Title: Found
Characters: Farina, Hector, Eliwood, Dorcas, Wallace, various others
Genre: Gen/Friendship
Words: 2,146
Notes: I take game endings as guidelines of what could have happened—like the beautiful glossing over of a history book. Not necessarily the truth, but what people want you to believe happened. This piece is pretty pointless but I wanted to write it and so here it is. I think Farina is probably my favorite FE7 female character, and it's partly because I find her issues fascinating and partly because I find her relateable. Either way, I hope this is at least interesting.

Lucius ran a small orphanage in Araphen. Oswin had married Serra, retired, and had moved to a small property in the countryside. Wallace had a small farm in Ilia; he knew where to find Vaida, who had been forced to flee from Bern again. Ninian and Eliwood were married and living in Pherae, though Ninian's health had grown poor.

Farina knew where to find almost everyone: Dart and Fargus often docked in Badon, Sain and Fiora were outside of Caelin, Lyn was on the Sacae plains, Rath was with the Kutolah, Erk was in Etruria.

Though everyone had expected her to return to Ilia and make herself famous, she found that she lacked the heart, the drive. Mercenary work was not honest, and though she had cheated people in the past—Lord Hector of Ostia, for example, as twenty-thousand gold was ridiculous—she found that she did not take pleasure in that line of work. In fact, it was only on a snowy road in Ilia, drunk half off her scrawny ass five years after Nergal's defeat, that she realized that she couldn't do it anymore. She pulled herself out of a snowbank and scowled at the flakes as they fell around her.

"'m not'n assassin for hire," she slurred, and the next morning, when she woke up in a barn, she packed up what few possessions she owned and flew straight to Ostia to meet with her old employer, Hector.

He laughed at her suggestion when she proposed it, three days later, but in the end he accepted it. She could tell that he was lonely, that life as a marquess was not his first choice, and unlike Lyndis, he couldn't just leave it all behind. He didn't have the luxury of leaving to visit old friends, but she did.

And, she said, she could at least carry letters to them.

It had started that way, with Hector sending her to Pherae to deliver a letter to Eliwood, and then it had snowballed, with Serra asking her to deliver a letter to Lucius, and Lucius asking her to deliver a letter to Raven, and Raven asking her to deliver one to Priscilla, and on down the chain it went.

It was an all-right life, considerably more gratifying than being asked to kill people for money, or to guard caravans whose sole good consisted of, well, human beings. She didn't make a lot of money—heck, sometimes she didn't really have any at all—but it was nice. Natalie made the most delicious meals when she stopped by, and Wallace would give her produce from his garden. Hector always gave her a little extra money—a bonus, he said, for delivering letters so quickly. Serra always had the latest news, Lucius shared a cup of tea with her, and Pent and Louise let her stay in their luxurious spare bedroom.

She knew she wouldn't be able to do it forever, but she found it mostly enjoyable. Everyone was happy to receive a letter from a beloved friend that they hadn't seen in years. And seeing other people, surprisingly, made her happy, too.

The last letter she delivered was from Lyndis to Lord Hector of Ostia. She stayed at the castle for the night and in the morning, departed for Pherae with two letters: one for Lord Eliwood, and another from Vaida that was to be delivered to Heath in Caelin.

She never arrived in either Pherae or Caelin. Her body was found, along with the broken remains of her pegasus, Murphy, in a Pheraen peasant's field.

It was lucky, the farmer who found her had written by a local clergyman, that under the three-field-and-fallow, that she hadn't landed in that year's fallow field, or it might have been another year before they found her, and then she would be unrecognizable along with her letters.

As it was, the clergyman could read the letters she had yet to deliver, and used some of the gold in her bag to send the letters on with a letter of explanation, some of the gold to tithe to St. Elimine, and the last of the gold was given to the farmer for being honest and not keeping it all for himself.

"Natural causes?" Eliwood asked when he saw the letter. "But what…?" He didn't know when she had left Ostia, and so he sat down to write to Hector, and included the original note written by the Pheraen clergyman. He hid nothing from his wife, but this, he did keep from her due to her failing health.

Hector eventually wrote back saying that he was shocked, and horrified, and all manner of cursing was present in the letter. If Florina had not already been in the grave four years, she would have been devastated to learn of this. She had left before a bad winter storm—a terrible one, hail and ice, definitely not something a pegasus could fly in. The impact had probably killed her, but at least, they both hoped, it had been fast.

I can't believe she's gone, Hector wrote at the bottom, and Eliwood, who knew Hector better than almost anyone, understood his sincerity and unique grief.

Heath, in Caelin, received his letter much later than he had expected, but read the clergyman's explanation before Vaida's letter, and immediately set out to write to Sain and Fiora, Lyndis, Kent, and several others whose locations he knew of.

When Natalie received the news from Sain, she wept, and Dorcas's eyes shone with tears though he held them in until he was alone with his wife, and they held a quiet unassuming ceremony together in their yard for her. A prayer circle, really, consisting of two people—two lives—that she had touched, perhaps almost unknowingly.

Lucius heard the news from Serra, who heard it from her husband, who had been told directly by Lord Hector. He silently drank a cup of tea, and when the children asked him what was wrong, he told them that a soul had gone to heaven, and he was honoring the life that had been lived. He allowed himself to cry, much later that night, alone in his bed, because Farina was one of the most misunderstood, frightened people he had met, and she had often given him money for food for the children, sometimes going without, herself. Now she was gone, and he had never had the chance to properly thank her for all that she had done.

When Vaida heard the news from Wallace, who heard it from Lyndis, who had heard from Heath, she merely gave a thoughtful sort of "Hmm," but said nothing else. Wallace put his hand on her shoulder, which she promptly shoved off, but she did say, almost too quietly to hear, "Now who am I going to rely on to deliver information for me?" Wallace laughed at her comment, but said nothing, as he'd lost too much in his life to cry over the death of someone reliable that he hadn't known well, but a few months later, when Vaida stopped by his farm again, she noticed behind the evergreens at the edge of the property, there was a second cross in the ground.

"You didn't know?" he asked in reply to her question regarding their presence, "this farm belongs to them. I thought it was right to…"

Vaida merely nodded in understanding. They probably had a grave marker elsewhere—Florina in Ostia, Farina in the small hamlet where she had been found—but there was something about being buried in your homeland that was…different. Better. Preferable.

"Don't worry, you old teapot," she said, "I'll drag your carcass back to Caelin to plant permanently."

"What!" he said, giving her a disbelieving look, "You assume I will die before you!"

Fiora took the news as well as could be expected. "I'm the oldest," she said to Sain, quietly, as they lay together in bed that evening. "I was supposed to die first. But now I'm the only one around."

He knew that no amount of dialogue would smooth this over for her, so he gave her the space she needed until he heard the first stifled sob, and then he wrapped his arms around her and held her close to him as if that action alone could protect her from everything.

I keep expecting her to land on the balcony, Priscilla wrote to Erk, with that sack of letters and a rueful smile. But what I hear is just the sound of the wind, and I find myself…disappointed.

I must thank you, Fiora wrote to Lord Hector, a few years after Farina's death, for accepting my late sister Farina's proposal to deliver letters. Though she never said as much, I know she loved the job and she found great joy in having it entrusted to her. I find it ironic, however, that she made a living delivering letters, when she herself was illiterate.

"Father," Lilina asked one day as Hector sat at his desk and sorted through some paperwork. "The painting in the study—who is that of?"

He raised his head. "Your aunt," he said. "Farina."

It was a simple work, crudely done to someone with a detailed eye, but Hector thought it was brilliant. It showed a small woman on the back of a pegasus, a sack by her side, the strap across her chest. Midflight. Crudely done but beautiful, really. He liked it better than most of the traditional portraits of his wife, most of which looked little like her.

But that painting. It was Farina.

"Oh," said Lilina. "I don't really remember her."

"Not many people do," he replied. Though most people in their old rag-tag outfit would not forget her, most of the world probably had. "It's unfortunate," he continued. "She was a good person. She died young."

He would always blame himself partially for that. He should have insisted she stay in Ostia another day. When Lilina was young she had loved her aunt; he should have offered her a position as a governess or something. But he hadn't, and Farina had died, and…well, what was done was done.

"Whom did you commission to paint it?" she asked, standing. "It doesn't look like the paintings of Mother at all."

For a moment, Hector let his mind drift. It was odd how much time had already passed. "An old friend," he said. "His name is Dorcas; we traveled together years ago."

How long had it been? Sixteen years ago? Eighteen? No, perhaps a little longer than that. But Dorcas painted people as they were, with every flaw, with every blemish. The painting of Farina looked so much like her that it was hard to believe he had painted it from memory—he had even gotten the crooked nose correct, and that ugly hat that she wore to protect her ears.

"I'd like him to paint me, too," she said. A hint as to her next birthday, he was certain.

It was a good idea, but Hector paused and gave her a thoughtful look. "I'll have to think about it," he said, but that was good enough for his daughter, who skipped off, pleased that her suggestion was being considered.

The heavy snowfall had turned suddenly to sleet, and sleet at such high altitudes turned almost instantly to ice. Murphy's animalistic shriek of terror came as the majestic beast realized he could not stay airborne any longer.

Farina let out a curse but her fear was short-lived. The impact did not kill her.

Everyone assumed she would die in battle, a spear through her side or an arrow through her heart.

Instead, she froze. Or died of shock. Even she couldn't be certain what it was that killed her in the end. It was a relatively quick death. After Murphy had died—instantly, from the impact—she had been rolled a few feet away. She couldn't articulate what was wrong with her even if she could talk, but bones were broken or shattered and she knew that she was going to die even if someone happened upon her that very minute.

Even Serra's amazing healing could do little for her as she was.

But she curled her aching fingers around her bag, an attempt to protect the letters within—though they were in tubes that would also help, who knew how long it would be before someone found them? She had been trusted to deliver them and even though she couldn't do so now, she would do her best to make sure they were at least deliverable.

She died quietly and felt little pain.

And if she cried, it was because she hadn't wanted it to end this way, with her knowing where to find so many others…but nobody else knowing how to find her.