"I said stay back!"
"And I say no way buster!"
Two voices kept shouting out near the campfire as the shepherds rested for another night on the return trip to Ylisstol. The voices in question belonged to the newest member of the group Lon'qu, and the young princess of the Halidom Lissa. Ever since they left Ferox Lissa had been sticking to Lon'qu like glue, and needless to say Lon'qu was not pleased in the slightest.
"Why are you constantly getting close to me?" Lon'qu questioned with an irritated look.
"Because it's your rehabilitation!"
"Yeah, there are plenty of ladies here in the shepherds. Since girls put you on edge I figured I'd help you overcome your problem." Lissa explained, though Lon'qu just seemed to get more irked.
"I don't need help! What I need is for you to stay a few feet away."
"See, that's what I mean!" Lissa remarked "You need help and I'm going to give it!" Lissa said again.
"Urgh I said stay back!" Lon'qu remarked, getting out of his seat near the campfire and taking off quickly.
"Oh no you don't, get back here Mister!" Lissa shouted chasing after him. Hearing this Ryan, who was practicing his sword with Chrom, chuckled a bit.
"She's quite determined" Ryan remarked.
"You should have seen her when she tried to teach Frederick how to kick back and relax, that was a sight" Chrom joked.
"Frederick? Relaxing? That would be a sight to see." Ryan said, both guys laughing at the thought for a bit. As they slowly started to relax from there spar Sumia came over, towels in hand.
"Here, I thought you might want these" she said, handing one over to Chrom.
"Thank you Sumia" Chrom said, wiping his face a bit as she handed one over to Ryan.
"Don't mention it, it's the least I can do for you both" she smiled "So we'll be back in Ylisstol by tomorrow right?"
"That's right, as along as were not sidetracked" Chrom nodded "We've made good time."
"I'm just glad we haven't seen any more Risen since that day on the Northroad" Ryan commented.
"Yeah, but we can't rest easy, even without the Risen there's still Plegia to deal with." Chrom frowned a bit "There's no telling what they might do once they hear of our new alliance with Ferox, especially with Mad King Gangrel holding the reins."
"That's what the population of Ylisse has learned to call him by. I've never seen him in person, but from what I have heard he is a cruel and merciless king to friend and foe alike. And he loves the thought of war."
"No surprise there, considering he's been trying to make one with Ylisse." Ryan nodded, clearly seeing the anger in Chrom's face as he talked about Plegia's ruler. Calming down quickly Chrom quickly returned to his normal expression as he readied his practice sword again.
"Shall we have a couple more rounds before bed Ryan?" he asked.
"Sure I'm game." Ryan agreed, readying his practice sword too. Within seconds the two were at it again, Sumia silently watching with a smile as the night dragged on.
Meanwhile a short distance away Frederick watched the two men duel, his face sterner than usual. It wasn't till he felt a tap on his left shoulder plate that he looked away, turning to see Sully behind him.
"Hey, what's got your pantaloons in a bunch?" she asked with a jokingly expression. Frederick didn't reply instead he turned his attention back towards Chrom and Ryan as Chrom delivered the finishing blow, defeating Ryan again.
"It's Ryan isn't it?" Sully questioned.
"I'd be lying if I said no" Frederick replied, turning back to face Sully.
"He's something isn't he?" Sully added "Haven't known him for two weeks and already he's proven himself time and time again."
"True, but there are many things we don't know about him, and ever since he showed up strange things have been occurring, the Risen for example, or even that swordsmen Marth."
"You're not saying he's responsible are you? Sully questioned.
"No, but I can't shake the feeling something is tying him to all of this… what that connection is I have no idea." Frederick said before adding "That being said you are correct, he is something unique, unique… and still inexperienced."
"Oh come on Frederick, sure he's getting his butt handed to him by Chrom but-
"I was not referring to his technique; I was referring to his inexperience as a tactician. He has demonstrated great use of terrain and combination attacks, but I fear he hasn't grasped one major thing a tactician must learn eventually."
"And what's that?" Sully questioned.
Frederick closed his eyes for a moment before speaking "Failure… and while I pray the day never comes, some lessons can only be learned through experience." With that he walked away, leaving Sully alone for a few minutes till Virion stumbled upon her, exchanged a few words, then got a boot to the stomach as the cavalier glared at him.
*The next day in a village to the east of the Shepherds*
It was another beautiful day in the village, the sun high in the air and the air crisp and cool. Everyone was out and about, the children playing and the adults working on what needed to be done to make there village prosper.
One young man stood out among the people of that village. That young man in particular had regular villager attire in the form of a duo shaded blue shirt that went below his waist, tied by a rope belt, with tan like pants and tall brown boots. What stood out the most though was that fact he had a kitchen pan on his head, covering most on his purple grayish hair. Right now this lad was with his mother in the village, delivering a batch of crop to their village's store.
"That should be the rest sir" the young lad said to the store clerk, which was an elderly man as he set down the last batch of crop.
"Great work boy, I can already see it be a fine crop this year, as always." the elderly man said as he looked at the lad's mother "You really have quite a farm hand here in your son."
"I sure do" The lad's mother responded "It was tough at first without my husband, but we pulled through, together, and I couldn't be prouder of my boy here."
"Aww shucks ma, your gonna make me blush" the lad responded as he adjusted his pan hat a bit.
"Well in any case, you two take care now, and make sure you drop by every once in awhile." As he smiled to the lad's mother.
"Will do" she responded to the elderly store clerk.
Just as she walked over to her son all three started to hear panicked shouts coming from outside the store. Wondering what it was about the three looked outside, only to see panic in the streets. As well as men armed with axes.
"Can't we take a break already Frederick, we've been walking since morning" Lissa whined.
"Ylisstol is not much farther from here milady, please have patience" Frederick smiled, only causing the princess to groan in frustration and a bit of resentment, seeing he had a horse to carry him.
"You wouldn't be so tired if you haven't been chasing after Lon'qu for most of the night" Stahl commented.
"Yeah, you just don't know when to quit don'tcha?" Vaike added, only getting a glare from her in response.
"I only wanted to help him with his problem, instead I get sore feet thanks to him" Lissa said loud enough for Lon'qu to hear, the swordsmen paying little attention as he walked a few feet away from her at all times.
"Come now Lissa, the sooner we get back to Ylisstol the sooner we can relax" Chrom said with a light heartened smile. "Besides I'm sure Emm is getting anxious for are return, we shouldn't keep her waiting."
"Oh all right" Lissa replied as she quieted down a bit "But only because it's for Emm" she added at the end. Chrom just smiled at her as he faced forward again his eyes staring up at the blue sky a bit as the group trudged on. Suddenly however Chrom stopped moving, which in turn caused everyone else to stop too, confused at the lords sudden action.
"What's wrong Chrom?" Sumia asked, standing right next to him.
"I thought I heard a voice just now, it was faint but it sounded human" the young lord replied.
"You sure it wasn't the wind?" Ryan questioned, not able to hear a thing as the wind was blowing a bit strongly today.
"I'm not sure…" Chrom said trying to hear the faint voice he heard on the wind. The need however suddenly passed as the faint voice Chrom heard suddenly shouted out, loud enough for the others to hear it this time.
"Halp! Someone help us!"
Turning in its direction everyone saw something moving around in the thicket a short distance away from them. Moments later a person raced out of it, the person being a pot headed farm boy. Noticing Chrom's group the boy raced towards them, almost tripping as he neared Chrom, gasping for breath as he slowed down right in front of him. Before Chrom or anyone else could ask him what was going on the boy spoke up again, recognizing Chrom as the prince of Ylisse.
"Milord! You've got to help us! I'm beggin' you, milord!"
"Slow down. What happened?" Chrom tried to question him, however it turned out he didn't come to them alone. Suddenly appearing out of the thicket was a lone brigand, apparently having been chasing the young lad before he stumble into them. Spotting his prey the brigand walked towards them, an axe in his hand.
"Oy! There's the wee piglet!" he grunted as he took into account the other people standing there next to him. Eyeing Chrom first the brigand let out a chuckle "What's this? A little lordling come to watch over his chattel? Haw Haw ha- Aw, damn me! Sh-Shepherds!" he suddenly shouted, recognizing too who Chrom was.
Chrom's eyes turned to a cold glare as the bandit backed up a bit "That's right. So, what'll it be? Run and live? Or fight and die?"
Seeing he was horrible outmatched and outmanned the brigand quickly hightailed it out of there, not wanting to be Chrom's next kill. Disappearing into the thicket once again the bandit was gone in no time, leaving the shepherds with the young boy in front of them. Looking back at him Chrom spoke again.
"Quickly, lad. What happened here?"
"Y-yes, milord! Right away, milord!... Er, if it please your Graciousness." The young boy rambled on, trying to be as formal as possible since he was talking to the prince of the realm.
"Maybe just hold off on titles for now. What's your name?" Chrom asked, his expression calming a bit, hoping the boy's nervousness would drop a bit.
"Donny. Er, that is, Donnel your majestyful." The lad named Donnel replied, his nervousness fading away as he took another breath. "I live in a village just beyond sir."
"I guess that'll do. Now, what happened?" Chrom said with soft smile despite the situation, of course it was for the sake of Donnel here.
"That rotten-toothed, pig-stinkin' bandit you ran off attacked us! Er, pardon my language, your lordiness. I'm the only one what got away, and even then just barely." Donnel said, clutching his fist a bit before he continued "They were roundin' up the others to haul 'em off to a bandit camp…"
"One of Plegia's raid parties?" Ryan asked Frederick, the knight in turn shaking his head.
"They wouldn't be this far up north; perhaps these bandits are native to Ylisse."
"It doesn't matter where they come from! What's important is that there causing trouble in Ylisse" Sully remarked, Chrom nodding to Sully's words as Donnel gripped Chrom's shirt a bit in desperation.
"They are" Donnel said "They've been causin' trouble for awhile, but they've done nothin' like this before. Please, sir! You gots to save them folks! My ma's one of 'em, and… She's all I got in this world! Please, Your Royal Highness!"
"It's alright Donney, the shepherds are at your service. We'll save your ma. Can you lead us to her?" Chrom asked, the young lad's face quickly becoming overcome with joy.
"Aw, thank you, milord! Thank you! Just follow me, Your Sirness!"
With that the young lad named Donnel rushed off, the Shepherds following close behind him as he lead them back to his hometown. However by the time they reached it the village was completely empty and devoid of any people. Thankfully though Donnel's info about the bandit camp, and the obvious trail of footprints leading out of the village made it easy to track them down. By nightfall they reached the bandit camp, which laid in a small patch of forest. The bandit camp was comprised of small brick walls and a few torches scattered about to light up the night, bandits scattered around the area, enjoying the spoils they had managed to haul off besides the villagers. Hiding in the darkness past the tree's the Shepherds scanned the area, looking for any sign of the kidnapped villagers.
"I can't see anyone from here" Stahl said.
"They must be keeping them in the back of the fort, maybe near that taller brick wall" Ryan pointed out.
"I just hope ma's okay" Donnel said, his hand griping the dirt a bit tighter as he thought about her safety.
"I believe they would not simply kill them if they dragged them out this far, perhaps they plan to sell them all off as slaves?" Miriel questioned.
"That's awful!" Sumia said a little loudly "We have to- she continued till Lissa slapped her hand over her mouth, giving her a 'shhh' as two voices suddenly started talking loudly.
"And you're sure a 'this?"
"On the grave of my sainted mother, I swear it. It was Chrom and his Shepherds, and no mistake!"
The voices belonged to who they guessed was the bandit leader, and the bandit Chrom scared off earlier in the day. Appearing within sight of the shepherds the leader spoke up again.
"Heh heh heh. A fancy lord'll fetch a high ransom from noble folk. We'll have the little man squealin' for mercy in no time!" With that he turned his attention to the rest of the brigands around the camp.
"Men, we might be having company tonight, make sure you give them a warm welcome" he chucked as he retreated into the back of the camp with the other brigand. With him gone the other bandits quickly readied themselves, grabbing there weapons and preparing for a possible attack, much to the Shepherds 'delight' seeing they lost some of their element of surprise.
"Alright Ryan, we need a plan" Chrom said, looking at his tactician with a serious expression on his face.
"Right" Ryan nodded as he took another look at the area and enemies awaiting them. After a few minutes of thinking and planning in his hand he nodded to himself. "Okay, here's what I have in mind…"
As this was going on the bandit leader stood next to the tied up villagers, dusting off his axe a bit as he let a smirk escape his lips, obviously thinking about the profit he could be acquiring form all this. As he did one older woman spoke up, Donnel's mother to be specific.
"Please sir, we got nothin' left to take, please, let our children go at least." She pleaded. However the only thing that got her was a grunt of disgust and an axe blade against her neck.
"Quit yer bleatin!" he snapped, the women gulping a bit as he slowly moved the axe away.
"Oy Roddick!" the other bandit he was with spoke up. "I think this cow's the mum of the brat what ran away."
"Oh really?" the leader named Roddick said as he moved his dirty face closer to hers, taking a closer look. "Say, I know this one" he suddenly said with an irritated frown "You're the wife of the man what broke my rib last time we were 'ere!"
"And you killed him for it, monster!" she snapped "I wish he'd done you in first…"
Roddick gave an evil chuckle at his words "Small wonder the brat's got more brass than brains if you're his mum. Guess we'll see for ourselves when we catch him, eh? Maybe we'll even make ya watch as we gut him! Bwa ha ha!"
"N-no! Please, he's just a boy!" she pleaded again, standing up as she did.
"Ah shut ya trap!" Roddick barked, backhanding her, making her hit the ground as he let out another laugh.
"Please stand down" the elderly store clerk from earlier spoke to her softly so the brigands couldn't hear.
"But there gonna kill me boy!" Martha said with a frightened expression.
"I know, but if ya keep this up they might decide to kill ya first! Don't risk ya life like this, I'm sure Donny boy will be alright, he's a bright boy, tough as nails too." He replied back.
Donnels mother didn't respond but instead sat up again and gave a sigh and a nod, praying he was safe.
"Does everyone understand the plan?" Ryan questioned as he finished explaining his plan of attack to the group. Seeing nodding heads Ryan added "I can't see their numbers exactly, or all there locations, so keep your eyes peeled."
Chrom nodded "If everything goes well this will be another easy victory for us. Alright Donnel stay close and-
"W-what?!" Donnel exclaimed a bit "You don't mean… I, I can't fight sir! I ain't never even stuck a pig before!"
"Oh, sorry. I just assumed… I mean…" Chrom backpedaled "Look, just stay here. You'll be fine."
"You're not coming with us?" Lissa questioned.
"Naw, I'd just slow ya down… I wish I was strong as you sirs and madams! Kick the scum out single handed, I would!"
"Then you should fight and grow stronger." Chrom replied
"But I ain't-
"No man is born a warrior Donny, and farm work makes for fine training. A sickle's not far from a sword, after all." Chrom interrupted and explained to Donnel "Bandits may be tougher than wheat, but the principles the same."
"Ngh…" Donnel muttered with a nervous glance and a slight gulp. For a full minute he didn't say anything, but slowly his face turned from a timid nervous look to a slightly braver one. "A-all right milord. As you say, I'm no warrior. But these're my people. I gots to do what I can!" he replied.
"Glad to hear" Chrom smiled as he looked at Ryan "I trust you can work him into your calculations?"
"Already have, he will be with us" Ryan smiled, but then noticed one important detail about their newest member. "Though without a weapon of some kind he's not going to be much of an assist."
Realizing this simple fact Donnel adjusted his pan hat in embarrassment and frustration "I guess you're right, not much I can do 'bout that." he sighed.
"Here, you can use this." Sumia suddenly said, turning everyone's attention to her as she revealed a bronze lance on her person. "I keep a spare lance just in case, you can keep it Donny."
"Aw Shucks, thanks ma'am" he replied taking the spear with a soft smile "With this I can fight now too."
"Anymore things we need to address?" Chrom joked a bit as Ryan gave his lord and friend a shake of his head. With that the groups took their positions, moving slowly into place to avoid stepping on something that would alert the brigands to their presence. Once they were in place everyone quietly waited, waiting for the first shot to be fired.
Nothing happened for a few moments, the tension rising slowly in their lungs as they waited for Virion to pick an appropriate target to draw the brigand's entire attention and create an opening. Then in an instant the tension broke and the battle begun as Virion let the first shot fire, nailing one of the brigands straight in the heart. Shocked by their suddenly downed accomplice the bandits turned their attention to his fallen body. In seconds however they quickly turned their heads back around as they heard something rushing out of the trees. The shepherd cavaliers Frederick, Stahl and Sully were charging, horses galloping freely into the area since it was devoid of trees to hamper them.
Raising their weapons the brigands prepared to trade blows with the mounted soldiers. Mere moments before however the cavaliers suddenly broke formation, Frederick and Stahl moving to there right, while Sully went left. Confused at the sudden move the brigands in front watch them attack there comrades on their respective sides. All the while neither noticed Miriel enter the area behind them. Raising her hand forward she unleashed a blast of fire at the remaining two brigands in front of her setting one afire. Seeing that the brigand attempted to charge her only to find in arrow in his chest moments later, having forgotten the archest of archers Virion was still hiding in the trees.
With the second arrow being fired everyone else started to rush out of the trees. Joining Sully on her side of the base was Kellam Vaike and Sumia, while Lon'qu and Lissa joined up with Stahl and Frederick on the right. The bandits were in a state of total panic, not able to deal with attacks from so many fronts. There numbers dropping at a quick rate it wasn't long before victory seemed assured.
"Damnit, how can they be this strong!?" Roddick questioned as he saw his men falling like flies despite knowing they were coming. Seeing he needed a game changing plan fast he turned to face the hostages, only to see he and two henchmen next to him were staring down Chrom and Robin as they stood side by side.
"Planning to take a hostage?" Ryan questioned, sword gripped in his hand.
"Not happening" Chrom glared, his falchion drawn.
"Damnit! Boys get them!" Roddick roared out, he and his two men charging the two men. Seeing this Ryan raised his non-sword hand and fired from it a blast of thunder magic, the three brigands barely dodging the attack. However that was all Chrom needed, rushing them at the same time as Ryan's attack he leaped up and cut one of Roddicks lackeys down with a single blow. However the other lackey didn't give Chrom any breathing room as he tried to cut the young lord down. Seeing him Chrom blocked his swing with his blade, allowing Ryan who had charged after Chrom did deliver the ending blow to him, stabbing him in the side. Chrom then knock him to the ground after Ryan pulled his sword out. Turning their attention to Roddick the brigand leader could only grit his teeth in frustration as he saw he was all alone now, as well as out classed. Yet despite all logic the man charged the two, his rage blinding him to those simple facts.
As the three men fought Donnel suddenly appeared on the scene, heading towards the hostages, more specifically his mother.
"Ma, you ok?!" Donnel asked.
"Donny dear!" she exclaimed in joy "Thank the gods your safe!"
"What'd I tell ya" the store clerk said to Donnel overjoyed mother "Not only did he make it, he brought with him the shepherds."
"Hold tight, I'm gonna cut ya loose!" he said as he worked the pointed end of his lance under the ropes of his mom. However as he worked on it he suddenly felt a presence behind him. Turning around he saw the same brigand from earlier behind him, clapping his axe a bit in his hands.
"Ya been a real pain in me arse piglet! Time to stick ya like one!" With that he swung at Donnel, who barely managed to raise his lance in time to block it. Despite his quick reaction however he lacked the skill to hold him off. In no time at all the brigand had knocked the lance outta Donnel's hands and swatted the boy to the ground, giving a slight chuckle as he did.
"I hope ya squeal real good before ya die brat!" he declared raising his axe into the air as he stepped closer towards Donnel, who was crawling backwards away from his attacker.
Hearing the commotion behind him Ryan turned around to see Donnel in peril. Upon noticing one of his attackers was distracted Roddick pushed Chrom away and suddenly threw a fist into Ryan's cheek, knocking him to the ground. This in turn caused Ryan's sword to fall outta his hands, the blade falling a few inches away from Donnel. Just as Roddick prepared to finish Ryan off Chrom drew his attention forcing him to back off as Ryan recovered from the blow.
Donnel meanwhile suddenly noticed the sword right next to him. Remembering Chrom's words from earlier he quickly grabbed the sword and got to his feet, pointing the blade at the brigand. Seeing this the brigand smirked and readied his axe, expecting this to be just as easy as when he had tried to use the lance against him. Suddenly rushing the farm boy he raised his axe and swung forward, however Donnel was ready this time. Knowing he couldn't match his strength he jumped back, dodging the blade barely as he gripped Ryan's sword tighter. Knowing this was his chance he ran towards the brigand and swung slashing the brigand across the chest. The wound was shallow however as the brigand backed up. Putting his free hand on his open wound he let out a loud growl of anger as he charged the boy again. Swinging horizontally he was intending to slice Donnel in two this time. But Donnel dodged again, this time rolling under his axe and getting behind him. Just as the brigand turned around Donnel thrusted his blade forward, pure survival instinct being his only guide as he had shut his eyes in fear. Feeling slight resistance, followed by a silence from his opponent Donnel slowly opened his eyes. Looking up a bit he saw he had stabbed the brigand in the chest, the brigand shivering from the blow he had just received. As Donnel slowly let go of the blade the brigand staggered backwards before hitting the ground, not moving.
Panting slightly Donnel slowly fell on his butt in shock and amazement "I… I did it… I got him." he said his mind in total shock right now, partly for his success, and partly for the fact he had just killed the man lying on the ground in front of him.
As he sat there on the ground Chrom and Ryan, who had recovered from the punch, had dealt serious wounds to Roddick, who was on his last leg so to speak. Barely standing in front of the two the brigand leaders mind was filled with rage, seeing how he was going to die and everything he had planned from this rad of Donnels village was going up in smoke. It was then that the brigand leader noticed Donnel on the ground, not paying attention at all. Suddenly seeing him as the sole reason for his demise the brigand let a mad smirk cross his face.
"Forget trying to escape" Chrom said.
"It's all over for you" Ryan added.
"Oh… if it's all over… I better make sure I take one of ya with me before I go!"
With that the brigand used the last of his strength and proceeded to throw his axe directly pass the two shepherds, directly at the unsuspecting Donnel.
"Donny!" Ryan shouted.
Hearing the tacticians voice Donnel turned and saw the axe flying towards him, caught off guard Donnel froze watching the blade come closer and closer. Time seemed to slow down for everyone there, Donnels mother screaming out his name as the blade suddenly connected with flesh. Blood spilled to the ground. Everyone's eyes suddenly turned wide eyed.
Donnel's eyes were the same, blood splattering his shirt a bit as he stared forward. It wasn't his blood however. Falling down in front of him was the body of the elderly store clerk from his village. Seeing the axe lodged into his backside Donnel's mind slowly registered what had happened. The elderly man had gotten in the way and took the hit, saving his life.
As everyone stared the brigand leader Roddick simply laughed, having gone mad a tad with the desire for vengeance.
"Damn you!" Chrom shouted out loud turning around and stabbing the man through the heart, silencing him once and for all as Chrom threw his body to the ground in rage. The rage quickly died however as Chrom quickly turned his attention to the elderly man who Donnel was holding in his arms, calling out to him in the hope he was still alive. As if he had called him from the dead the old man suddenly coughed up blood, a sign he was still alive. Seeing this Chrom immediately called out to Lissa, knowing he needed help fast.
"Why… why'd ya do that?!" Donnel shouted out to him as he tried to stop the bleeding "That was meant for me…"
"Uuughh… your still young…" The old man coughed more "Let the old… folk… sacrifice… their lives… so that the… young ones… may live… besides… your ma needs ya…"
"Hang on!" Donnel said to him as he struggled to keep him alive. Meanwhile all Ryan could do was stand there, his eyes unfocused a bit as he saw someone dying before his very eyes. He couldn't move he couldn't even speak. All he could think about as Chrom finally returned with the rest of the shepherds was...
The night ended too quickly and the morning sun soon lite up the clear blue sky. The shepherds had spent the night escorting the villagers back to the village… or at least all but one. Despite all her magical skill with her heal staff Lissa wasn't able to save the man's life. Naturally the villagers that remained were devastated at the tragic loss of one of their own, but the death also had quite an impact on the shepherds as well. Throughout the entire trip back, and even after the old man was buried there was little to no words spoken.
An hour had passed since the village elder was buried and at this point the only person staying at the burial spot was the Shepherds tactician Ryan. It was understandable, this was the first time someone died that hadn't been an enemy, and he was visibly shaken to say the least.
"Ryan, we will be leaving soon for Ylisstol" a voice suddenly sounded behind him. Turning around Ryan saw Frederick there, his hands behind his back and his face stern looking as usual.
"I understand… I'll be right there…" Ryan mumbled as he turned back towards the grave.
"There was nothing you could have done" Frederick said without warning, making it clear to Ryan he understood what was going on in his mind right now.
"But I let that man die… if I had just predicted his final mad act… no one would have died tonight" Ryan clutched his fist in anger aimed at himself.
"It was as you said, a mad act… there was no way you could have known, nobody could. When faced with his own demise man will do just about anything."
"Still…" Ryan grunted louder but stopped seeing he was starting to get more frustrated than sad now. Seeing this Frederick closed his eyes and spoke again.
"The death of innocent people is a tragic thing, no matter what. But no matter how skilled a tactician is, or how trained his men are, there will be times where someone on his or her side will die, regardless of victory or defeat. Not even the hero king Marth could save everyone. Let this loss of life serve not only as a reminded of what's at stake, but as a lesson for the future, so you can possibly save more lives to come."
With that Frederick turned around to leave, not bothering to see if his words had an effect on the young tactician or not. Just as he took a few steps though Ryan suddenly spoke up.
Turning back around Frederick saw the young tactician staring at him with a new determination in his eyes, one of which Frederick had not seen before from him. "Your right… I'll get stronger, both in mind and body. But instead I will do everything I can to make sure we all come back alive from are battles. That is my vow to you, and to Chrom"
Frederick's eyes opened a tad wider at his words, not expecting that kind of response. Rather than choose the middle ground, Ryan had decided he would always reach for the impossible top ground. He wouldn't consider anyone as expendable. Seeing him now, Frederick thought it was like staring at his lord, prince Chrom, who shared that same resolve. Nodding after a few more moments Frederick let a sincere smile cross his face for a few moments before saying "I'm glad to hear that."
With that the two men headed back to the village, unaware that a certain farm boy was watching them, leaving his hiding place after a few moments to head back to the village himself.
Another half hour later the shepherds were packed and were at the village entrance preparing to head out. Despite the gloomy atmosphere from earlier the villagers were all there, giving a smile to their rescuers as they left.
"I can't thank you enough for savin' my son and our village, milord" Donnel's mother said. She then turned to look at her son suddenly noticing him staring off into space "Donny! Where are your manners?! Take a knee and thank His Lordiness!"
Snapping outta his space out Donnel kneeled before Chrom "Er, I can't begin to repay all what you done for us, sir! Th-thank you!"
"You lead the charge, Donny, and you have raw talent with a blade as well" Chrom smiled as he complimented the boy. "Hone your potential and use it to keep this village safe."
With that the shepherds started to take their leave, waving goodbye one last time as they did. Suddenly however Donnel stepped forward.
"W-wait! Please!" Donnel spoke out causing everyone from both the shepherds and the village to look at him with confusion.
"Something wrong?" Chrom questioned.
"I have a request sir." Donnel stated, gulping a bit he did "If it please Your Graceliness… take me with you, milord! Lemme be a shepherd like you! I'm good with livestock, I am! Please sir!"
Everyone was a bit shock to hear him say that, especially his mother with immediately grabbed the boy's shoulder and turned him around to meet her angered face.
"Hush now, you fool boy!" she snapped at him, but Donnel kept a determined face.
"I want to hone my… whatever he said. I want to keep this place safe! I never thought I was good for nothing but shovelin' dirt… but milord and his shepherds showed me there's more I can do. More I needs to be doing!"
"You needs be knowin' your place, boy! A farmhand's no fit for a royal-
"Actually" Chrom said, interrupting Donnel's mother "We'd be thrilled to have him." He said, taking the wind outta her sail quickly. "The Shepherds need every good man we can find, and your son fought bravely."
"Y-you're very kind to say as much, your Lordshipness, but…" Donnel's mother trailed off as she looked at her son again. Seeing her son's face now reminded her of her late husband, who had the same kind of determination she was seeing in her son right now. Seeing that it was a futile effort to stop him now that Chrom had offered she let out a sigh and spoke again to Donnel as she put a hand on his cheek. "Well, you're a grown man now, Donny. I s'pose you can make up your own mind."
"You just come home safe, love." She smiled warmly at him "I'll see that the village is still standin' when you return a hero. Well?! Off with you, then! Glory's waitin', boy!"
"I ain't fightin' for glory, Ma. I'm fightin' for you!" Donnel clarified to his mother, but then smiled as he added "But if I do find some glory, I'll be sure to bring it home for you!"
With that Donnel quickly came over to the Shepherds side, with a few nods from the group members towards their newest companion the group turned back around and left the village. As the villagers shouted encouragement and goodbyes towards the young farm boy Donnels mother just smiled softly
"Just come home alive, Donny" She muttered as her son and the shepherds disappeared from sight and continued on their path to Ylisstol.
*Plegia Castle throne room*
A tall black garbed woman slowly walked into the throne room, carrying a seductive look on her face as she kneeled in front of the throne, and the man who was sitting on it, the mad king Gangrel.
"Has the operation begun?" the king asked.
"Of course milord" the women seductively spoke "Soon we will have what we desire."
Hearing her say that the king let a devilish laugh escape his throat as he looked at her with an evil smile "Good. Soon I will have my war, and Plegia will have its vengeance on those Ylissean fools!"
Next chapter is here, based on the paralogue 1 of the game. Hopefully it turned out good. Up next is the Plegia/Ylisse war saga. Stay tuned :)