Chapter 14: Lost
I failed Chrom. I failed Lissa.
I failed everyone...The invincible Ylissean League had lost. We did not save Emmeryn. We did not defeat Gangrel.
We ran away.
Lissa and Chrom froze in despair. Lon'qu and I grabbed them and tugged them away, barely escaping the enemy fire. Lon'qu gave Chrom to Cordelia. She strapped him to her pegasus, a look of genuine fear across her features. The strong and confident knight had been crying, her beautiful and kind face now ridden with tears. She flew towards our intended path without order. Lon'qu helped me carry Lissa, who quickly fell asleep. Rain began to fall and our pace slowed. Wet ground hindered our progress. The majority of our forces made it through without harm.
As we arrived near the border to Ferox, soldiers blocked our path. Basilio grunted in anger as he signaled our troops to stop. Flavia stood by his side and the East and West drew their weapons. The rest of the team were much less eager, lazily gripping their equipment, as if lost in thought.
The commander of the enemy forces stepped forward. A tall, dark skinned man, built as well as Basilio. Axe in hand, he called out to us.
"Ylisseans! Emmeryn would not wish for such strife. Even my own soldiers stand tired of this farce. Surrender and you will not be harmed."
Basilio moved his mouth to speak, but his fellow khan silenced him with a nudge. I walked through the crowd, coming face to face with the barbaric leader. A surprising amount of confidence flowed through me.
The man spoke down to me, his height near doubling my own. "You are Ylisse's finest tactician, are you not?"
I nodded, earning a frown from the man before me. "Such a sad sight. Children battling in war. Even worse, you are their mind. They all rely on you to win. Just how old are you, girl?"
"Sixteen." I replied.
"Tch." I mumbled, a swear hidden under his breath. "Not even into adulthood yet." He stared me down and I glared back. "No wonder the exalt placed such faith in you. In your eyes, filled with emotion, I see strength. You stand just as tall as she did."
He pointed his axe towards me, the blade inches from my face. Fear did not once overcome me.
"Duel me." He said, revering enemy and ally alike out of their daze. "If you win, you may move onward. My soldiers will not stop you. If you lose, you will surrender."
"Don't do it!" Ricken was the first to shout. I ignored him, giving my opponent a grunt of approval. I turned, taking one look at my comrades. Chrom was trying to escape Cordelia's grasp, his mouth agape and without words. He broke away, but Lon'qu blocked his path. With his sister's sleeping body in Lon'qu's arms, he couldn't bring himself to push through, Lon'qu's gaze of disapproval draining his spirits. The prince stood down.
Lon'qu lifted one hand from his grasp on Lissa and tossed his prefered curved blade into my hands. No further words were needed. The sound of the rain overtaking all noise. The commander made the first move, bringing down his axe with a battle cry. I sidestepped the swing, spinning to bring my blade towards his midsection. His axe, short as it was, allowed him to react quickly. He parried my strike, his axe scraping against my sword.
The sound it caused was a drastic change from the sparking symphony I'd made with Marth. Where that was a rondo, this was a dirge. As the weapons clanged, a screech could be heard. As if our weapons were crying out in pain. When I deflected an attack, a snap would be heard, like a bone cracking. If he blocked my slash, a sound akin to a ghostly wail was made as I scratched my sword along his axe, attempting to wear down the weapon. I flicked my wrist, flipping the sword out of the axe's crook and guided it towards the commander's arm.
He saw it coming, I know he did, but he took it head on. His hand came clean off, blood spurting from his arm. I flinched at the sight, and in that moment, he grabbed his axe mid-fall with his remaining hand and drove it into my chest. I howled in pain, losing my grip on my blade and slowly fading into unconsciousness.
I couldn't die here...I have to...Protect them..
Time seemed to slow and I couldn't hear a sound. Chrom was screaming, but nothing came out. Lon'qu looked devastated...and Lissa...Her eyes finally opened only for them to go wide at the sight before her.
Where are you, father…? I want to see you...one last time…
"Sorry to disappoint, but I need you alive a bit longer. Both of you. Especially now that I've gotten a hold of you."
In the cold, enveloping darkness that death brought around me, I heard a voice. The voice was so familiar…
"Embrace what you locked away with your memories…"
"Morgan! Morgan, please! Don't leave me!"
Lissa was on her knees, crying and desperately trying to heal her friend's wounds. The gash was too deep. Her magic could not seal the cuts or stop the bleeds. Just another times she realized she wasn't strong enough...She couldn't save anyone...
The general looked down upon her, sadness and grief clear. "That was for the best...This way, Morgan will be free of what chains her."
"Shut up! Don't act like you care about her!"
The barbarian didn't flinch at her words. His expression only turned more solemn. "They wished for her capture." He said, staring into the ground, his remaining hand clenched into a fist, the other still pouring blood. "The king's own tactician...that witch ordered us to bring her in. When I asked what she was planning, she said, "the girl's mind needs to be broken, so that the body may be ours."."
The two groups started the girl before them down, saddened gazes at not only her death, but also her once possible fate. Tears glistened in the eyes of soldiers, but they were overcast by the rain.
Lissa held her friend's still body close, wishing she could heal her and put her back to normal like she did so many others...
Then, she felt a twitch.
"Soldiers!" The general shouted, his forces alerted by his call. "...It is over. Capture them."
His men slowly, almost unwillingly began to move toward the Ylissean army, Chrom and his patrons were unwilling to fight, shocked still at the loss of Morgan.
One voice, a voice thought gone from this world cut through the air, freezing everyone at once. Even the tears running down Lissa's face slowed.
The princess shrieked as she was forcefully pushed back. Even in her misfortune, she smiled, her classic grin wide and bright.
Morgan was alive. Her friend stood tall.
The Ylissean League cheered as the tactician rose. A miracle it was. Even the opposing general stood in awe.
"Morgan!" Lissa cried out. "You're-!"
The boost in morale was shot down and Lissa felt her heart being crushed at the word. Her Morgan, the one she'd stayed with for months, was nothing like this. Her Morgan wasn't so standoffish. Her Morgan would have greeted her with a smile...
Her Morgan wouldn't have been able to suddenly regenerate from her wounds. Her Morgan's scabs wouldn't look like dragon scales.
Her Morgan's eyes wouldn't be glowing such a fierce blood red that they practically called out for death and destruction.
Who was this person who hid in her best friend's skin?
"General Mustafa...Heh." Morgan spoke, shocking the man who never once gave his name. "You never gave my other avatars so much trouble. This one just had to wish for her own death. She wished to be so desperately free..." The girl spoke in a hushed tone to the point where only the general and the princess could hear. Her voice was distorted. It wasn't her own, and yet, it still was. Almost as if she was possessed...
The two groups, Plegian and Ylissean, stared wide eyes as the once-beaten girl struck Mustafa in a flash. Her hand, poised like a claw, forced its way into his chest.
"This is it then..." Mustafa groaned out, coughing up spurts of blood as his life left him. "My family...my comrades..and even you, girl. I'm sorry..."
Morgan pulled out her hand and Mustafa fell to the ground. Her hand glowed a violent purple, like a dark flame surrounded it. The girl seemed like a demon and the Plegian squad ran away in fear. Once they'd fled, the demonic eyes and violet glow slowly disappeared.
The tactician fell to the ground next to the man she had murdered, suddenly still.
The Ylissean League stood in silence, the rain clicking against the ground.
Their current path was clear, but a million questions for the future filled them with dread.
Notes: I'm back! Sorry about the wait(as always)! My laptop died so I had no way of typing up or posting anything. But I've got a new one(that I don't like and will replace soon)! Thanks for reading! And I thank all the favorites and followers! I seemed to have gotten a bit of a flux in those since I last checked. Seeing that support makes me smile!