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My bad for the delay on this: this is my first time here, and I didn't quite realise I'd have to make one of these. Makes sense in hindsight, but still... Anyway, if you have anything to say about this story, you're welcome to say it. I aspire to write professionally one day, so any criticism is appreciated. Keep in mind, though, that as a personal preference, this story is pre-written, so consider this when offering suggestions. I will take on board minor ideas, but probably not anything major.
Prologue: The Circlet Peace has come to the continent of Tellius. The heroes of the Divine War travel home to their respective countries to foster their respective dreams, and live out the life their actions protected. However, this is not the end of their story. Empress Sanaki of Begnion brings about an array of treaties to unite the various countries of Tellius- the theocracy of Begnion, the might of Daein, the academia of Crimea, the wilds of Gallia, the forests of Serenes, and the plains of Goldoa. As the various meetings took place, the children of their rulers began to mingle and bond. Queen Elincia of Crimea decides to gather the ruling daughters of each kingdom, to form the Circlet of Tellius. At the group’s head is the daughter of Sir Ike and Dame Mia, the page Elena. Although she is no princess, she is the oldest of the girls, and has the neutral reputation of Sir Ike behind her. Elena is a fierce warrior, a blazing sword on the field of battle. However, she has much to learn before she can consider defeating Lord Renning in battle and claiming the title of Commander of the Crimean Royal Knights. Elena’s half-sister, born of Sir Ike and Queen Elincia, is Livia, Princess of Crimea. She is unlike her sister in every way, a pacifistic woman with a heart to match. Although the two sisters are often at odds, they are as close as, if not closer than, a pair of full sisters. Representing Daein is the daughter of Micaiah and Sothe, Princess Yune. Picking locks since the age of two, Yune fits the role of a prankster to a tee. However, the morals imparted by her mother have stayed close by her heart, so she will never use her talents unless she believes it justified. Or she’s really bored and steals something to return later. Representing Begnion is the daughter of Tormod and Sanaki, Archduchess Emilyn. As the next in line for the title of Empress of Begnion, she would once have borne the most prestigious title in all of Tellius behind her mother. However, as both changing values in Tellius and her family have shaped, Emilyn is nothing of the kind. She is modest, almost to a fault, and admires the work done by her companions and the people around her. Representing Gallia is the daughter of Ranulf and Lyre, Janiyah. Although she is not a princess, Skrimir bore no daughter, and the laguz tribes choose their leaders based on might anyway. Janiyah enjoys spending time as a cat almost as much as she does in base form, and has studied holding her transformed state under Volug. Although it is unlikely she’ll make Queen of Gallia, she is a figure worthy of admiration regardless- and she’ll probably prefer serving as the future King’s consultant, as her father did before her. Representing the Union of Serenes is Aderyn, daughter of Tibarn and Gavina. As a female hawk, she bears the burden of keeping the hawk race alive, like her mother before her. However, she does not use that as a means in which to slack in her training, sparring and learning under Tibarn’s wing everything it means to be a hawk, to be a bird laguz. She is much more likely to make Queen of Serenes, and keeps her practice going. Although Goldoa has borne no daughters, Penelopy of the heron clan, and daughter of Naesala and Leanne, is often considered Goldoa’s representative. Penelopy is gentle and swift, uniting the ideals of heron and raven without any of the stigma associated with the Shipless Pirates or… well… Leanne. She has studied the Old Lore of Goldoa in great detail, learning more galdrar than has been passed down in Serenes. The Circlet of Tellius has been admired as a symbol of the peace that Tellius has come to bear. It is understood that the girls’ bonds with one another will greatly shape the continent in the future. Elena conceded in her fight against Renning. She stepped back, and wiped the sweat off her brow. “I consider this an improvement, Elena,” Renning said. “But how? I gave up like a quitter,” Elena said. “No, you had the sense to know when to fold, and conceded before you lost. If I had been a real foe, you would have died at my hand, and that would have been the worst possible outcome,” Renning said. “But…” Elena said. “Enough. It looks like your mother is here to see you,” Renning said. Elena nodded, and turned around to see her mother, Dame Mia. She had seen her right arm every day since she was two, but it never failed to send a pang down her heart. “Elena… Princess Yune has arrived,” Mia said. “Just her? Or have the other girls arrived yet, too?” Elena asked. “They shouldn’t be too far away. You should really make sure you are ready to depart before they do. From what I heard, Yune only got in because she picked the lock,” Mia said. “Sounds like her. So where are we going this time? And who’s coming with us?” Elena asked. “Greil’s Retreat. It should be plenty comfortable this season, and you’d need that comfort. Quite a few of you are reaching the ages where you’ll be shouldering a lot more responsibility, and that’ll be something you need to worry about. As for your escort? Considering some of you are capable fighters in your own right, I’ve decided to take you up on your earlier request. Dame Astrid shall accompany you… though, at her personal request, she will be accompanied by Kalen and Wright,” Mia said. “Kalen? …Wright, I understand, but is Kalen really ready for a responsibility like this? Protecting literally all the princesses?” Elena asked. “According to Astrid, the responsibility of this task should shape him up. Going just to Greil’s Retreat and back should not be too difficult a task, but the sheer responsibility of the job will make sure Kalen straightens up. And, if he fails, there always is Astrid to back him up,” Mia said. “…Thank you, Mother. I’ll go tell Livia, then,” Elena said, grabbing the Wo Dao on her way up to her quarters. Mia watched the sword that was once hers go. She reached over, and grabbed a stock Bronze Sword. She swung it about in her right arm, watching both the sword and her arm drop lifelessly. “You really must accept that your sword arm will not be serving you well,” Renning said. “I am the mistress of the swords. That is what makes me stand out over Queen Elincia. I will not let this injury stop me,” Mia said, picking up the Bronze Sword, and trying again. The second attempt went about as well as the first. “I can see where your daughter inherits her stubbornness,” Renning said, quietly. It wasn’t long before everyone had gathered outside Melior, and begun their journey to Greil’s Retreat. Much like any other journey, the group was travelling to peace and the occasional greeting from a passing villager. Emilyn looked up at Elena. “So, how has your swordswomanship improved since I saw you last?” Emilyn asked. “I think it might have gotten worse. I’m seeing Renning’s sword descend upon me, and I’m bailing out of the fight. How am I supposed to do anything if I can’t stand up to something like that?” Elena asked. “There are worse flaws than knowing when to quit,” Astrid remarked. “Really?” Aderyn asked, looking up. “Of course, Aderyn. I can restore your health, but I can’t revive you if you die,” Livia said. “Which is why you’ll never get me on one of those battlefields,” Yune said. “Well, what use will you be? All you do is pick locks,” Aderyn teased. “Aderyn!” Livia chastised. Janiyah bounded up to Astrid. “So, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Janiyah asked, looking up at Astrid. “I’m getting an idea for training, if that’s what you’re asking,” Astrid said. She pointed forward. “There’s Greil’s Retreat,” she said. Elena and Aderyn immediately charged forward, Aderyn transforming into hawk form and leaving her horse behind to gain the advantage. Janiyah sighed, reverted to base form, and took the mount. “One of these days, those two will learn patience,” Janiyah said, sighing. “I think that’s competitiveness…” Yune said, peering at their competition. Aderyn seemed to be relishing in her victory, while Elena was looking up in anger at her. “Same,” Penelopy said simply. Astrid watched the girls enter the Greil Mercenary’s old fort, before setting up her own camp outside. “Aw… we don’t get to go in?” Kalen asked. “Kalen, think. If we remain out here, on guard, then we’ll have a better warning of when people approach,” Wright said. “That, and I don’t think the girls would appreciate a boy in their midst,” Astrid said knowingly. Kalen groaned. “If you must, I believe the old shed has some blankets, if you want to sleep indoors,” Wright said. “Just make sure you’re not on watch,” Astrid told him. Kalen went into the shed, and Wright turned to Astrid. “Are you sure you can instil knightly responsibility into that?” Wright asked. “…Was your father there when Kieran was knighted, again?” Astrid asked. “I’m going to take that as a no,” Wright said. “He’s got too much of his father in him… and his mother wasn’t all rigid like a knight. She made a good soldier, one whom I have placed my faith in many times, but…” Astrid said. “Oh, crackers! Where’s the hamper?” Kalen yelled from the shed. “You, on the other hand, have had a much better upbringing for becoming a Knight,” Astrid remarked, smiling. Wright saluted at that comment. This story has 24 chapters, not counting this prologue, the epilogue, or the eight Gaiden chapters. With one exception, the Gaiden chapters do not actually focus on the main Lord, Elena, instead serving as more of a side-story within a story. I will attempt to field any questions about the background of the characters in these notes as they come, which I plan to do on a regular basis (barring any foreseen mishaps in the near future, and unforeseen in the far future).