After reading a few stories, I've finally written this up.
- Disclaimer: Fire Emblem characters do not belong to me.
- Notice: May contain spoilers. Original characters may be added. Storyline may deviate from original video game. Contains fantasy violence, mild language, alcohol reference, and suggested themes.
The mountainous winds ripped through the tents as the Shepherds did their best to get some sleep. Robin was one of the few, who could not find peaceful respite for the few hours they had. Frustrated, he sat upright, snuck an arm through his hooded cloak, tied his brown, mud-stained boots, and marched out. Under normal circumstances, this would've been a foolish thing to do, but he was confident that his enhanced abilities as a soldier and a master tactician would suffice. He adjusted his hood to conceal his face and examined the tents where his comrades lay asleep. It wouldn't take long for him to return to camp.
The trail was dark, slippery, and rugged as the terrain on the Earth's grounds sloped downhill. Robin had scouted the area during the daylight and was wise enough to take note of the environment beforehand. It was to be expected by Chrom's most trusted ally and friend. He realized that if one wasn't careful enough, death or serious injury was eminent. Slowly and cautiously, he took his time studying the path that wound down the mountain. The terrain was narrow and extremely dangerous, with the wind blowing violently, it was a challenge to keep his eyes open. He held a branch and took a step forward before an unexpected gust of wind hit him from behind.
The branch was not enough to support him from the impact. The result ended with him falling down the steep hill. He rolled over to his side, tumbling down the grounds as dust and dirt clung to his cloak.
"Nngg..." He groaned and held his sides, which ached with a sharp surge of pain. At least he was still alive. However, Robin was not unscathed. A few gashes were decorated on his face, minor flesh wounds that would serve as a reminder for his stupidity. He recollected the energy that coursed through his entirety and slowly rose to his feet. Luckily for him, nothing seemed to be broken.
His eyes adjusted to his surroundings, widening with surprise as he took note of a stone building with several columns to support its structure. "This wasn't here before." He muttered to himself and stepped forward. It couldn't have been there, he had searched the entire vicinity for anything that stuck out, and these ruins were certainly not there. Was this an illusion? He didn't remember hitting his head on his way down the hill.
With one hand along the hilt of his silver sword, he took a stride towards the entrance. The further her traveled into the ruins, he realized there was no roof. Basking in the moonlight, Robin removed the cloak which concealed his face, his eyes narrowing as they adjusted to the room's lighting. "Where am I?"
He turned around, scanning the sturdy, cemented walls, tracing his fingertips along the rubble on the ground. There was no doubt it was real. The dirt seeped through his fingers as he stood up and continued walking.
He stopped in his tracks when he heard footsteps from a distance. "Someone's here?" Robin shifted his feet using his stealth to conceal his presence behind a nearby statue. He tilted his head to the side to check who it was.
"Finally, I've found it. The Wellspring of Truth."
It was a woman's voice, one that was distinctly seductive yet fierce. Robin leaned forward, his eyes squinting to catch a glimpse of a woman clad in black. Feathers were decorated elegantly around the nape of her neck, circling to finish at her shoulders. She had an impeccable figure, her curves were highlighted effectively with the dark body suit she wore.
"Aversa?" Robin stepped out of the shadows. She should've been dead as they struck her down in their previous battle with Plegia's new king, Validar. "How could you..."
She only turned around, her eyes holding the same hostile stare at the Ylissean tactician. "So it's you." Her words were pained, as if she recollected painful memories with him. "Are you real? Or an illusion?"
"Of course I'm real. But how are you even-" Robin was interrupted by the faint sound of water. The well at the center of the ruins was glimmering in the moonlight, as if there was something strangely magical about it.
"These ruins house an unusual spring. Many believe its waters reflect one's true self." She watched the blue pool of water sparkle with the faint rays of light.
"One's true self? What exactly does that mean?" Robin stepped forward, eager to unravel the questions that flowed into his mind.
Aversa looked up at the starry sky, them back to Robin. "If you would learn the answer, give chase." She approached the pool of water and bent down, examining her reflection closely. "Show me...my truth."
Something was wrong. This didn't feel right. A gust of wind picked up, causing Robin to draw his silver blade. "I should...give chase to learn the truth?" He questioned himself and focused on Aversa, who was no longer alone. An exact replica stood at the well, donning the same clothing, hairstyle, and voice. "What's going on?"
"Hello, love." Aversa's replica greeted her with a mischievous grin along her lips. It only took a second for Robin to realize that she was going to attack.
"Look out!" The tactician held his hand and aimed his spell directly at the replica, stunning her temporarily. He rushed to Aversa's side to help her up.
"Release me!" She pushed him back as Robin staggered back.
"What's happening?" He furrowed his brows and focused on Aversa's back.
"The truth." She stood her ground facing her replica who wiped the bloody trail away from her lips.
"Ah, so that's how it is..." They circled the Wellspring of truth, their eyes locked at a standstill waiting for one of them to make the first move. The true Aversa held out her hand creating a ray of dark magic aimed directly to her counterpart.
As expected, the replica did the same, rendering her attack useless. One thing was sure, the true Aversa was not Robin's enemy. She needed his help, and he was more than ready to aid her in battle. "I've got your back." He stood behind Aversa, his eyes burning with determination and his body poised for battle.
"I don't recall asking for your help." She didn't turn around, a wise move on her part as she focused on her enemy from a distance.
"I know you didn't, but your attacks don't stand a chance if she mimics your every move."
She grit her teeth in frustration. There was truth in his words and she knew he was right.
"You can attack her with your usual attack, then I'll follow up with a strike of my own."
"Okay" She skirted around the well and chanted another dark spell as her replica did the same. 'Now!' Her eyes signaled his time to attack as he nodded and rushed forward.
Using the Well's cemented borders, he jumped into the air with his sword in hand and struck at Aversa's replica. The dark flier stepped back as his attack was intercepted by another blade.
"Me?" Robin pulled back, his boots soaked into the pool of water as he came face to face with his own replica.
"Oh, come now. You didn't think it was going to be that easy? Did you?" He twirled the sword in his hand and pointed it's silver blade at Robin's chest. "You should know better."
Aversa kept her distance, calculating the right move to save his temporary ally.
"Why if it isn't my little brother." Aversa's replica watched Robin's clone approach her.
"Little brother?" The tactician knit his eyebrows together. He knew they weren't biologically related, but to put it so bluntly was a bit...awkward.
"Aversa, don't call me that." He shrugged off her hand and scowled at their enemies.
At least his clone and him agreed on something. He stepped out of the well and retreated to Aversa's side. "So what now?"
"What else? We fight." She brought two fingers to her lips, whistling for her steed to pick her up.
"Two can play at that game." A dark horse emerged from the pool, with Aversa's clone mounting it with a single jump.
"Wait!-" Robin held out his hand to stop her, but was unable to do so in time. "How will I know who's the real one?"
Robin's replica shot a bolt of fire in his direction, singeing the edge of his cloak's sleeve. "I believe your opponent is me."
"Of course." The tactician removed his cloak in one swift motion. The wind had died down, but the air was still cool and crisp as he dre breath before charging with an attack.
20 minutes had passed as Robin's blade clashed against his clone's. He was running low on energy as the night went on. If this continued, he was sure they would lose. Tightening his grip on his sword's hilt, he wiped the trail of blood that dropped from his cheek. "There has to be a way."
His clone yawned and looked up at the sky, his partner seemed to be doing okay. Just a few more minutes to wear them down and their fates would be sealed.
Aversa wasn't doing as well as she had hoped. Every attack was effectively parried by her doppelganger. She only had a few minutes left before her stamina would drop to a dangerously low level. With no other options, she was forced to land. Her steed flew away into the sky, which she would call back when it was safe.
"We have to work together." Robin suggested, his voice was hoarse and his throat grew dry.
"..." Aversa shot him an icy glare and reluctantly agreed. All that mattered was that she would get what she came here for.
"We'll have to fight at a closer range." Robin studied their opponents closely. He wasn't wasting the time earlier. In actuality, he was keeping a close eye on their movements and looking for an opening or weakness. Within the time he had killed off, he found one single solution. "I'll keep him close with melee combat. You can cover me with your dark spells. I'm sure they will negate every one of our attacks, but we've got a single chance if we do this right."
Robin kept his voice low, but Aversa took note of his words carefully. It made sense and it was possible. "Let's finish this." Robin charged with all his strength and rammed against his doppelganger's sword. Sparks flew as he twisted into a turn and broke into a jump with all his might, causing his rival to fall back.
Aversa shot several spells aimed at Robin's enemy, but none connected successfully. It was a dangerous maneuver, if she wasn't careful, a misfire could kill the tactician instantly.
Blinded temporarily by the array of spells, Robin closed his eyes and moved his hand, aiming for Aversa's replica. He managed to release the remainder of his energy into the spell, which knocked her back into the pool of water.
His clone did the same, but Robin pushed him down with his shoulder just enough to disrupt the accuracy of his aim. With both boys on the ground, Aversa shot a spell at the doppelganger's chest, her eyes glimmering with exhaustion from their lengthy battle.
With both of their enemies down for the count, their bodies turned into mist and Robin slowly brought himself up from the ground.
Aversa wasted no time to return to the Wellspring of Truth. She stared at her reflection intently as images from her past started to resurface. A moment later, she staggered back, remembering her past life clearly. Robin was there to steady her into his arms.
"What's wrong?" He noticed her head drop, her usual confidence void for the time being. "What did you see?"
"It's...I remember." Aversa felt like collapsing, the visions were too much for her to take.
"Yes, the truth." She massaged the bridge of her nose and placed her right hand on Robin's shoulder. "Everything. I remember everything." She steadied herself towards Robin. "I saw myself. A girl enslaved mind, body, and soul by Validar."
"Enslaved?" Robin raised an eyebrow.
"Truth is a bitter satisfaction. I would sooner have died than to know it." Aversa released her hold on Robin and looked up at the sky. "I should never have come here."
The tactician pulled his blonde hair back, his eyes locked on the woman who contemplated on her visions.
"I thought I was so clever all this time...In truth I was nothing but a fool. Validar stole my memory and filled my mind with a false past. Saving my life? Taking me in? They were all lies."
It amazed Robin how she kept her voice calm and collected, normally, a person would be shouting out all these thoughts into the air. And yet there was a hint of sorrow of misery as she continued.
"An entire history invented just so he could use me like a puppet."
"Gods. That's horrible..." Robin looked away, his eyes scanning the floor.
"I was a girl like any other before he met me. Well, a bit talented perhaps." With a flick of her wrist, purple flames danced around her hand before fading out instantly. "But cruel design saw him kill all who knew me and strip away my past. He even had the audacity to play the role as my savior."
"After that, I became the woman you all know and love." She turned around with a mischievous grin batting her eyelashes at the tactician. "But in the end, I was just another pawn in his game. Gods, I could not be more of a fool."
"So, what will you do now?"
"I'll bury Grima into the ground along with my past life. Puppet or no, I have wrought terrible atrocities." Before he knew it, Aversa was standing across from Robin who collected his cloak which was on the ground. "Slaying Grima will not unwork the evil, but perhaps it may spare others my fate."
"Then..." It was something he had thought about once, when they first met on the battlefield in Plegia. There was no doubt that Validar certainly had a keen eye with talent. "If you would fight, fight with us. After what we've done today, I'm sure we could use someone like you."
Startled briefly, Aversa stepped back and turned around. "Even after all we've been through, you'd still have me at your side..." She laughed at the thought of her alliance with the Shepherds. "Very well then." Aversa met Robin's eyes, her voice strengthening her new-found resolve. "They say politics make strange bedfellows, but surely this war trumps all, no?"
'B-Bedfellows?' His face felt hot and he swore he was blushing as hard as he ever had in his entire life. "Yeah..." Robin tried his best to meet his new comrade's eyes. 'What did I just get myself into?'
So if you enjoyed this chapter, remember to fave and/or review.
Thanks for reading