Beautiful Artist

It was night on the Calnus, and yet, not everyone was asleep. One bed remained empty, vacated by it's occupant about an hour ago. That occupant was the young and somewhat naive Eldarian named Faize Sheifa Beleth. Instead of resting in his room where he was supposed to be, he was in one of the storage rooms, practicing. But it wasn't swordsmanship he was practicing.

Faize was dressed in a loose white shirt and pants, and he was playing a musical recording on a small music player. His amethyst eyes were closed, and his lithe body seemed to move like fluid. The young creature was dancing.

He stopped suddenly as he heard someone come into the item creation room that was adjacent to the storage room he was in. Quickly, he hid the dance shoes he'd been wearing and put his boots back on. Just in time, too.

Edge Maverick opened the door, looking groggy. "Faize, what are you doing?" he asked. "It's midnight. Get some sleep."

"Yes, sir." said Faize. He returned to his room and fell asleep almost instantly.

Edge looked over at his roommate. Faize was sweaty again, and it took a lot for an Eldarian to work up a sweat. His beautifully pale face was somewhat flushed as well, like he'd been doing some form of exercise.

With a shrug, Edge returned to his own bed and fell asleep.

Faize sat at his workstation, humming while he went about his duties.

"That's an interesting tune there, Faize."

Faize nearly jumped, then looked over his shoulder. "Oh, Edge. I didn't notice you."

"That into your work, huh?" Edge smiled. "I said that the tune you were humming was rather interesting."

"Thank you." Faize swallowed as he tried to return to his work.

"What kind of music is it?"

"It's an old Eldarian waltz." Faize replied. He finished his work and got up. "I need to go check something."

Lymle came up and tugged on Edge's hand. "Edgie, Faize smells funny."

"What do you mean?" asked Reimi.

"He smells all dirty."

"It's true, Mr. Edge." said Baccus. "Mr. Faize seemed on edge when you were talking to him, and he's been humming that tune for days."

"Huh." Edge looked around at the rest of the crew. He thought to himself, Could I be missing something here?

"Meow!" Mericle came into the bridge. "Edge, I can't get into my hiding room."

"You're what?" asked Edge.

"The storage room I hide in. It's locked again." Mericle looked at him with her huge eyes. "Can you get it open?"

"I can always try." Edge said.

Faize was aware that Mericle had tried to get in through the door, and that she was probably going to find someone to unlock the door. With a sigh, he sat against the wall, his hair pasted in sweat again. Every chance he could get was being spent practicing, but it was getting harder with the growing crew. Their last trip to Aeos had gained them an extra two crew members, and Faize felt that neither Arumat nor Crowe would appreciate his hidden talent.

The door clicked, and Edge stepped in. "Faize, why are you hiding in here?"

As an excuse, Faize replied, "The battle simulator was in use."

"Oh, swordsmanship again, huh?"

"Something like that." Faize muttered. He spotted Arumat walking into the room. With a sigh, he got up and walked out. "I need to shower." he mumbled.

Arumat watched as the younger Eldarian left. He looked genuinely confused.

"What is it, Arumat?" asked Edge.

"A funeral waltz?" Arumat mumbled. "I was unaware someone had died."

Edge looked at him. "A what?"

"The song. It's a funeral waltz, typically used in respect for the dead." Arumat replied. "Has anyone close to Faize died recently?"

"Not that I'm aware of." said Edge. He thought a moment. "Although, he did request that we go to Roak before heading for EN 2."

"Hmm." Arumat mused.

Crowe rolled over and fell off the couch in the lounge. This ended his sleep, and as he picked himself up off the floor, he was acutely aware that Arumat was missing, and that someone was playing music. Brushing his long red hair back, Crowe followed the sound to the item creation room, specifically one of the storage rooms. Arumat was standing near the door, arms crossed and the hint of a smile on his lips.

"What is that?" Crowe asked.

"Eldarian Funeral Wlatz." Arumat replied. "It's not quite as good as what's going on inside."

Crowe peered inside, and his eyes widened. Faize paused mid-step and sighed, stopping the music player.

"Keep going." Crowe urged.

"I can't." Faize replied. "This particular section requires a partner, and I doubt that there is anyone of the crew that knows the song, or this particular form of dance."

"Eldarian ballet." Arumat said, his eyes closed. He looked over at Faize. "Who's it for?"

"A friend. She died on Roak." Faize replied.

"Try again." said Arumat.

Faize sighed and started the music.

"So, what are we doing on Roak?" asked Reimi.

"I dunno." said Edge. "Faize asked that we come back here. Ask him."

"Edgie." Lymle hurried to stay walking with him. "Why is Faize dressed all funny?"

"Meow. He does look kinda strange." Mericle added.

"I have no idea." Edge replied. "He does look odd dressed in black, though."

"Hey, boy." called Myuria.

Faize paused.

"Where are you leading us."

Faize remained where he was, looking down. The tent had been removed. Still, there was the markings where the pegs had been, the circle where the tent has rested on the grass and killed it, the ash from the hearth. There was even the faint smell of the bunny that had belonged to them.

"This the place?" Arumat asked.

Faize nodded.

Crowe sighed.

"I don't understand." said Serah. "Why are we stopped just outside of Triom?"

Lymle bit her lip. "That girl." she said softly.

"What, Lym?" asked Edge.

"The bunny girl that gave Faize the cloak. I think something bad happened, and that's why Faize is sad."

Faize nodded. "She died." He touched the cloak he'd been given, which he hadn't worn since Lymle had said it looked ok on him.

"So, what now?" asked Reimi.

Arumat looked at Crowe. "Faize wishes to say farewell."

Crowe nodded and played the music recording.

Faize closed his eyes, loosing himself in the well-memorized steps of the funeral waltz ballet. It was something the others didn't understand, but Arumat did. Even though he had only known the girl for a short while, Faize felt it necessary to say goodbye to someone he felt was dear to him. The particular dance he was performing was often only reserved for family or a close friend.

Arumat held out his hand as he aided Faize with the dance. He wasn't one to admit it openly, and woe be to the party that caught him practicing, but he also did ballet.

"Why is he dancing?" Myuria asked.

Baccus answered. "There are several recordings of Eldarians dancing at funerals. This is a funeral waltz, often used to say farewell when there is no body remaining of a close friend or family member."

"It looks so beautiful." said Reimi.

Faize finished the dance and stood there; quiet, for a long while. "Good bye." he whispered. He turned and walked past the others, and Edge was sure he saw a tear slide down his cheek. Silently, the others followed back to the ship.