This story has spoilers for "Final Fantasy XIII-2" and tells of Noel's time after Yeul died, but before reaching Valhalla. I changed a few details, but the main story is the same, and I based parts of it off of the lyrics of Noel's theme, "The Last Travel". (Seriously beautiful song, by the way.)
Last of My Kind
Only the sighing of the wind and the crying of a young man could be heard in the cold, desolate wasteland.
Noel Kreiss had long looked forward to Yeul's fifteenth birthday. Not much ever happened anymore, especially now that only he and Yeul and Caius remained out here in the otherwise deserted town. But, soon a day would arrive where they could be happy and forget their troubles for a little while. He would find them a great, big Behemoth for their feast, and she would sing, she loved to sing, and they would tell stories of happier times. But, aside from killing the Behemoth, none of that happened because Caius left and Yeul was dead.
This left Noel alone to ponder and imagine another smiling face he would never see again. He sat for a long time on a worn bench, head resting in his hand. He stayed motionless for some time, before standing. The town was silent now, aside from the wind, playing a mournful song as it moved between the empty buildings. It was time to go. There was nothing left for him here, but perhaps there was somewhere else. He was still alive, wasn't he? There had to be another person out there in the world. Another town, even.
He began his trek out across the plain, nothing but white sand and blackened trees and tall and twisted peaks before him, with only his two blades for company. These plains went on forever. At least, as far as he had journeyed in the past, never had he managed to reach the end. The same view always stretched out ahead of him, on and on. But, there had to be something beyond it. Somewhere where life wasn't a struggle. Where food wasn't hard to come by and everyone didn't die of hunger or illness. Where everyone didn't die, period. He would find it. If he walked far enough, he had to. And he had all the time in the world to do it.
A day passed, and the sun sunk towards the horizon, the sky turning a blood red before finally giving way to blackness. Noel sat by a fire he had made, legs crossed, hands on his knees. A day closer. The sun returned, and he resumed his journey. And another day. And another. His stomach began to growl. All he had encountered thus far were Flan, large, gelatinous things that were far from edible. And his canteen had almost run dry.
More time passed. He had managed to refill his canteen with the help of a trickle of water he had found coming down the mountainside and a lot of patience, and a pair of Gremlins provided a meal, though, like the Flan, they were mostly not edible, either. And as the days wore on, and the weeks, he began to wonder if he would ever, aside from the monsters, find another living soul again.
And he couldn't help but think more about Yeul. He knew she had to die. The Seeress always did. Every single one before her, always with the same name, had died when the burden of seeing the future became too much. This he had always known. But, those were not his Yeuls. This one was his Yeul. And his Yeul was dead, just like the others. And there was no way to save her. Caius had protected her from all bodily harm, and he was to replace Caius as her Guardian, where he would happily take on the same role. At least, if Caius hadn't been adamant that Noel kill him first. Noel didn't kill people. He killed the creatures that roamed the plains because he was a hunter, and it was the only way to survive. But, he didn't kill people. There was no greater sin than that, and that was one he would never commit. So Caius left, and Yeul died from an affliction no Guardian could protect her from. No, no mere blade could save her from what had to happen.
He stopped again and rested that night and dreamed. He dreamed of Yeul. He dreamed that she was still alive and that she couldn't see the future. He dreamed that the world was the way his grandmother said it used to be, with green plants and water and warmth. And Cocoon still hung in the sky, supported by a pillar of crystal, as impossible as that sounded. He dreamed of all this and one more thing. Of a world that had people in it. Yeul, of course, and Caius and his parents and his grandparents and his friends and even people he didn't know at all. There used to be more people than you could count. That's what his grandmother said. She had never seen this, either, but it had happened once, a long time ago. If only he could see it.
Noel woke up the next morning to the same emptiness and the same silence and the same cold air, the fire long since burned out. He got up and dusted himself off. His footprints led off into the distance, back where he had come. Slowly, the wind would move the sand and cover them up, erasing any sign he had ever been here. He sighed and turned, putting these footsteps behind him, and continued on his way.
The young man trudged along, rubbing his arms to ward off the chill that never really seemed to go away, even as the sun rose high into the sky. If it tried at all to provide any sort of comfort to the man far below it, he couldn't feel it. Giving up in its feeble efforts, it headed back towards the horizon, turning the sky before him that familiar red, while the darkness crept out of hiding behind him once again. He stopped. There, on the hill, straight ahead. A shape, black against the crimson sky. It almost looked…like a person. Another person. Someone he's never met. And he would go to them and see a new face he's never seen before and hear a new voice he's never heard. Were they a man, a woman? A girl or boy? He would find out.
Noel started to run for that shape, staring off into the sunset. Did they feel as alone as he did? Or did others live beyond that hill? He started to call out. As he drew closer, the shape didn't turn. Perhaps they didn't hear him. But, as he neared it, he slowed, until he finally stopped. He stared at it, at the shape on the hill, standing there as motionless as ever. He stepped closer, a hand raised. This hand he set upon its rough surface. Standing beside him was a short, convoluted tree, meager branches bent downward, likely by some monster rubbing against it to relieve an itch. The tree rustled for a moment as the wind moved it, mocking him.
His legs gave way, and he sank to his knees, his breath caught in his throat. And then he fell forward, resting his arms on the tree and his head on his arms and cried. It was a quiet sound, not in anyway like an outburst of grief. Just a sobbing that hardly disturbed the quiet of the empty wasteland. The twisted peaks loomed over him, stooped figures with no comfort to give. The sun watched a short while longer, peeking over the distant hills, before it was gone. Darkness blanketed the world again, a darkness so deep, it was like the world didn't exist to begin with.
Morning found Noel leaning against the tree, tears long dried up. He lay unmoving for some time, it was a wonder if he still lived. But, eventually he began to stir, but only a little. His mouth was dry, his lips chapped and starting to bleed, and his stomach an empty knot. He had hardly eaten a thing in weeks, and he had found no recent sources of water, his canteen running dry two days ago. His head lifted, skyward, while the world blurred around him, focusing his attention on the sun overhead. But, it was only morning…
Distant voices, laughter. And Yeul's singing. If only I could save her. If only I could have prevented this. All of this. If only…the world didn't have to come to this.
Hope you liked. I very much liked Noel's story, and he was my favorite character of the game, so I needed to write a little something about him. Please review.