless. Sometimes he would try and ask them if he could visit somewhere outside of here. But they never listened, and he could never find the right words to ask them. He heard people talk somewhat frequently, but he only learned to understand a handful of those words overtime. Besides, the men did not seem to like him very well.

He brought his knees to his chest as he bundled up tighter. These thoughts always made him feel bad. He wanted to cry, but the tears didn't come anymore. He used to always cry a lot, if anything just to pass time. He found that closing his eyes and falling asleep passed the most time, though.

As he began to close his eyes, he felt a slight breeze chill him. A strange noise then caused him to sit up. A light flashed before him, and suddenly a woman was standing in front of him. Her robes dragged the floor slightly as she took a small step forward. Her face was cloaked, but he could see her eyes were closed and her expression was neutral.

She gently pushed the hood off her head, revealing her long, dark hair and her pale face. The boy had never seen a woman like this before. He wasn't sure if he had ever seen a woman before at all.

"Are you just going to give up and wait for death?" the mysterious woman asked him calmly. Her voice was gentle.

The boy stared at her with wide eyes, his mouth agape.

"Don't you wish to see the world?" she continued.

"I…don't know… I can't get out…"

She smiled. "My name is Leknaat…people call me the 'Executor of Balance.' This is not the fate I see for you. Luc… if you want to live as a human, then take my hand…"

Leknaat held out her hand to the boy, not demandingly but still hopeful. She then suddenly felt the tiny hand placed on her own, its soft grip weak and cold. She smiled. "I see…"

"Lek…naat…?"

Luc closed his eyes as he felt himself vanishing from his world of Harmonian imprisonment.

When he opened his eyes, he was somewhere else; a tower, or a castle, perhaps? The mysterious woman was still by his side.
"Where…?"

"You are no longer in Harmonia," she answered. "This is the Magician's Island, and it is your new home from today forward…"

She did not expect him to understand. She wasn't even sure he really understood everything she was saying. He had been isolated his entire life, and there was much he had to learn. She hoped that by the end of the season his speech would improve, he would learn to read and write, and maybe he would even learn new magic. She had much to teach him. She figured he was at a good age to learn, even if a little late. She imagined he was at least five now.

Leknaat reached for his hand, holding it tightly as she started to step forward. "Come."

She moved slowly so that he could walk at his own pace. He could barely walk; he had probably not walked much in his life, since his cell was very small. She could feel him stumbling beside her with each step, and she could hear every heavy breath he took. Her senses were superb, as was her logic. Carrying him would not benefit him, as he had to take these steps for himself. Every step he took was important to her.

After a slow walk down a long hallway, they arrived in a room. Luc watched cluelessly as she prepared a bath for him. After properly discarding his ragged clothes, she picked him up and set him in the hot water. He was light as a feather, and she could feel his emaciated form as she had picked him up. His bones were clearly poking out all over. He was malnourished, starved, and sickly.

Luc was scared, to say the least, at his submersion into the water, but she assured him everything was fine. After scrubbing his dirty skin and washing his scraggly hair, she dried him and assisted him in a new outfit she had chosen for him. It was a small, simple robe for a child, much better than rags, she thought. He was so thin that, even tied tightly as possible, his pants would barely stay on him. After a few adjustments, she had managed to make everything fit him as correctly as possible.

She got on her knees and combed through his hair, parting it slightly down the middle. His bangs brushed his eyelashes as she swept them to each side. She led him to a large mirror, kneeling down again as she showed him. "Is this acceptable, my child?"

Luc eyed his pale reflection intently, placing a hand to the mirror. Another identical hand greeted him as they touched. The image in front of him mimicked his every move.

"This…me?"

Leknaat smiled. "Yes, Luc."

"Luc…" he repeated the name softly. "I see this person…once… long time ago…"

Leknaat titled her head, unsure of his meaning. He slowly turned to face her. She reached out her hand to touch his face, her fingers tracing and memorizing his delicate features. His skin felt clean now to her touch, and his face felt warmer than before. Leknaat noticed these things. He watched her curiously, staring at her eyes, which he noticed remained closed most of the time.

"…can't see…?" Luc asked shyly.

"Vision isn't the only way to see things," she replied. "I can see things that others cannot."

Suddenly he lunged towards her. His arms weakly wrapped around her neck as he hugged her. He wasn't sure what he was doing, but he was happy to be rid of his cell. Had she really saved him?

Leknaat also wrapped her arms around the child. She felt his knees bend onto her lap, and then he went limp. He had collapsed, which was probably a normal thing for him considering his current malnourished state. She carried him to a bed in a room that she had arranged for him to stay in. It was a rather small room, which she had decided was probably best for him to start out with. Since he was used to being cooped up in a small cell, she didn't want to overwhelm him with a gigantic room to start with. This room was bigger than his cell, but not big enough to frighten him.

While he slept, she began to prepare him some food. She was almost finished when she heard light footsteps at the dining room door. "Luc?" she asked, knowing the answer.

"Leknaat," came the quiet voice.

"I am impressed you walked here yourself. Please, eat this. You are weak."

She traced her fingers along the table, setting a plate onto it slowly. She helped the boy onto a chair, where he proceeded to devour the food. He was undoubtedly starving, eating as fast as he possibly could. He seemed overwhelmed by the portion she had given him, but ate it all - plus three plates more. He also drank five glasses of water after his meal. Leknaat was unsure how he was able to hold all that food in his small stomach, but she assumed he was now satisfied. And that pleased her.

"There are things we must discuss," Leknaat spoke suddenly.

Luc did not reply, he only watched her. His silence continued to make her wonder if he understood anything she said. If she had reached out to feel his face, she would find it emotionless and empty…the boy was void of any feelings at this point.

He then searched her face. "Why…did you…?"

His small vocabulary failed him as he trailed off. Leknaat motioned around her. "Why did I bring you here?" she finished for him.

He nodded slowly.

"It is my duty to act out my role in destiny…"

"Des…tiny?"

"You also have a destiny, Luc, as everyone does. One day… I will tell you everything."

Clearly, he was not following. She sighed. "The power within you…you are cursed with magic you did not ask for or choose. Your power…"

Luc slowly lifted his right hand, closing his eyes. He concentrated on his magic; he would often play with his mysterious power for fun. As a strong gust gathered in the room, Leknaat grabbed his hand and quickly stopped him. She was too late, as she heard something nearby fall and shatter on the floor. "You must learn to control it…and I shall help you."

"Help…me?"

She smiled softly. "Yes, my apprentice."

Luc had greatly impressed Leknaat in the past several months. He learned at an accelerated rate, and even looked healthier now that he was eating every day. He noticed that he seemed a little taller, and his face was more radiant than before. A few times Leknaat had even traced her fingers over his face to feel him smiling.

He was also beginning to develop a personality of his own, no longer being a puppet locked away in a room. He was beginning to act like a young boy should, as he was mischievous and sly. Sometimes he would even play tricks on his master or hide from her. Leknaat would only sigh, and she couldn't help but think that perhaps this cynical behavior suited him well. He was still her apprentice, regardless.

She had given him a couple runes to work with, one being a Wind Rune. Since he already had experience with the True Rune inside of him, she figured it would be best for him to master the lesser of the two.

However, with his improved speech and ability to read (he was very fond of reading, as Leknaat often found him in her personal library), Luc began to be more curious after days, months, and years passed. He began to ask questions, and Leknaat was weary of the answers the boy sought. She knew that he deserved explanations and reasons.

She had taught him about the True Runes and the history of the world, sometimes even sharing personal stories of her own experience with a True Rune. But she was not prepared to answer the questions regarding his existence; not yet. She preferred him boyish and innocent as long as she could help it. She cared for this boy like her own son and wished she could shield him from the things he would one day learn.

Of course she knew more than anyone that was not the way that fate worked.

"So you hate Harmonia, too, right, Lady?" Luc asked her casually while finishing his dinner.

Leknaat took a sip from the steaming cup she was holding. "Why is it that you assume so?"

He frowned. "You always answer my questions with questions."

"And you always ask questions that require immediate, detailed answers. Do you not grow tired of my stories?"

"Not really," he shrugged.

"My past is not something that I give a lot of thought to," she countered defensively. "The same goes for you as well, Luc. You must not dwell on your past. It is more important that we focus on our futures."

Luc looked down at his empty plate. "My past…"

"However…" the blind woman hesitated. "There are matters we must attend to in Harmonia in the near future."

"Like what?" he asked, almost excitedly.

"I foresee…many things. Yet the wheels of destiny are turning ever on, even as we speak. Before we can take on our own missions, I am needed to guide others first. A great war is developing… I must go and prepare in silence." She stood up, guiding herself to the doorway where she then stopped. "You are free for the evening, there will be no lessons tonight."

"B-but…" before Luc could even protest, she had quickly walked out of sight. He sighed. As much as he admired his mentor (although he would never admit such things to her aloud), sometimes her extreme commitment to her duties annoyed him.

As he walked through the hallways to his room, he thought about what Leknaat had said about Harmonia; would they really being going there one day…? He knew he could find many answers in Harmonia, and it was a trip he looked most forward to.

Although Leknaat had other plans for her young apprentice. A couple weeks later, she had shown him a mysterious stone tablet, saying that he would soon be her eyes to witness many things involving the fates of others.

"Go and welcome our guests," Leknaat said, a half-smile forming on her face. "And no tricks."