Alm: “Once upon a time, there was a god named Duma and a goddess named Mila who fought each other bitterly for an age.”
Celica: Hey, why did Mila and Duma have to fight so much? Couldn’t they just say they were sorry?
Alm: Let’s promise we’ll never end up like that, okay?
Celica: Yeah, nothing will ever come between us.
Faye: …Alm? …Alm! *sigh* Where did he go this time?
Gray: What’s the matter, Faye? Don’t tell me you’re after him again?
Faye: Oh! Hey, Gray. Say, have you seen Alm? I can’t find him anywhere.
Kliff: Alm? Don’t waste your time looking for that guy.
Faye: Kliff! …Wait, why not?
Kliff: He and Celica went off for a stroll in the woods. I saw them leave.
Faye: He’s with Celica? …Again?
Gray: Exactly. Again?! I mean, Celica JUST moved to Ram Village, right? *sigh* Nice to know we’re so easily replaced.
Faye: H-he’s not replacing us. Celica’s his cousin. Of course they’re gonna be close.
Kliff: Uh, I hate to break it to you, Faye…
Kliff: Sir Mycen only has one grandkid. And that’s Alm. Celica is his ward. Mother told me. They’re not related by blood.
Gray: Kliff’s ma, spoutin’ gossip? *gasp* I don’t believe it! Still, I like where this story is going. Celica and her dark, unspeakable past…
Faye: Stop that, would you? So does this mean… I mean… Is Alm gonna marry her someday?
Gray: Wha— Marry her?! Are we having the same conversation?
Tobin: Ha ha! Ah, there you are! You guys’ll never believe this!
Gray: Hey, Tobin. Believe what?
Tobin: Somebody saw a knight in the woods! A real knight! From the castle! Come on, let’s go check it out!
Gray: What? Why would a knight come here? Big fan of manure or something? I’m not missing this! He could be the last knight we see for months…or years! Kliff, Faye! You coming?
Kliff: Huh? H-hey, wait up!
Celica: Alm! Over here! Come look at this!
Alm: What is it, Celica? You find something?
Celica: I made a wreath out of these flowers. Here, put it on!
Alm: Wh-what? No!
Celica: Why not? I think it’d make you look very handsome.
Alm: I think you mean “very stupid.” Boys don’t wear wreaths.
Celica: Don’t call it stupid! It took me a long time to make this. Fine then. Maybe I’ll just give it to Grandpapa instead.
Alm: You’re kidding, right?
Celica: Grandpapa knows a manly wreath when he sees one…unlike SOME boys. Ha ha.
Alm: Har har. Very funny.
Celica: You’re picturing him wearing it. Ha ha! Admit it!
Alm: …Heh heh.
Celica: There’s the smile I was looking for. …Huh? What, is something wrong?
Alm: No, I just… I’m glad you’ve cheered up, is all. When you first came to the village, you always wore such a dark expression… Plus, you never spoke a word! Grandpapa told me to be nice, but I wasn’t sure how to make things better.
Celica: Well, I think you did just fine. Each story that you told me, each flower you picked for me, each walk you took with me here in the woods— that all made a difference, Alm.
Alm: Come on, I didn’t do anything special.
Celica: Or maybe you did. I’m sorry that my first words to you were so unkind.
Alm: Are you talking about when you called me a “boor,” or a “clod”?
Celica: Hey, I said I’m sorry! I’ve just never had any friends my age. So I guess I wasn’t used to boys like you.
Alm: Well, I’d never met a girl like you, either. Don’t let it get to you.
Celica: Say, Alm? Why are you so nice to me?
Alm: …Why? Do I need a reason? I mean, I guess it’s because I never knew my parents, I have no siblings… and Grandpapa has always forbid me from setting foot outside the village. You’re like a window to a world that I’ve never had the chance to know. Is that a good enough reason, or… …Oh, hey!
Celica: What is it?
Alm: See this? We have the same mark.
Celica: Um, yes? Except yours is on your left hand and mine is on my right…
Alm: Well, that makes us close! Er, doesn’t it?
Celica: Ha ha! I suppose it does, in a strange sort of way. I wonder why the marks are so similar.
Alm: It’s because they’re special. They prove that the two of us belong together. Always. That is, if you’re not already tired of a clod like me making you laugh.
Celica: Of course not! So…do you mean it? We’ll always be together?
Alm: Yes. I promise. Isn’t that what you want?
Celica: Yes, of course! You have my word, I’ll never lea—
Alm: Huh? That was Faye!
Celica: Is she in trouble?
Alm: It came from beyond those trees. Come on!
Faye: Stop it! Let me go!
Soldier: Heh… Looks like our luck’s picked up, eh, Sir Slayde? After days of the same old trees, such cherubic faces are welcome indeed! After all, where little brats play… we’ll find a village, I say.
Slayde: Listen well, you whelps. My men and I, loyal knights in service to His Majesty King Lima IV— may the powers bless him and his name until the end of days— hereby command you to lead us to your miserable line of hovels, where you shall have the honor of dining us and otherwise providing all comforts. It shall be an evening to remember. So lead on! And make haste, now.
Tobin: B-but… We can’t just… We’ll get the scolding of our lives if we bring strangers to the village!
Gray: Good Sir Knight, if I may… Ahem! Our home is but a small village—to call it a line of hovels is too generous. We do not wish to offend you when you are clearly deserving of so much more. So please, we humbly implore your great mightiness to—
Slayde: You. Boy. Have you an older sister?
Gray: Er, me? I have two, actually. What about ’em?
Slayde: Ha ha ha! That’ll suffice! We’ll take all the food and drink you can muster—and your sisters can serve it! I wager we’ll get naught but pig feed and horse piss, but so be it. I shall force it down if I must.
Gray: Gods, Kliff, shut your hole! Don’t cry in front of ’em!
Kliff: B-but Gray…
Tobin: We should ALL be crying, Gray! We’re not really gonna take ’em to the village, are we?!
Gray: Hey, I don’t like it either! If I knew the royal knights were such royal turds, I never would’ve—
Slayde: Enough chittering, little squirrels. I am not a patient man. If you do not wish to entertain us the one way, you can entertain us the other. Perhaps we shall remove your tiny heads from your shoulders one…by…one.
Slayde: You first, filly. Don’t worry, lass— I’ll make a nice, clean cut…
Alm: Back off!
Slayde: Ugh. How many whelps does this blasted village contain?!
Alm: Get away from my friends! You’re not going to set one foot in our village!
Slayde: Is that so? Someone neglected to teach this mangy pup any manners… Hmm?
Slayde: You there! Girl! Show me your face.
Slayde: By the gods… It really IS her! Heh heh. How you came to walk among these animals is beyond me. Regardless, you shall make a fine prize to take back to General Desaix. Seize her!
Celica: No… L-let me go!
Alm: Get your hands off her!
Gray: Alm, you did NOT just punch a knight!
Slayde: Urgh! You dare raise a hand to me?! You baseborn…barn-bred… So be it. You will stave off your death sentences no longer—especially you!
Slayde: Ha ha ha! The Mother can’t save you now, brat!
Celica: Alm! Look out!
Alm: …Huh? *gasp* Grandpapa?
Slayde: What? Mycen?! What are you doing in a backwater wasteland like— …Ah. But I think I know.
Slayde: Now, this…this is indeed good fortune. We never finished what we started in the flames that night, old man. I have much to repay you for. …I mustn’t forget ALL my virtues, after all.
Mycen: …Children. Run to the cemetery up ahead. Go on now.
Alm: What? Why? What are you gonna do?
Mycen: Now, Alm! All of you! RUN!
Alm: A-all right. Come on, guys!
Mycen: Listen well, children. We will drive these ruffians away, but you must follow my every command.
Alm: What? But we’re no match for them!
Celica: …You’re serious, Grandpapa?
Gray: He’s ALWAYS serious. It’s just that this time, he’s also crazy!
Tobin: We can’t do this! Half a dozen children can’t win against mounted knights!
Faye: I…I want my mother…
Kliff: I wanna go home!
Mycen: The only way you’re going home is by fighting as if your life depends on it! Alm! Celica!
Alm: Uh, sir!
Mycen: I trust you two remember some of what I’ve taught you of the sword. Now clear the mind, steady the hand, and show me what you’ve learned. Only you can get yourselves through this!
Mycen: Are you ready? I want you to follow my every command. First, get yourselves to a safer position!
Mycen: Keep your distance from the enemy. Don’t try to pursue them!
Mycen: You’ve done all you can for now. Now brace for their attack!
Mycen: Take shelter in the trees there. They can provide cover. Remember, always use the surrounding terrain to your advantage!
Slayde: Damn! They nearly have me… But not today. I must return to the castle. General Desaix will be eager to learn that we have found…her. The princess who refuses to die. Heh heh heh…
(After the battle)
Alm: We did it! We actually did it! Look at ’em run, Grandpapa!
Gray: So, wait. HOW did we do that. exactly?
Tobin: Ha ha! It’s all in the wrist.
Kliff: You wish. We only survived because we did exactly as Sir Mycen commanded.
Tobin: Oh yeah? Does that mean Sir Mycen commanded you to sob like a baby?
Faye: How can you guys joke about this?
Alm: Grandpapa, Celica, that was great!
Alm: What? You’re not happy? We saved the village from those despicable knaves! We’re heroes! I mean, if nothing else, we’re not dead. You could at least crack a smile.
Celica: Alm, you don’t understand.
Mycen: Now that they know Celica is here, they will stop at nothing. It’s no longer safe for her to stay in the village.
Alm: …What? But…why? It doesn’t have to be like that. Tell him, Celica!
Celica: I’m so sorry, Alm. I know that you would have kept your promise.
Alm: Don’t apologize, Celica. Just… Just tell me that this is a mistake! That you don’t have to go!
Mycen: It is already settled. And we lack the time to discuss it further. Get back to the village and pack your things, Celica. Hurry.
Celica: Yes, sir…
Alm: Hold on a second! Explain this to me, Grandpapa. Why are you making her leave? I want to know!
Mycen: No, my boy—I fear that’s a page you don’t want to turn. …Not yet, at any rate.
Alm: Oh, great. Now you’re talking in riddles? I won’t let you do this to her! She needs me!
Mycen: You? A foolish boy who won’t listen to reason? Celica has proven she has the strength to make hard choices. Yet what of you?
Alm: Please… Don’t take her away…
Celica: Alm… Would you mind looking after something for me?
Alm: *gasp* But this is… This is your good-luck charm. You never take this off! It’s…special.
Celica: Yes, it is. And now it’s yours. I want you to keep it close always. As close as you would have kept me. My mother gave that to me. Not that I actually remember, but…
Alm: Celica, I can’t take this from you.
Celica: You’re not taking it, I’m giving it. I pray that it keeps you safe. Take care, Alm.
Alm: Wait… Celica!
Tobin: Well, this turned into a fine mess.
Kliff: We don’t know why she’s leaving, or even where she’s going. And whatever Sir Mycen knows, he isn’t telling the likes of us.
Gray: Hey, not everything is our business. I just feel bad for her, you know? She and Alm are different from us.
Tobin: Different? In what way?
Gray: In every way.
Mycen: Are you certain, Celica?
Celica: Yes. If I try to say good-bye to him, I’ll just end up crying. Grandp— Er, Sir Mycen? Where will I go next?
Mycen: Hmm… I have a place in mind. Perhaps it’s time to call on an old friend. Under his care, I am certain your enemies will never find you. Forgive an old knight for failing you, Princess. Had the Mother willed it… I would have stayed by your side and protected you to my dying days. But I cannot leave Ram Village. Not yet.
Celica: You don’t need to apologize, Sir Mycen. I regret nothing. The days I spent here with you and Alm were wonderful. The experiences I had and the friends I made all mean the world to me. You don’t have to be my shining knight, Sir Mycen— you just have to promise to always be my grandpapa.
Mycen: Of course.
Celica: Alm! You came for me.
Alm: I want to make a new promise. One day, when I’m older and stronger, I’m going to find you. It doesn’t matter where the world hides you or how long it takes. I promise to find you. So please…don’t forget me, okay?
Celica: I could never forget you, Alm. And I promise too. I’ll be waiting for the day we can meet again. But for now, I have to go. …Grandpapa?
Mycen: Yes, child?
Celica: …Do you think I’ll ever see him again?
Mycen: I do. So long as destiny wills it.
Celica: Destiny… So be it.
Narrator: Once, the gods themselves walked these lands. Our continent of Valentia was home to two of them: sibling gods named Duma and Mila. The elder god, Duma, believed mankind must be ruled by strength, lest we become corrupt, while his sister, Mila, believed we should be free to pursue lives of pleasure and comfort. The two clashed ceaselessly.
Narrator: It was a long, dark age before the bitter conflict was resolved with the binding of a divine accord. Valentia would be divided in twain—with Duma ruling the north and Mila ruling the south—and in order to secure a lasting peace, each pledged never to violate the other’s dominion. For millennia, this accord was honored, and peace did indeed reign.
Narrator: In time, the Kingdom of Zofia, which Mila founded in the south, prospered with the goddess’s love and blessings. Hers were a happy people who knew no toil and lived free of hardship. But Mila’s gifts spoiled the Zofians, and it was only a matter of time before they sank into depravity.
Narrator: Meanwhile, in the north, Duma had built his own empire. Tempered by harsh lands and the even harsher teachings of their fierce god, the people of Rigel had grown strong. But in their quest for power, the Rigelians had let their hearts grow cold and numb to all kindness.
Narrator: Both halves of the continent were in a fragile state, and the cracks had begun to show. And now, Valentia lies on the cusp of a terrible war that could forever alter its history…