In the Wind and the Light
(A/N) Ok, I'm fumbling around with my new computer's word program and it's giving me a barrel of trouble. Or else I may have actually gotten this posted a long time ago. It took me awile to dust this old story off. Of course, it was so old, it needed to be completely re-done. Which is why I'm here.
Personal rant aside, let's see how this goes over.
(Edit- I'm reworking all the existing chapters while I work on the new one.)
The Wind Mage Trilogy; Part One
The autumn breeze blew gently over the Altean landscape, scattering orange leaves about. Birds of many colors danced through the air, as the creatures of the ground skittered through the yellowing grass. The sun hung low in the horizon, though it had not yet begun to set, as it began to paint the sky a gentle pink. A single mage observed the scene from his study's window, the breeze ruffling his emerald hair.
That mage was Merric, wind sage of Altea.
Merric sighed, continuing to gaze at the horizon from his lofty study, which stood in one of Castle Altea's towers. It was a gift from the Hero-King Marth. Who just happened to be his childhood friend.
Merric closed his window, slowly making his way through the throng of books scattered everywhere.
He took a seat at his desk, dropping into his seat with a thud. Running a hand through his tousled hair, the exasperated mage began looking through his books.
It had been nearly two years sense the War of Shadows had ended. Though most of the world was still in some kind of rebuilding stage from that catastrophic event, most of the world's major cities had been mostly restored.
Macedon was doing well enough, with Minerva working tirelessly to restore her weakened country to glory. And it showed in the Macedonian princess. She always looked exhausted and worn down, with the dissapearance of her sister not helping at all.
Gra was doing surprisingly well. The only real problem it was experiencing was selecting a new heir to the throne. Though... there were rumors floating around that one of Joil's children still lived.
Grust was in terrible shape. With their King and most of their knights and nobles dead in the wake of the war, it was on the verge of total collapse. Lorenze was doing his best to keep his kingdom together, but it wasn't looking to good. The Holy Kingdom was offering what support it could, but getting supplies that far west was still treacherous.
Archenea and Arulis were probably the best off. Under the rule of the new Holy King Hardin, most of the eastern side of the world was flourishing. Talys included.
Altea was close behind, with most of the small kingdom already restored. Under King Marth and Queen Cadea, as well as the Princess Elice, the kingdom was doing very well.
And speaking of the princess, her wedding was quickly approaching. Oddly enough, Merric was ardently trying to avoid going, much to the dismay of everyone. It was also the reason he currently had himself locked in his study. Just as he had for days now.
Merric pulled a particularly large tome from the pile. Blowing the dust off its plain black cover, he began flipping through its pages. Its title was scribed vibrantly on the first page.
"The Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light"
Merric had written this account himself. And what better way to get away from the present then to lose oneself in the past.
Circa year 724, month of the scorpion. Chiasmir Bridge. 273 days sense departing Talys.
Merric sat against a tree overlooking the Chiasmir river, scribbling random notes down on a small parchment. The woods behind him hid the Archenean League as they prepared their passage across the bridge, and the ridge he sat on gave him a good view of their target.
The mage let out a long sigh, before sliding the pages he had into the depths of his azure robes. For once, he was actually thankful for his bulky choice of clothing. While his light robes had left him nimble, they did little good for his health as they had marched through the heat of the deserts of Kahdien.
Merric shivered a bit at the memory. At least it was cool enough here in Grust this time of year to actually benefet from his robes.
"Got room in your musings for one more?" A voice said from behind him.
Merric nearly jumped at the sudden noise. He felt a comforting hand on his shoulder as he turned to look who had joined him.
Merric let out a sigh of relief. Moving himself over slightly, the wind mage motioned for Linde to join him. With a light giggle, she did, hanging her legs over the ledge, letting them dangle in the light breeze.
"You seem a bit fidgety today." She said, giving his shoulder a playful push.
Merric grinned sheepishly. "I'm that obvious?" He said, before letting out a sigh. His face quickly turned crestfallen as he gazed into the distance. He could see at the very ends of his vision the marshaling of the Sable Order.
Linde looked at him curiously, before looking to the horizon herself, then back at him. "Merric? Something is really bothering you. What is it?"
Merric shook his head. "We've been through allot, is all. It's starting to take it's toll on me." He made a sweeping motion across the sky with his hand. "I've caused so much death, all in the name of liberation." He planted his head back into the palm of his hands. "But I have to wonder... How many of them were good people? Just fighting for the sake of their families? Believing they were doing the right thing?"
After a moment of tense silence, Merric looked back up to his companion. Linde's face quietly stared at him, her lips a thin line and her expression unreadable. Merric looked puzzled for a moment, before Linde started to shake her head.
"Perhaps you're right. Maybe there are good people that stand against us. And it may be a tragedy that we slay them. But if we don't... Every good person in the world will likely be dead. I know it sounds cruel, but that's how it is."
Merric nodded slowly, the sadness still not leaving his eyes. "But... What if people hate me for it? Like they do Sir Horace? Death like this rarely goes unpaid."
Linde slid slightly closer to Merric, sliding one arm around his waist and leaning her head on his shoulder. He tensed for a moment before relaxing.
"No matter what others say, Merric. I beileve you are a good person. And you... Matter to me."
Merric's face reddened a bit. He still wasn't used to all the affection he got from the light mage, despite their friendly relationship. He never did get much praise back in Kahdien. Even as a star pupil, the most friendly company he ever got was from his teacher Wendell. And he wasn't the most engaging person to talk to at times.
Merric shook his head, clearng his thoughts. Looking down to Linde on his shoulder, he felt a sliver of peace in his heart as she stared with half-lidded eyes out to the clear blue skys. Merric took a deep breath, placing a light kiss on the younger woman's forehead. Linde made a light sound at the sudden contact, looking up slightly shocked at the equally embarressed wind mage.
"Err... Sorry. I wasn't thinking and you just looked so calm and beautiful and-" He was silenced as Linde gently brushed her lips against him, making his face turn slightly darker. "And... And, you matter to me too." He added in a whisper.
Linde gently shook her head, resting her forehead against his, her face reddening just as quickly as his. The distance between the two slowly growing smaller...
"I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
Merric and Linde shot apart, faces turning redder then they already were.
The wind mage coughed lightly while Linde made it to look like she was wiping something from her robes. Merric turned to face their newest companion to see the woodsman-turned-warrior Cord leaning up against a nearby tree, smiling widely.
"If you two are done making out, Their Majesties would like to see you, Merric, in the command tent." Cord said, before turning and leaving.
Merric slowly stood back up flollowing Cord back to the rest of the miltia. He gave Linde one last glance, to see her calmy staring back up at the sky. A smile crossed his lips, before fading slowly.
What was that all about, Merric? He scolded himself. He knew as much as the next guy relationships could be dangerous, expecially with them all so close to danger all the time. He shook his head vigorously. He was probably overthinking it. So far, despite all reason, the Leauge had suffered no deaths. Injuries, however, were something else. Nothing the clerics and bishops couldn't handle, but they do keep people off their feet for a few days.
Merric pushed his way through the azure cloth of the command tent, and was immidiately met by the eyes of his commanders. Minerva looked at him simply, nodding in his direction. Her grip on the greataxe at her side never loosened. Nyna stood between Lord Hardin and Prince Marth, who had Princess Caeda at his other side.
"Your Majesties." Merric said, giving a slight bow to his lords. Hardin rubbed his forehead, clearly tired out, before waving the mage over.
"Sorry for intruding, Merric, but I heard you had a good view of the enemy. Anything you care to share?" Hardin asked. Merric sighed, walking up to the map they had placed on the table in the room's center.
"It seems that Grust is very keen on not letting up get to the Fane of Ramen. They have the Sable Order packed quite tightly in all the outposts here." Merric said, pointing to a landstrip that marked the halfway point of the bridge. Nyna visibly tensed when the Sable Order was mentioned. "Mostly paladins and cavaliers. They also seem to be wising up, and keeping their clerics and curates in the back, armed with physic staffs."
While the others seemed to contemplate this new information, Nyna spoke up. "You didn't happen to see who was leading them, did you?"
"Why does it matter?" Minerva shot back, quiteing the smaller Empress.
"I... Nothing just- I heard that the Order was lead by a brilliant general. I wondered if he was riding with them today..." Nyna said meekly.
That caught Hardin's attention. "You must mean General Camus. I am told Dolhr is not very happy with him at the moment, brilliant or not. Something about acting outside orders... They'll be keeping him on a short leash; I don't expect we'll see him here."
Nyna looked oddly sad. "That... is good news." She spoke in barely a whisper.
The first push across the bridge had been surprisingly successful. Cain and Able lead the charge, with Horace and Draug protecting their flanks as Minerva and the Whitewings flew down and picked off the almost helpless soldiers. With no aerial riders of their own, and few archers, they put up little resistance.
Merric stood next to his Prince, tossing around powerful spells at any who dared approach. Which was more them anyone had anticipated. They seemed very keen on killing Marth. The emerald-haired mage wasn't to keen on defencive duty, but at least the routine straggler who would make it to them kept him on his toes. He would rather be closer to the front lines, aside Linde where he could do the most damage.
Merric shook his head for the umpteenth time today. He really should cast the lithe mage from his mind. It wasn't helping him. An arrow that nearly caught him in the chest cemented that in pretty well. He heard someone shout, pointing to the sky effectively shaking him from his thoughts. A lone pegasus knight was flying right towards him. Or, rather, Marth. The wind mage readied his trademark Excalibur tome, winds whirling around him as he prepared to blast the knight out of the sky.
Marth grabbed his arm, interupting the spell. Merric gave the prince a dumbfounded look. The pegasus knight landed just in front of them, making Merric jump a bit as he readied his spell again.
"Hold, mage!" She said in a shrill voice, throwing her hands into the air. Minerva landed next to them a second after, making Merric jump a second time. He would never get used to people falling out of the sky like that, riding giant dragons or flying horses.
"Prince Marth. We have taken the fort. We launch our main offencive in..." Minerva began, before the pegasus knight finaly caught her attention. Her constant emotionless mask broke for a moment, showing relief and even happiness. "Est?"
"Greetings, my princess." Est said shyly, giving a slight bow from the back of her mount. After giving a look around, her expression turned cheerful. "I got something that you might be interested in, Prince Marth." Est rode beside Marth, Merric tensing slightly. Pulling a scabbard of the side of her pegasus, Est handed it to Marth. The prince took it, examining the object for a moment, before pulling the balde from it's sheath.
"It's the specteral sword, the Mercurius!" Est said happily. "I pilfered it from Grust as I made my escape. It's also the reason I couldn't join you sooner. My deepest apologies." Est gave a apologetic bow to both the prince and the princess.
Marth admired the blade's shining teal edge, before re-sheathing it. "I thank you, Est."
"Princess!" Someone yelled frantically, causing everyone to turn to face the voice.
Minerva turned to see a harried Etzel making his way to them. "A wave of Grust paladins just arived and are hitting our defences! Horace and Rodger have them for now, but we need air support!" The dark mage yelled before quickly turning around and heading back.
Minerva nodded, looking to Est, who nodded back. The two of them took flight, leaving Marthand Merric alone again. "Let's go." Marth said, motioning for the wind mage to follow.
Merric was snapped out of his flashback as he became aware of the thudding on his door. Letting out an overblown sigh, He went to go check the door. Pushing open the eyehole, he was met with a head of pink hair. A smile cossed his face. Of course, she would be the first amoungst those to show up concerned about him.
Unlocking the door, he was immidiately confronted with the worried expression of Est.
"Are you... Allright? We're kinda worried about you." She said shyly, letting herself into his room. She raised her eyebrows at the state of Altean sage's room. He never let it get like this before... "Really, Merric. What's wrong?"
Merric sat himself back down. Explaining it all to someone might help. "Lock the door, please. I'll tell you about it..."
A/N You like? Let me know what you all think of it! Seriously, reviews are my friends. And I've never gotten one before. It would make me very happy... And for those who want to get nitpicky, I am fully aware that I bent the canon in several places, and it's going to keep happening that way. Now, as this is the first fic I've gotten around to posting, any and all feedback would be massively appreciated. Flames will be used to make Bolganon tomes! Oh, and as I lack a beta, spelling errors are probably everywhere. For that, you have my apologies.
This was mostly an experiment just to try out posting my stuff... so it's quality may not be to exemplary. Ok. Now I'm done ranting.
Special shout-outs to Mark of the Asphodel and LordCooler, some great authors who I ever aspire to be like.
PS. Dear thanks to Gunlord500. You are awesome!