04: The Lasting Promise

Mycen: Rudolf? Are you here? It’s me, Mycen. I’ve come here as promised.

Rudolf: Ah, Mycen… It has been too long. Thank you for answering my call.

Mycen: There you are, my friend! I must say, I never thought I would set foot on Rigelian soil again. Now, pray tell what was so urgent that you summoned me here. I know it cannot be simply to reminisce on days gone by.

Rudolf: Alas, I fear not… Mycen, in all my years, I have never known a truer friend than you. You are the only man I can trust with this. Here.

Mycen: …An infant? Rudolf, is this your—

Rudolf: My son, yes. He was only just born. His name is Alm. I want you to take him to Zofia and raise him as your own.

Mycen: Are you mad?! What father would hand off his newborn child?! I love you most dear, but I must know the reason for this request.

Rudolf: Yes. The reason… Alm here is destined to one day champion Valentia.

Mycen: How can you know this?

Rudolf: Look at his left hand.

Mycen: …The Brand!

Rudolf: Indeed. Two children with such a mark are prophesied to save Valentia from ruin. And now my son has been born with it. I also hear tale of a newborn Zofian princess who has this selfsame mark.

Mycen: Two children… Then Valentia’s end is drawing near? Is Duma’s madness to blame?

Rudolf: Yes. His time is running short.

Mycen: I see…

Rudolf: Mycen, I have to draw first blood. I must awaken the people to their potential—their own strength— and stop them from leaning so hard on the blessings and precepts of gods. I know the people will rise up against me for what I do. But as a father… nothing would make me prouder than for Alm to lead them.

Mycen: Rudolf…

Rudolf: Promise me, my friend. Promise you will shape my boy into a true champion before that day comes. If he stays in Rigel, the Duma Faithful will doubtless attempt to take his life. I want none to know of him so he has a chance to grow up hale and happy. This is the only thing I can do for him as his father.

Mycen: …Very well, my friend. I promise to take care of him. I’ll do what it takes to make him the finest champion Valentia could ask for.

Rudolf: Thank you, Mycen. Good-bye, Alm. May you never forget how to be kind. When next we meet, my son…it will be on the fields of war.

Mycen: Rudolf…