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eclipse

FE10 - eclipse's remake

29 posts in this topic

PREFACE:

Originally, this was gonna be an entire rewrite of Radiant Dawn's plot. . .but I got busy, and it took a while for me to find the Part 2 script. Therefore, I've only done Part 1 for now. I'll get around to the rest of it later, when my brains aren't scrambled.

Since this is a rewrite, things are gonna change. Some might be for the better, some for the worse. Certain characters may not appear as you remember, and certain ones won't appear (yet). I probably screwed up somewhere, but don't flame me to hell and back about it. Please. I'm tired.

CREDITS:

General Banzai for mentioning that he and Othin were working on something similar (done in IP.Chat)
Paperblade for encouraging me to do this crazy idea as a gift to the forum.

IF MY WRITING SUCKS, I APOLOGIZE!

Okay, onward. . .

[b]Daein's Liberation - Part 1[/b]

[i]Today, we were nearly spotted when we tried to chase off a group of bandits that had attacked the town we were in. We barely made it out in one piece, and as we left, I heard soldiers yelling, and townspeople screaming in agony. I had formed the Dawn Brigade to save Daein. . .so why were her people suffering because of us?[/i]

"Hey, Sothe, does this look like a good place for us to spend the night?" Sothe blinked. He'd been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn't been paying as much attention as he should have to his surroundings. He mentally scolded himself, and looked around. The clearing that Edward wanted to rest in was just far enough off the main path that they wouldn't be spotted. Sothe noticed a small trail that led to the clearing. The trail looked man-made, so someone knew this clearing existed. It wasn't safe to rest here.

"Sorry, Edward, but this won't do. We'll need to go deeper into the forest." The younger boy pouted.

"What about over here?" a calmer voice asked.

"Animal trail. Nicely done, Leonardo," the final member of the group stated. Sothe was all too happy to follow his group down the newly-found path.

It didn't take long for the trail to lead to another clearing. This one didn't show any signs of human interference. Sothe nodded his approval. Edward sat down with an exaggerated grin on his face. Leonardo sat with his back to a tree trunk. Nolan walked around the clearing, pausing every now and then to examine things that caught his interest. Sothe found a different tree to sit under, and did his best to collect his thoughts.

The Dawn Brigade numbered only four, but they were just famous enough to be noticed by the Begnion soldiers. Edward's enthusiasm was kept in check by Leonardo's realism. Nolan was older than all of them, and his advice had kept them out of the worst trouble.

[i]And what do I bring to the group? My knife? I'm the de facto leader because I've had more battle experience than all of them combined. Me, who fought alongside Ike in the war that turned Daein into this mess. Try as I might, I can't hate him. I know he didn't mean for Daein to stay ruined when he invaded, so why. . .why are things the way they are now?[/i]

"We aren't going to eat by just sitting around. I'll see if there's any rabbits around," Leonardo said quietly, as he disappeared into the thicket.

"Edward, come with me. We'll need a fire, but it can't be a smoky one." Edward quickly dusted himself off and followed Nolan back along the animal trail.

[i]I suppose I'd best find some water.[/i] Sothe took one last look at the empty clearing, and silently started down a path that none of his companions took.

===

"So, what do you think of her tale?" If he had been alone, Sothe would have gladly helped her. He wanted to make sure they would agree to this job. It meant facing Begnion soldiers again.

"The girl, uh. . .Laura, seems nice enough. We can help spread our cause this way!" Sothe kept his sigh to himself. He could always count on Edward to charge straight into a dangerous situation.

"We've already angered Begnion plenty. I don't like the idea of walking straight into one of their strongholds," Leonardo said quietly.

"Begnion wants us dead, anyway. Why not aid others while we have the chance?" Nolan chimed in, as he stroked his beard thoughtfully.

"I want to help her, too. I guess that settles it." Sothe turned back to the girl, who stood by patiently. "We'll get the medicine for your abbot."

"Y-you will? Thank you!" Laura started down the road.

"Hey, wait up! We're gonna take care of this for you, so just stay here and sit tight!" Edward called after her.

"Me? Not a chance! You're risking your lives for me, so the least I can do is help you!" Edward arched an eyebrow as she took out a staff. "I'm still learning, but I can help to patch up your wounds!"

"I think you'd best stay closest to me," Leonardo mumbled.

"Let's split up. Nolan, lead these guys through the front. I'll see if I can find the medicine while the soldiers are distracted," Sothe ordered. Everyone nodded, then split up.

[i]I hope this goes well. It would be nice if Laura joined up permanently. We could really use a healer.[/i]

---

"Ah, it's this one. Thank you!" Laura hastily pocketed the bottle, then followed the group that had helped her out of the mansion.

[i]Ah, praise be the Goddess! If it wasn't for them, the abbot would surely have died, but now--hey, where is everyone?[/i]

"Don't move, if you want to live!" She froze in her tracks, as several soldiers surrounded her.

"You, come with me." She cried out as one of the soldiers grabbed her arm tightly, and dragged her back down the path. "I should thank you, lass. You're gonna help me catch the Dawn Brigade!"

[i]Goddess, NO! I'd rather die than betray them. Please, all of you, forget about me! Turn back!![/i]

---

"Hey, where did Laura go?" Leonardo asked.

"You were the one that was supposed to be keeping an eye on her!" Edward shot back.

"Not now, you two. We should split up and look for her. I'll go with Edward. You go with Leonardo, Sothe." Sothe nodded at Nolan's suggestion.

"Everyone, meet at Kunu Swamp in three marks time, whether you've found her or not," Sothe ordered, before running down the path they'd just taken, Leonardo hot on his heels.

The surrounding area yielded no clues as to Laura's whereabouts. The pair headed for the swamp, to report their failure.

---

Three marks had passed, and the other half of the Dawn Brigade still had not arrived. Just as Sothe was about to leave to look for them, Nolan burst through the clearing, out of breath.

"I'm sorry, I got here as fast as I could. They got Edward," he gasped out.

"What do you mean, they got Edward?" Leonardo stated, much more loudly than Sothe was accustomed to hearing him speak.

"He said he heard a girl's scream, so he ran off in that direction before I could stop him. As I caught up, I heard yelling, so I hid. One of the soldiers said something about putting those two in a nearby prison. I had to take the long way back, to avoid being spotted."

"Nearby prison? I think I know where they are. Looks like we'll have to break in. I hope they're okay," Sothe said, worry in his voice.

---

The front of the prison was patrolled by several soldiers. One of the back entrances, however, was manned by a single guard. Sothe froze as the guard stared in his direction. Had he been spotted? Suddenly, the soldier gave out an exaggerated yawn.

"My shift's almost over, and the lout that's supposed to be after me is nowhere in sight, as usual. I suppose this means I'm all alone for now." The three members of the Dawn Brigade exchanged looks. Why was the guard announcing this? The loud soldier looked right back at them one more time, then slowly turned around. It was almost too easy.

By the time the guard's replacement had come, all he saw were scruff marks on the ground. Had he been looking closer, he would've seen them leading towards a storage shed.

---

"You guys are the best!" Edward exclaimed, as he grabbed his sword from Leonardo.

"Thank you, Dawn Brigade," Laura said shyly, holding the staff that Sothe had retrieved.

"Oh my, you grew up fast!" Sothe winced at the voice. He knew that woman!

"Hey, I didn't know you had a girlfriend," Nolan teased, as he clapped Sothe on the back. Sothe felt his face go red. ANYONE but her!

"Aimee, cut it out," Sothe said through gritted teeth. "We don't have time for this."

"Aww, you're a shy guy! But, we're in a hurry, so I'll let it slide for now." Part of him wanted to leave her in the cell, but he knew that Laura would never forgive him if he did that.

"Uh, can I have that?" another familiar voice asked. Sothe looked down at the book in his hands, then handed it over.

"Long time no see, Ilyana." Ilyana nodded her head in acknowledgement, then let the final person out.

"My name is Kurth. You have my thanks for letting me out, sir."

"That's everyone. Let's go."

---

Much to Sothe's disappointment, the courtyard was crawling with soldiers. The guard they had knocked out must've alerted the rest of them. He momentarily regretted leaving him alive. [i]But if they saw his dead body, the end result would be the same.[/i]

Rather than wait for the prison guards to act, Leonardo let loose an arrow. Though his shot wasn't fatal, it was enough to distract his target. Nolan ran up, and buried his axe into the unfortuante target's skull. After that, chaos reigned.

"Wait, NO!" Laura cried out. Sothe skidded to a halt. What was the cleric doing? The soldier that Sothe was about to engage stopped in mid-thrust. The leader of the Dawn Brigade took a closer look at his opponent. It was the guard he'd knocked out earlier.

"Laura?"

"Aran, stop it. These guys rescued me. Let them go!" Sothe saw the soldier's lance tip waver. If she could get one enemy out of the way by talking to him--

"Laura. . .I have a new life now. I'm a soldier of Begnion. I follow their orders." Laura screamed, as the soldier's lance grazed Sothe's shoulder.

"I. . .I don't believe this!" She placed herself between the two fighters, arms outstretched. "My friends have suffered enough because of me. You'll have to get through me before you hurt anyone else!" The soldier (Aran, was it?) froze.

"Soldier, what are you doing? Kill them!"

"I--I. . ." Despite the order, Aran did not move.

"If you will not do it, then I will get rid of them!" Sothe shoved Laura out of the way. She'd be safe, but there was no way he'd be able to dodge that strike. He braced himself for the worst, but nothing came.

"What. . .what have I done?" The commander lay dead, a lance through his chest. Aran turned around, weaponless. Blood stained his hands.

"You're with us, whether you like it or not, soldier," Sothe growled. Laura smiled weakly.

"I--I thought you'd grab Laura and leave. Why. . .why all this fighting? As long as it didn't affect me. . .I. . ." Laura walked up to Aran and slapped him across the face.

"Grow. Up. Daein is suffering. The people you grew up with. . .they have to live in this world. Will you support it, or will you help us change it?" Aran's shoulders slumped.

"All right. You win. I'm a traitor to Begnion. I think I'd have the best chance of living if I stayed with you guys." Laura rolled her eyes. Sothe couldn't help but smile.

"That's cute, but we're not out of the prison yet. Mind giving us a hand?" Leonardo yelled. Sothe turned his attention back to the battle. This would all be for nothing if they died here!

===

"You're the Dawn Brigade?" Aran asked cautiously. They had somehow made it out of the prison, alive. Laura worked on patching up Edward, who had taken an impressive number of wounds.

"Yes. We fight to restore Daein. I'm sorry we had to drag you into this, but--" Sothe was cut off by Laura.

"Aran, you wouldn't believe how I met them! I was looking around for someone to help break into the mansion so I could get the abbot's medicine, and then they showed up, as if the Goddess sent them! Would you believe it? They're really good at breaking into places!" She giggled at her own thoughts. Aran and Sothe exchanged looks.

"That's nice, Laura, but they said that they're fighting for Daein, not--"

"Ooh, we should fight by breaking into the super-rich Begnion places, and spread the wealth around! Wouldn't that help everyone?" Sothe slowly shook his head. What had gotten into her? He looked up at Aran, who had his face in his hands.

"Uh, Aran, is she always like this?" Aran shook his head.

"I'm sorry, Sothe. Once she gets an idea. . ." If Laura heard them, she didn't show it.

---

He wasn't sure why Aimee had asked him to call everyone together the next morning. He looked over the crowd. Most of them were familiar. Aimee walked up beside him a big smile on her face.

"All right, everyone, I asked Sothe to bring you all here for an announcement. We're merchants, and we hear all sorts of things as we travel. Anyway, it's said that there's a lost Daein prince looking to gain the throne." Murmurs rippled through the crowd. Aimee cleared her throat, and they fell silent. "If you wish to find him, he's in the eastern desert, trying to solidify his claim."

"That's great! We should solidify our forces immediately!" Leonardo sighed at Edward. Nolan shook his head.

"Thanks for the info, Aimee, but was this assembly really necessary?" Sothe whispered.

"Yes it was! If you're a commander, you'd better start acting like one!" The thought of leading a large troop made no sense to Sothe. Who would follow a rogue? Ike, at least, could swing a sword, and inspire his troops by being on the front lines. Sothe did his job best when no one noticed him. He wasn't cut out to be a commander!

"Hey, Sothe!" Nolan's voice startled him out of his thoughts. "We're waiting on your word." Aran's face was expressionless. Laura's expression told Sothe that she'd walk across the ocean to Kilvas, if he requested it.

"Uh, right. We might as well investigate the rumors. If they're false, we won't have to worry about Begnion for a while. If they're true, we'll have more leverage. We benefit either way." The crowd cheered.

[i]Is this what Ike had to face? I feel so strange, standing up in front of my friends, and dictating their fate. We're supposed to be a small group, fighting for a common cause, not an army! What have I gotten myself into?[/i]

===

[i]This has been a strange turn of events. We got lost, and wandered into a bandit-infested building. Ilyana didn't seem rattled by the enemies, but the Dawn Brigade's battle cries shocked me. It had been a long time indeed since I'd called a laguz anything but laguz. . .but my comrades threw around "half-breed" and "subhuman" with disturbing ease. Even the new girl, Meg, began using it towards the end of the fight.[/i]

"What's so interesting about the wall?" Nolan asked, as he took a seat near Sothe.

"Uh, nothing," he mumbled in response. The older man's eyebrows knit.

"Is that any way to be treating your troops? Something's bothering you." Sothe shook his head. How could he address this? Maybe if he--

"When we were fighting those bandits. . .you guys were calling them 'half-breeds' and whatnot. I. . .I'm not. . ." Sothe trailed off.

"Oh, so that's what it was? Sorry." Edward looked crestfallen. The rest of the Dawn Brigade stood near him.

"I was fightin' alongside y'all, and ev'n though Pa taught me better, I got caught up with ev'ryone. Sorry, sir." Sothe looked at the girl who said that, but Meg didn't meet his eyes.

"This is how we were raised. . .but. . ." Leonardo trailed off.

"We are beorc, the seed of wisdom. Those that we fought today are laguz, the seed of strength. One is not inherently better than the other. We should not be fighting each other because we are different." Much to Sothe's surprise, he heard mumbled apologies from his group. Ilyana smiled.

"Well, that was a touching speech," an unfamiliar voice called out. Sothe instinctively readied one of his knives. A woman walked out to greet him. A sash covered one of her eyes, and the ears on top of her head--ears?! Those weren't cat ears! A bushy tail appeared briefly appeared to her left. She was most definitely a laguz, but not something that he was familiar with.

"Put that away. If I wanted to kill you, I would've done so already. My name is Nailah. I come from a country far to the east." Murmurs rippled through the Dawn Brigade. "I didn't believe there was anyone on the other side of the desert, either. Someone special brought me here. Hey, it's safe to come out!" The first figure that came out looked like someone from Nailah's country. Sothe felt his jaw drop when he saw the second figure. Those white wings could have only come from one place!

"I-I don't believe it. A heron prince? What are you doing here?" The heron took a step back. Nailah arched an eyebrow.

"Once, a few years back, I traveled with a similar white-winged laguz named Reyson." Nailah put a hand on the heron's shoulder, as he had begun to waver.

"R-Reyson? He's alive? Oh, thank the goddess!" he exclaimed.

"Last I heard, your sister Leanne and your father are alive as well. All of them should be in Gallia."

"Thank you, beorc. My family. . .I have family. . ." The heron's wings fluttered, as he sank down in shock.

"This is Rafiel. He's Reyson's older brother. We found him wandering in the desert. He told us of the massacre of his people by beorc hands. We weren't sure about your group, but after that speech of yours, I'm willing to trust you. A little." The other wolf walked forward. Even in his untransformed state, Sothe wasn't sure if it would be a wise idea to tangle with him. He heard shuffling behind him, and looked back. Everyone except for Ilyana had taken a couple of steps backwards. If Nailah noticed, she didn't show it.

"This mangy mutt's Volug. I would like him to travel with you. He, in turn, will tell me what he thinks of your group. Call it an exercise in diplomacy." Several people gasped as Volug transformed from something that looked like a young man to a large wolf.

"Laguz can't stay like this for long," Sothe commented.

"Oh, he's halfshifted. In this form, he can stay like this for an entire day. Now, be a good boy, and travel with them. Try not to chew on their shoes."

"Uh, miss, why are you referring to him as a dog? He looked like a human not too long ago." Laura asked shyly.

"Doesn't he look like one? He's gonna be someone's pet dog, so you'd better start treating him like it."

"Um, thank you, Nailah," Sothe managed to choke out. Treat a laguz like a pet? What was she thinking?

"Hmph. If he needs to find me, he knows how. I'm sure you have better things to do with your time than stand around here." Sothe nodded. It didn't take long for the Dawn Brigade to assemble and leave. Nailah waited until she could no longer hear them.

"Rafiel, what did you get from them?"

"Your Highness, their leader was genuine about his treatment of laguz. The others seemed uncertain, but they will follow him. Did you really have to do this?" She turned to him, a much gentler expression on her face.

"You heard how they were when they fought the bandits. I'm not familiar with this country, and it would be bad if Hatari's queen died because she was careless." Rafiel nodded in response.

"After hearing your thoughts, I think Volug will be fine. I didn't expect them to accept us outright, but it seems their leader isn't a bad person." A smile played across her lips.

"I'm more afriad that the girls in the group are going to overfeed him," he replied, a smile of his own on his lips.

===

It did not take long before Volug chose Laura as his mistress. When she wasn't healing people or gathering herbs, she was at his side. Aran wasn't too happy with her new pet, and it seemed that Volug didn't like him - or any of the other males in the Dawn Brigade.

"Aw, I wanna play with him," Meg said, with a pout. Volug whined. She sighed and produced a meatball. He ate the treat and licked her hands, which caused her to giggle.

"Oooh, that looked good. Do you have any extras?" He trotted over to Ilyana, and gently butted her midsection. She smiled faintly and patted him on the head.

"I think he's pretending to be a dog, so he can get close to the girls," Aran grumbled.

"I wish I was in Volug's place right now," Edward whined. Leonardo said nothing, but his face reddened.

Volug pranced between the girls, completely oblivious to the objections by the males in the group.

===

This time, the Dawn Brigade did not get lost. Battle had already begun between Begnion and a small group of defenders. It didn't take long for Sothe to pick out a familiar pink-haired girl on a wyvern. He heard shouts, as a group of Begnion soldiers charged towards his group.

[i]Greetings will have to wait.[/i] "DAWN BRIGADE, ATTACK!"

---

Sothe looked at the attendance. Most of the Dawn Brigade stayed outside with Zihark. Tauroneo and Jill stood guard at the door. Sothe regarded the two people in front of him. One was old, bedraggled, and mumbled to himself. The other fidgeted nervously. Motion in the shadows caught his eye. A third figure stood by, almost as still as a statue, and clothed head to toe in black. [i]This is what we came out here for?[/i]

"So you SAY you're the leader of the Dawn Brigade? HAH! You don't look old enough to lead! And I've never even heard of your ragged group. I think you're Begnion spies trying to get rid of Prince Pelleas." Sothe felt his face go red. His group had been rejected before he'd even made his case!

"Izuka, calm yourself. He hasn't said anything in his defense so far. I'd like to hear from him. Why do you wish to join our cause?" Sothe regarded the blue-haired figure who had spoken. His fidgeting had been replaced by an unreadable expression. [i]I might have misjudged him.[/i]

"The Dawn Brigade fights to free Daein from Begnion's mistreatment. We felt that your cause would be the best way to do so. If you won't accept our help, we'll go elsewhere," Sothe said curtly. Izuka frowned. The one Sothe assumed was Pelleas smiled.

"Straightforward and honest. I like that. I'm willing to let him in." Izuka choked.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING! It's obvious he's lying! Guards, take him! Take him and--" His rant was interrupted by a commotion at the door. A brown flash stood by Sothe, hackles raised.

"Volug, come back! WWe're not supposed to be in here!" Laura cried out from the doorway.

"Oh, what is this? It's quite big for a house pet," Izuka commented. Sothe didn't like the gleam in his eyes.

"This is, um, our mascot. We found him injured. He's been very loyal to the one who healed him," Sothe stammered.

"Come here, Volug! There, that's a good boy!" Jill moved just enough so Volug could approach Laura.

"I'm afraid I will have to override your judgment, Izuka. This boy does not appear to be lying," the shadowed figure said, as it stepped into the light. A woman?

"Whaat? I'm the one that's supposed to make tactical decisions around here!" Izuka protested.

"If they were Begnion spies, why would they be caring for a Daein dog?" Tauroneo said, as he walked up to the meeting. "I am in agreement with Lady Almedha. I think we can trust them."

"Ugh, fine, suit yourselves!" Sothe had to keep from laughing as Izuka stormed out of the room.

"My apologies, Sothe, was it? Izuka can be overprotective of my son. My name is Almedha. I was the late King Ashnard's consort, and Pelleas is my son," she explained. Sothe inclined his head.

"Thank you, my lady. We will do our best to put Daein's rightful heir back on the throne." Pelleas smiled in agreement. Sothe did his best to bow respectfully before leaving.

Well out of earshot of everyone else, Izuka chuckled to himself. Oh, if they only knew what treasure they had! [i]I'm sure that their dog is a subhuman! I've never seen one like it before. I want him as a specimin![/i]

---

"Bad boy! How dare you interrupt an important meeting like that!" Laura scolded. Volug whined.

[i]You and your beorc ears couldn't hear what was going on. Sothe was in danger. I ran in to save him. Why is it so hard for us to understand each other?[/i]

"Well, it looks like you helped win Sothe over, so I guess it's all right. But don't do that again!"

[i]I'm supposed to gather information on the beorc. You're useless if you're all dead.[/i]

---

"And like this!" Zihark exclaimed, as he finished his parry with a thrust. Edward's eyes widened.

"Wow, I need to learn how to do that!" he yelled with excitement.

"I s'pose it'd be useful, if I could twirl all prettylike," a female voice cut in. Zihark and Edward both jumped, as Meg stepped out from behind a tree. When she wasn't clad in armor, she was surprisingly quiet.

"I--uh, hi Meg," Zihark mumbled.

"Oh, you use swords too! Can you practice with me?" Edward asked, completely oblivious to Zihark's unease. Meg giggled and grabbed one of the practice swords.

"I 'ad ta fight lambs that 'ad more meat on their bones than ya!" she taunted playfully. Edward gave his best battle cry and charged.

Zihark observed the two a safe distance away. Meg was the daughter of the farmer he'd fought alongside in the Mad King's war. She'd gotten it into her head that Zihark was her groom-to-be. Edward was enthusiastic to the point of exhaustion. He hoped they'd keep each other occupied long enough for him to get some rest.

---

"You're joining the Daein Liberation Army? I should take my leave," Kurth told Sothe quietly.

"Why is that? You have a lot of interesting stories to tell, and Volug seems comfortable around you." Kurth let out a mirthless chuckle.

"Truth be told, I despise fighting. I think I'll go back home, where things are more peaceful."

"It's a shame to hear that. I hope we meet again someday." The pilgrim smiled warmly before departing down the road. Sothe wished him a safe journey home.

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[b]Daein's Liberation - Part 2[/b]

The Dawn Brigade's first task was to liberate Terin. Sothe had not been privy to the reasoning behind it. He regarded everyone's weapons. Though the Daein Liberation Army was small, Izuka had somehow gotten his hands on some decent weapons and armor. He looked out at the field. The Dawn Brigade had fought Begnion's soldiers before, but this group appeared to be much more competent than their previous encounters.

"Watch yourselves. These guys won't fold as easily as the others," Nolan told Edward and Leonardo quietly.

"I'll do what I can," Leonardo responded, just as quietly, then glared at Edward when he opened his mouth.

"It's time. Let's go." As one, the Daein Liberation Army took to the field, with Tauroneo leading the charge.

---

The first wave of soldiers went down much faster than Sothe expected. Everyone stood in front of a Begnion commander, who had several civilians in front of him.

"Drop your weapons. All of you. Or they die." The unfortunate prisoners shifted nervously. A blade to the throat of one of them made everyone freeze. He heard something heavy hit the ground. Meg had dropped her sword.

"These guys didn' ask ta be a'fightin'. We're tha ones you wanna fight. Let 'em go," she protested. Several more weapons dropped. Sothe sighed and put his knife down. He was about to stand when he heard Meg scream. An arrow protruded from her shoulder. How--

"You're a brave lass, you know that? You can be the first to die!" Another arrow buried itself into Meg's frame. Sothe grabbed his knife. Where was the archer? One of the civilians hit the ground, as the commander's blade neatly took off his head.

"As the rightful ruler of Daein, you will cease this nonsense!" Darkness shrouded the field for a moment. When Sothe could see again, the commander had fallen back. The archer lay on the ground, unmoving. Pelleas ran up near Sothe.

"Pelleas? What are you doing here?" Sothe asked bluntly. Horse hooves from behind answered his question. More Begnion troops?

"Good timing, Fiona. Finish the one with the cape, and end this rebellion!" the commander yelled. Sothe swallowed hard as the hoof beats got louder. There was no way they could fend off this kind of pincer! Sothe braced himself, then stared in surprise as the mounted unit ran right past him. The commander didn't stand a chance, as the head of the calvary unit speared him right through. Several more Begnion soldiers fell before they formed up ranks again. The girl who had killed the commander shook his body off of her lance.

"You encroach on my land, kill my civilians, attack unarmed soldiers, and ask me to turn my lance on someone who has saved the life of a girl. I will not forgive such atrocities!" He stared in bewilderment as the battle restarted in front of him.

"Sothe, what are you doing? Daein Liberation Army, CHARGE!" Aran did his best to pull the arrows out of Meg, while Laura used her staff. Sothe turned his attention towards the fight unfolding in front of him. [i]Someone needs to get the civilians to safety. I'm probably better at that than trying to unhorse a bunch of mounted enemies.[/i]

---

"That--that was a lot harder than I thought it would be," Pelleas gasped, as he collapsed on a nearby chair.

"What possessed you to join the field of battle?" Sothe winced as Tauroneo glared at him. [i]Right, he's the prince. I need to treat him with more respect.[/i]

"Ashnard, erm, my father rode at the forefront of his army. If I am to reclaim my heritage, I must do the same." Sothe sighed and shook his head.

"No disrespect, Your Highness, but soldiers can be replaced. You cannot," he stated, as politely as his temper would let him.

"I'm--I'm sorry," Pelleas said, defeat in his voice. "I've been living as a commoner for most of my life. I don't think I'm all that special. You guys are fighting for me, and--" He was abruptly cut off by Tauroneo.

"Sothe is right. We can't have you charge recklessly on the field of battle. Please have faith in us, Your Highness," Tauroneo said, far more evenly than Sothe could've.

"You're right. Thank you, all of you." Just then, Izuka burst into the room.

"Your Highness, what were you thinking? Ah, forget it! Thanks to my brilliant tactical genius, our army has swelled in size!" Sothe purposefully relaxed the grip on his knife hilt. The Daein Liberation Army had gone in with a handful of troops, and left with far more than that. Fiona had pledged her soldiers to their cause, and a number of civilians had volunteered to join their ranks. Something told Sothe this turn of events had very little to do with whatever Izuka babbled about.

"I--I'm getting hungry. This will be a good time to acquaint myself with the new recruits," Pelleas stated, rising slowly from his chair.

"My son, what are you doing? You can't just mingle with commoners! You're their prince," Almedha interrupted.

"I'll stand guard over him. Happy, my lady?" Sothe asked bluntly. Almedha opened her mouth to reply, then closed it again.

"Thank you, Sothe," the prince stated, before leaving. Without a word, Sothe followed.

---

"Here, Your Highness. The line's long, so you can have this. I'm not hungry," Ilyana said, as she handed her untouched bowl to Pelleas.

"You? Not hungry? Are you serious, Ilyana?" Pelleas took the bowl with thanks, and began eating ravenously.

"Truth be told, I'm really hungry, Sothe. However, he looked hungrier than me, and the line's really long," she whispered. Sothe nodded.

"Thank you, miss, uh--" Pelleas trailed off.

"My name's Ilyana. I saw you fight today. You're really good," she said softly. Much to Sothe's concern, she swayed a bit.

"You're the one that uses thunder magic, right? You're really good, too." She beamed at his compliment.

"I'll, uh, be right back with some food," Sothe mumbled, as the two mages discussed magical things that Sothe found both confusing and boring. [i]I'm hungry, and Ilyana's always hungry. I hope they let me have two bowls.[/i]

---

Jill rose early, as always. It was easier to get certain things done when mostly everyone was asleep. There was a bathing place not too far from camp. With luck, there'd be no one there. A scream from the general area told her she was wrong.

"W--what's a sub-human doing here?" Fiona screeched. The sub-human in question stood waist-deep in water, with a look on his face that bordered between indignant and embarrassed.

"You're Fiona, right?" The girl nodded. "The proper term to use for him is laguz. He might have a tail and strange ears, but he's got feelings too."

"But that tail--" Fiona started.

"Hmm, you're right. He looks like he's from the beast tribe, but his tail is far too bushy to be a cat, tiger, or lion. Maybe he's that oversized dog I've seen running around?"

"How can you be so calm about this?"

"I fought alongside them in the Mad King's War. It was scary at first, but their strength is amazing in battle. When they're not fighting, they talked to others, including me. They have likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams. . .just like us."

"Oh, I didn't know that," Fiona said quietly. She fell silent for a moment. "I remember seeing a dark shape running around amidst the battle yesterday. Was that him?" Jill turned back to the person in the water, who had gone completely red.

"I think so. The ears and tail match, certainly. But why are they treating him like a dog? And how can he hold his beast form for so long? Most laguz I've seen need to transform out of beast form every now and then, because it's tiring."

"This is a fascinating discussion," Aran stated. The two girls jumped at the sound of his voice. "I think he's trying to take a bath. Can you continue this elsewhere?" The two girls squeaked their apologies before quickly vacating the area. Aran rolled his eyes at them before leaving.

Volug felt his face cool down. [i]Thanks man, I owe you one.[/i]

===

"Sothe, can I have a moment?" Sothe nodded, then walked over to Tauroneo. "The prince has requested your presence."

The meeting place was strewn with maps. Izuka stood over one, pointing to places that had no meaning to Sothe. Pelleas also stood by, head cocked to one side. Fiona stood nearby, but Sothe couldn't think of a reason why she was here.

"We plan on striking Umono next. We'd like to know how the Dawn Brigade operated before you came here." Sothe swallowed hard.

"Leonardo would shoot at distant enemies. If he didn't kill them outright, Edward, Nolan, and myself would run up and finish them. Laura, Aran, Ilyana, and Meg are relatively recent additions, but our overall strategy hasn't changed much. Why do you ask?"

"Thank you, Sothe. Izuka, are you satisfied?" Izuka threw his hands up in the air.

"FINE. But don't come whining to me when you realize that poisoning their water would've been more effective!" he yelled, before leaving in a huff. Sothe arched an eyebrow.

"My apologies. What I proposed is to have a larger force draw out the majority of the prison guards, while a smaller force sneaks in and frees the prisoners. It sounds like the Dawn Brigade will work perfectly for that," Tauroneo explained.

"I, too, agree with Tauroneo's plan. If we poison the water, we'll make the prisoners sick, too," Pelleas stated.

"Since we are dealing with a work camp, I have offered my troops as transport, for those who may be too weak to walk out on their own," Fiona added.

"Very well. I'll let the others know."

---

The conditions in the work camp were just as bad as the rumors made them out to be. The best of the prisoners looked badly beaten. Sothe was glad Fiona had volunteered to go with him. There was no way he could carry that many people out.

"Why are there so many guards here? Did they learn of our strategy?" Leonardo whispered to Sothe. The latter shrugged. Suddenly, the guards began running towards the back gate. A roar resounded through the prison. Volug's ears perked. What was a tiger doing here?

"I don't know what just happened, but we're not gonna get another opportunity like this! Let's go!" The guards, whose attention was now split between the fight at the back gate and the oncoming Dawn Brigade, didn't stand a chance.

---

[i]Most of the army thinks I'm the mascot of the Dawn Brigade. They don't talk about laguz much, but when they do, it's usually in a bad way. Sothe and a few others know better, and see laguz and beorc as equals. I would like to stay with Sothe and his group.[/i] Nailah nodded and said nothing. Once Volug had taken his leave, she smiled.

"Looks like you were right, Rafiel. This land is made up of ignorance. It looks like Sothe is trying to bridge the gap between laguz and beorc here. I trust you have no objections if we were to aid him a little?" It was Rafiel's turn to nod.

"He has grown fond of his companions, and not just because the girls play with him," Rafiel said quietly. "I have no objections, Your Majesty." She let out an unladylike snicker.

"Flirting with beorc? I think he has more sense than that!"

---

"You're early," Sothe grumbled to the redheaded newcomer.

"You're grumpy! But the apostle knows what's going on in Daein now. She's not the type to sit back and let things happen!"

"Who are these people?" Pelleas asked, as he walked up to Sothe.

"The redhead's Tormod, the tiger's Muarim, and the raven's, uh. . ." Sothe trailed off.

"I'm Vika," she said evenly. "Nice to meetcha." Pelleas blinked a few times.

"I--I'm sorry. This is my first time meeting people from the beast and bird tribes. Please, forgive me." Tormod laughed.

"Hey, that's okay! You don't seem like a bad guy. Mind if we give ya a hand?" Pelleas turned to Sothe.

"Sure. Muarim's a fearsome fighter, and Vika can attack from the sky." Tormod pouted.

"What about me, Sothe?"

"You can annoy the enemies until they kill themselves."

===

"Uh, guys, we have a problem," Vika yelled, as best as she could. "I flew over a nearby swamp, and I saw what looks like a mass execution."

"WHAT?!" Tormod screamed. Sothe dropped what he was doing, and ran over.

"I've heard nothing of this! It must be a trap!" Izuka exclaimed, as he burst out of his tent.

"Neither have I," Sothe mumbled to himself. "I think this warrants investigation. Permission to go by myself to see what's going on?"

"Absolutely not!" Izuka screeched.

"Take who you think is necessary, and go," Pelleas said evenly. "It would look very bad if they really are executing the prisoners, and we do nothing."

"Thank you, Your Highness," Sothe yelled over his shoulder. [i]I can't handle that many enemies alone. I'm gonna need to think of something, and fast.[/i]

"Where do you think you're going?" Vika asked, her voice betraying no emotion. Behind her stood the rest of the Dawn Brigade.

"While you were busy talking, I got them together for you. Muarim and Tormod have already left. Meet you there," she said, before taking to the skies.

"Amazing," Sothe mumbled. "You heard her. Let's GO!"

---

"There's so many!" Laura lamented, as she healed the latest person Volug had rescued. Another person was deposited near her.

"You're such a good puppy--HEY! You're not Volug!" she exclaimed, when she looked up. The white wolf in front of her transformed into. . .a woman?

"You're the one that's been taking care of Volug, right?" Laura nodded mutely. Was this the one that they had met back in the desert? So much had happened since then!

"Though he can't express it yet, he appreciates it. Don't spoil him too much, or I'll have to beat it out of him when we get back home," the woman stated, before transforming back into a white wolf.

"Y--yes ma'am!" Laura yelled at the retreating laguz.

---

"It's harder to fight when I have to avoid hitting the prisoners," Leonardo commented to Nolan. The latter nodded.

"They are using them as shields," he replied.

"Useless!" the enemy called out. Leonardo turned around. When did he get so close?! The rest of his taunt ended with a gurgle. A large white wolf stood behind the fallen enemy. It howled, and a very familiar figure appeared next to it.

"It seems we meet again," Rafiel stated calmly.

"Aren't you a prince or something? What are you doing here? You don't look like you can use a weapon," Nolan stated, frustration making him more blunt than normal.

"I do not have beorc weapons or talons to aid me, but I cannot stand by as you risk your lives to save your people." Much to Leonardo and Nolan's surprise, he began to sing.

"This song. . .I feel better. . ." Leonardo mumbled, as Rafiel finished singing.

"We of the heron tribe can't fight, but we can help people with our song," he explained.

"I'm sorry for misjudging you, Your Majesty," Nolan apologized.

"Please, save the prisoners. I have seen far too many innocents slaughtered in my time. . ." he trailed off.

"Yes, sir!" Leonardo explained, and took aim at an enemy whose back was to him. Nolan smiled when Leonardo's target fell, an arrow protruding from his head.

---

"Sub-humans? Here?! HELP!" one of the prisoners cried out, as Muarim picked him up. "He's gonna eat me!"

"Will you SHUT UP? Muarim helped to free you! That's no way to thank him!" Tormod yelled back.

"Have you gone daft, kid? They're not human! I don't trust them!" Tormod cursed under his breath as the prisoners murmured in agreement.

"What's going on?" Sothe snapped.

"Oh, you're the leader? Tell these sub-humans to get away from us!" a prisoner called out. Sothe growled.

"Suh-human?! This is how you show your appreciation to the laguz who saved your lives? If Vika hadn't spotted you from above, you'd all be at the bottom of this swamp!" One of the younger prisoners struggled to rise, then fell, gasping. To the astonishment of the other prisoners, he dragged himself forward. Sothe looked at the boy's leg, and winced. It was badly broken.

"You're the, uh, sub-human. . .what was it. . .that saw us? Thank you, miss," he stammered out. Vika's expression softened.

"His mind. . .it must be clouded from the pain. . ." one of the prisoners mumbled. The boy turned back to the others.

"She saved us. All of us. You can sit in this swamp until you rot. My ma and pa taught me to thank those who have been nice to us!" More grumbles from the prisoners.

"I like that. If you can accept help from laguz, you can come with us. Otherwise, you're on your own. Choose," Sothe ordered.

By the end of the day, not a single prisoner stayed behind.

===

[i]One after another, the camps fell. Whenever we liberated a camp, our numbers increased. No one person could credit themselves with all the victories. Sometimes, Izuka would have a moment of insight, and his plan would work. Othertimes, Pelleas would make an offhand comment, and that would gel into a strategy. Most of the time, Tauroneo would propose something tried and true, and it would work. The Dawn Brigade had taken to training the newcomers. Nolan and Leonardo were now squad commanders. Edward served happily under Zihark, and Meg had found friends among other armored soldiers. Aran served under Tauroneo, and Laura split her time between healing, "taking care" of Volug, and teaching the children who had nowhere else to go. Ilyana was more comfortable helping with supplies, but she was still a sight to behold on the battlefield. I did my best to smooth relations between beorc and laguz, and make sure Pelleas didn't wander into danger. I was called into strategy meetings more often. When did life become so busy?[/i]

"You don't look too well, Sothe. Are you okay?" Sothe nodded wearily to the prince. "I'm going to bed early, so you don't have to worry about me." Pelleas smiled wanly as Sothe staggered back to his own tent.

"I will go to sleep, soon. Right now, I just want to be alone." Pelleas found a secluded spot and sat down. The forest was so quiet, and peaceful. In moments, he'd fallen asleep.

---

Clanking armor woke him up. Where was he? What had happened? Someone grabbed him roughly.

"YOU. You're the one that's causing this rebellion. If I kill you now, the rebels won't have a chance," the soldier growled.

"Who are you? What do you want?" Pelleas gasped as he felt something sharp next to his throat.

"It won't matter to you, because you're about to die." Screams cut through the conversation. From the torches, Pelleas could see a large figure clad in black armor. It couldn't be. . .

"You will not harm Daein's heir," the imposing figure said, surprisingly calm.

"Who the hell are you?" the soldier said roughly, as he threw Pelleas down. The prince grunted and rubbed his throat.

"I am the Black Knight, and I serve Daein. Stand aside, or die." It was a statement of fact, with no anger or hate behind it.

"Curse you. . .fine. Men, douse the torches. This thing in armor can't be everywhere at once. Our target is the prince. Kill him and bring me his head!"

[i]Darkness. . .this is my element. I can do this. I WILL do this. I'm supposed to be strong![/i]

---

"Hmph. Fled." Again, the Black Knight's words held no emotion. Pelleas leaned against a tree. He was exhausted, but. . .

[i]I'm enjoying it. When the darkness takes the enemy, I find pleasure in their screams. Is this supposed to happen?[/i]

"Your Highness, what are you doing all the way out here? And WHAT?!" Sothe took out his knife, even though he knew it would do no good against the armored figure in front of him.

"Be at ease. I fight for Daein's liberation." Sothe glared, but put his knife away. Pelleas smiled weakly.

"I'm sorry. This is once again my fault. I'm not used to being surrounded by so many people. I just wanted some time alone." He sank down, exhaustion taking its toll.

"Let's sort it out tomorrow. Right now, we both need some rest."

"What about him?" Pelleas said, motioning towards the Black Knight.

"You need not worry about me. When Daein needs me, I will be here." With that, he walked back into the forest. Sothe and Pelleas made their way back to camp, neither saying a word to the other.

===

"I hear rumors that the Begnion forces have holed themselves up in the castle, and are laying siege to the town. What's going on?" Edward asked Aran. The latter shrugged.

"I'm just a soldier. I let the higher-ups handle this sort of thing. It's too complicated," he said, yawning lazily.

"I'm nervous, because I finally got my own unit to lead. I heard you did, too," Edward said.

"Yeah. What were they thinking?"

---

"The apostle has made her move. That HAS to be it," Sothe mused. Tormod nodded. "Whatever it is, it's gotten them scared."

"I don't know what she's planning, but when she puts her mind to something, nothing can stop her," he replied.

"Oh, so THAT'S why things have gotten messy? You should tell the army's main tactician about such things!" Izuka interrupted. Tormod shook his head.

"I feel like they're forcing our hand. But why would they do something like that?" Sothe wondered aloud.

"It's probably a trap, to make us look bad!" the old man shrieked.

"I hate to agree with him, but I think he's right," Tormod grumbled. "Yet we can't just stand by while they lay Nevassa to waste."

"It's settled, then. We retake the castle, or we die trying. It's the least we can do." Sothe didn't care what Izuka yelled at him. This was his home, and he refused to stand by while it was being destroyed.

"You are a blockhead and a jerk. Count me in," Tormod stated.

---

When Sothe walked out of his tent, he nearly fell over when he saw the entire army mobilized.

"I heard what you have planned. I can't let you steal all the glory, can I?" Pelleas asked, a smile on his lips.

"Your Highness, you stand to damage diplomatic relations with Begnion if you do this," he warned.

"They started it," the prince retorted. Some of the front line troops giggled.

"Your Highness, you can't conduct yourself like this if you are to be Daein's king! We are about to start the battle to determine Daein's fate. Can you at least give the troops a short motivational speech?" To his credit, Pelleas looked embarrassed. He cleared his throat and raised his voice.

"Soldiers of the Liberation Army! Heed my--ugh, no, uh, hear my words! I am Pelleas, true prince of Daein." Some of the soldiers nearest to Pelleas made some off-the-cuff remarks. Sothe glared at them, and they fell silent.

"Uhh. . .and. . .and so, beloved friends and comrades dear. With thanks to you, our capital lies close! And if we do not act, if we turn back, the war still ends with us the victors proud, and Daein's rule still falls back to our hands. And if we choose to fight and free this town, we may enrage the empire once again. Thus Daein's fortune turns to sorrow swift. But while I speak, Nevassa's hardship grows! Our brothers suffer, our sisters die, and. . .um, I shall not. . .er. . .I cannot ignore this tragedy. No man can, and certainly no prince. I cannot look away when my people suffer. And so, uh, I ask you all. Please, will you join me?!"

[i]He needs to work on his delivery, but I think he made his point. The soldiers seem fired up.[/i]

---

"NO, you will not lead the troops in battle, my son!" Almedha yelled. Final preparations were underway, and the prince's mother wasn't having any of it.

"Mother, if I am to be recognized as Daein's king, I have to do this!" Pelleas shot back.

"It's too dangerous! What if you die? I cannot bear the thought of losing my son again!" Pelleas stared back at her, as coldly as he could.

"I will NOT die. I have faith that they'll protect me. And this is why I have to go!" Almedha reached for her son, but he had left.

"No. . .no, don't leave me alone. . .please. . ." She took out a stone from her sleeve.

"Brother. . .why did you leave? I have so much to tell you."

---

Getting into the castle was not easy. The Daein Liberation Army suffered casualties before they even reached the gates of the castle. Even with the best of their troops, it took an agonizing amount of time to break down the gates. With a roar, the rebel army rushed through the gates. Some of the army broke off, to keep various Begnion units at bay. The main force, led by the prince, swept into the throne room. A large detachment of Begnion's soldiers stood in the throne room. Their leader sat on the throne. Pelleas gulped hard. That was the soldier that nearly killed him in the forest!

"We've lived as proud soldiers of the empire! Let us die as proud soldiers of the empire!! Now GO!" The Begnion soldiers cried out as one.

"No holding back! FOR DAEIN!!" The final battle for Daein's independence was underway.

---

"These guys are no joke!" Edward yelled to Zihark, as the former dodged a lance strike. Zihark parried a sword strike, and cursed under his breath as his opponent retreated, leaving no opening.

"Concentrate on the battle!" Zihark yelled back. Edward struck at his opponent's midsection, but his blade was turned by the opponent's armor. Several more soldiers poured down the stairs. Zihark felt his blood run cold.

"We fight to the end!" Edward cried out, as the fresh soldiers rushed forward. A bright flash of light stopped everyone for a split second. The battle cry of the Begnion soldiers changed to screams, as a figure in black armor cut them down.

"When Daein needs me, I come," the armored figure said, as he slowly advanced towards the enemy. Zihark and Edward shrugged, and followed.

---

[i]Turn and strike. I protect the prince's back. He, in turn, clears the way forward.[/i] They had broken through the ranks, and had made it to the throne. The enemy commander stood there, unfazed by the chaos folding around him.

"I should've killed you back there," the commander growled.

"Same here," Pelleas responded. Sothe stopped to take a look at the prince's face. Gone was the somewhat uncertain expression. Instead, he wore a twisted grin. His eyes widened, and Sothe felt the air grow heavy.

The commander dodged, and avoided the brunt of the spell. Sothe quickly rushed in to strike. The enemy quickly brought his lance up to bear, and Sothe was forced to stop his charge. Time and again, the same scene played out. Sometimes, Sothe rushed to strike. Othertimes, he retreated, to keep the commander from striking the prince. It was clear that neither side had the advantage.

"Hey, aim your next spell over there," Sothe whispered, then charged forward. As anticipated, his enemy dodged straight into the spell. Sothe cried out as part of the blast struck him. It felt like acid! He dimly registered the enemy rising up, and mounting a charge. Sothe tried to move, but his body refused to obey him. Pelleas started another spell.

[i]So close! I can't move, but at least my death won't be in vain![/i] He felt the hair on his arms stand on end. Instead of a dark spell, the prince had used. . .thunder? Sensation slowly returned to him, and the injured rogue crawled out of the way.

"For all the pain you put Daein through. . .for all the suffering my people have endured because of you. . .I pass my judgment on you!" Pelleas' voice rose as a cloud of darkness enveloped the enemy commander. A cackle rose from the prince, as the darkness tore at the commander's body. When the darkness dissipated, the commander's armor lay on the floor. Blood spotted the near-empty armor, the floor, and the walls. Something white gleamed through the armor. Sothe chose not to look.

"No more shall Daein bow to you. We are free now!" Sothe gasped as the prince casually kicked the armor on the floor, and strode to the throne. What was going on?!

"Your Highness, you've won. Please. . .please. . .stop the fighting. . ." The crazed look faded from Pelleas' face. He looked at the armor on the floor, then sank to his knees and threw up.

"Oh for crying out loud. . ." Sothe grumbled. He slowly rose, and limped out to the doors.

"The day has been won! Daein is ours!" The last remaining Begnion troops threw down their weapons, but it was too late. They were cut down to a man.

===

The party in the castle was long and loud. Sothe stepped outside to escape the noise. Daein was free, but at what cost?

"Yo, good timing! We're just about to head out!" Tormod yelled.

"You're not gonna stick around for the party?" Sothe yelled back.

"Nah. People keep staring at Muarim and Vika, and it's making them feel weird. We've got some other stuff to do, too!" Sothe waved as his friends headed out. [i]You are loud, annoying, and a pain. . .but thank you, Tormod.[/i]

"And it's about time we left, too." Nailah stood in her beorc form, with Volug and Rafiel. Laura ran out, distraught.

"Volug, I'm gonna miss you! You're a really cute dog!" she yelled. Nailah arched an eyebrow.

"What did you do to that girl," she growled. Volug visibly shrank.

"Your Highness, I think that girl likes cute things, and thought that Volug was cute in his wolf form," Rafiel explained.

"Your. . .Highness? Am I missing something?" Sothe asked pointedly.

"Ah, I guess it was gonna get out sooner than later. I am Hatari's queen, and Volug is one of my retainers. He told me much about your group. Perhaps there's hope for Daein after all," she said mysteriously. She waved casually, as the trio off down the road. They paused for a bit. One of their number ran back, in wolf form.

"You're back!" Laura squealed, as she gave Volug a big hug. The wolf playfully licked Laura's face.

"Mind if I give you a hug?" Sothe asked sarcastically. Volug growled. "Jerk," the rogue grumbled. Laura giggled.

---

It had been a week since King Pelleas had been coronated. Many of the commoners returned to their homes. However, the new king had asked each member of the Dawn Brigade to stay. Unsurprisingly, they had all agreed.

"I despise the spotlight," Sothe grumbled, "so why am I the one in charge of your personal guard?"

"Would you rather switch places with General Tauroneo? I'm sure he won't mind," Pelleas said lightly. Sothe frowned.

"I have enough problems keeping your guard from falling asleep on the job. Me take over the army? You'd have none by the time I was done with it."

"You have a pretty good head for tactics, and people listen to you. I'm not sure if I'd like Izuka in charge of that, even if he were here. I wonder where he went off to?" Sothe found that he didn't care.

"We have a country to rebuild, and it will take a long time. Please. I need your help."

"Very well, Your Highness. I, too, wish to see Daein reborn."

[i]I never thought I'd go from common street thief to commander of the king's personal guard. Wonder what Micaiah would say if she was here? Where IS she? No one's seen her in years. . .hope she's alright.[/i]

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Please don't make Micaiah come back. ;)

Anyway, great work Eclipse! Keep it up, I look forward to seeing more.

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Am I the only one who likes Micaiah? My only problem with her is that she steals the spotlight a lot. Your version is short and more dialogue based, and while I'd prefer more details and shorter chapters, your version is still good.

I dislike Part 2, but maybe your version is going to be better. Keep up with it!

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1. Thanks everyone!
2. I need to write the rest of this. When my brain works.

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Now I get the feeling Micaiah is going to show up sometime in the future with a much less favorable role.

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I'd have preffered if Clipsey [i]kills off[/i] Micaiah altogether rather than bring her back. :P:

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I personally like Micaiah as a character, certainly, much more than the typical boring potagonist. She seemed a lot more genuine than Ike.

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This was a lot of fun to read, thank you Eclipse. While the entire thing was good, I really liked the new personality showing up with Pelleas after each battle. I can't wait to see how different things will be once part 3's Dawn Brigade chapters have started.

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Can we expect an update sometime in the future or is this project dead? Because if so, that's a damn waste of a good talent for writing

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Based on the date it was posted and the title description, I'd say wait for next Christmas 8]

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THANK YOU EVERYONE~!

I just got my new computer. I'm about a quarter of the way done with Part 2.

I shudder to think of Part 3.

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Oh hey I didn't see this before. I like the idea, but I feel as though you're not using it to its full potential. The only major change in Part 1 seems to be Micaiah's absence (combined with a more lordly Pelleas). I was actually disappointed by Jarod's much more minor role in the story, as I actually liked him a lot as a villain.

Another thing of note is I would suggest writing this in a script format. I suggest this for two reasons. One, since it's supposed to be a remake of FERD and FERD was originally written as a script (with emphasis on two heads talking rather than actions). Two, most of the prose is just dialogue anyways, and often it gets confusing who is talking, especially since you often will have Edward or whoever say something and then Sothe or whoever do something immediately after. So you get paragraphs like these:

"Blah blah blah." Sothe walked somewhere.

Now Edward may have been the person who spoke but since Sothe is immediately preforming an action it becomes ambiguous just who is speaking. It's of course perfectly possible to determine who spoke based on character cues, but the momentary confusion this structure causes is easily avoidable.


On a different level, I'm personally not sure about eliminating Micaiah entirely from the story. I feel she has potential, just not as the primary character. For instance, she plays the villain quite well in the chapters where you fight against her in Part 3. The insane devotion of her fanatics builds her up as a formidable foe (although that build-up is completely dispersed because we have seen her previously in all her Sue glory).

Those are just my comments, though.

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Ah, thanks. One at a time!

- That was kinda rushed, but I got my point across. The reason why it hasn't changed is because the Dawn Brigade part, minus Micaiah, didn't make me facepalm too much.
- I personally do not like script format. I find it makes for more stilted reading. Maybe if I could massively hack RD, I'd give it a shot. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I'll try to separate things a bit better, too.
- Who says Micaiah doesn't exist? True, she's only been mentioned in Part 1, but it doesn't mean I've written her out of it completely. . .

(I've got vacation coming up, so I'll see if I can get the second part done then. It's like 25% done, and I'm not happy with what I have)

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Yeah. Stop time for the remainder of the week, so I can finish writing. :P: Thanks, though~!

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Well I could do that, but it would take me 2 weeks to get the materials necessary. [s] Does anyone know where I can get the blood of a Lesser Demon?[/s]

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I approve of this idea. Also, it's very well written.

My suggestion would be to skip Part 2. Nothing interesting happens in part 2. :newyears:

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[quote name='Baldrick' date='09 February 2012 - 06:51 AM' timestamp='1328788313' post='1847282']
My suggestion would be to skip Part 2. Nothing interesting happens in part 2. :newyears:
[/quote]

Hah

part 2 is the most involving, story wise, part of the game. It's got politics, treachery, revolution; you name it. It's only flaw was that it was too short.

So nothing interesting happens? I guess you fell asleep before every talking scene in part 2, huh.

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I reread what I wrote and realized that Chapter 2's way too long. . .so I'll post what I've done, which doesn't even reach 2-2. ;/

===

Day turned into night, and night into day. With each passing month, the events of the war felt less real. That is, until Nepheenee showed up on his doorstep clad in armor.

"We got trouble." Brom listened to what she said, then nodded in agreement.

"Wait 'ere. I need to get my armor on."

---

A group was gathered in the center of the village, with some young buck or other riling them up. Brom and Nepheenee exchanged looks as a slip of a girl made her way up to the head of the rabble. What was this stranger doing?

"Oh excuse me, where am I?" she asked the lead troublemaker. He turned to her, a cocky smile on his face.

"You're witnissin' the start of a revolution, girl!" he replied heartily. The crowd cheered him on. If the girl had heard him, she gave no outward indication of it. She cocked her head to the side, a slight frown on her face.

"You mean to wash this land in blood again," she accused. Her voice had changed from a girl's voice to one that almost sounded like an angry old woman. She stood up straight, and blinked. "Wh-what just happened?"

"GET HER!" the leader commanded. His followers were only too happy to comply.

"Y'all speak of revolution, but yer only good for bullyin' little girls!" Nepheenee yelled.

"What did you say?" Brom swallowed hard as the crowd produced weapons.

"She said that you are nothing but a windbag!" The man holding the girl yelped as she stepped hard on his foot. She closed her eyes and began chanting, as the enranged mob rushed forward.

"I knew I 'eard that before. Cover yer eyes, Neph!" Even though his back was to the spell, the light still washed out Brom's vision.

"Oh, right, Ike 'ad a lad who could do this," Nepheenee mumbled. Brom's sight slowly returned. He saw something hazy next to the girl.

"Hey, you, let her go!" Brom yelled at the new figure. He heard a woman chuckle.

"Oh, ever the chivlarous one, aren't you? I'm simply rescuing her!" came the reply. She screamed. "That HURT, you jerk! Fine, have it your way!" He heard a gurgle from the general direction of the mob.

"Kill them. KILL BOTH OF THEM!" the leader yelled.

"I ain't standin' around for this," Nepheenee grumbled. Brom's heart sunk as he saw two men rush towards her.

"I don' wanna kill my own, but they're not givin' me a choice," he grumbled back. One grunted painfully as he ran into Brom's shield. Before he could regain his senses, Brom cleaved his skull. The other man stood in shock. Nepheenee's lance found his midsection.

"You too, Brom and Nepheenee? It matters not. KILL ALL WHO RESIST US IN THE NAME OF LORD LUDVECK!"

---

Nepheenee sank to her knees. She'd hoped to talk some sense into them, but they came after her, one after another. None of the original mob remained. A shadow passed over her. The girl who had started it all stood over her.

"Your hands are covered in blood, but your eyes tell me that you're not a murderer. Thank you, miss," she said quietly.

"Why. . ." Nepheenee felt tears come to her eyes. She'd fought against Daein, but despite all the enemies she had killed, she had never felt as awful as she did right now. [i]They had no training, or proper weapons, yet we cut them down.[/i]

"We got bigger problems," Brom said quietly. The families of the fallen stood in front of them, murder in their eyes.

"Hmph. These guys don't know the proper way to thank a gal. Let's get moving," the woman who had helped them said. She staggered a ways before leaning on a nearby wall to rest. After a few moments, she started down the road again. The wall she had rested against sported a large blood stain.

"Oh dear, this won't do at all. Hey, miss! Can you wait a bit?" The woman gave the girl an odd look as she paced back and forth. "Ah, so that's what happened. Can you hold still, please?" The girl closed her eyes and placed her hands on the woman's back.

"My back. . .it doesn't hurt any more. Thanks!" The girl chuckled weakly.

"Your fingers drip with gold, but you're--" She collapsed into a heap. The crowd backed away as Brom picked the girl up.

"Sorry fer causin' ya problems. We'll be off," he addressed them. "Hey, miss, you comin'?" The woman nodded, as the group set off down the road.

---

Once they were out of sight of the village, Brom placed the girl down on a grassy spot. Now that they were out of danger, Brom took a better look at the unconscious girl. She barely had any meat on her bones, and her dark clothing made her look even skinnier than she was. Her hair, however, was as pale as her clothing was dark.

"Forgive the, erm, intrusion," the woman said. "My name is Heather, and I just happened to stop by your lovely village. I saw those men bothering that girl, and I couldn't help but step in," she explained. Brom and Nepheenee looked at each other and shrugged. They quickly introduced themselves.

"Oh, soldiers from the Mad King's War? Those villagers sure know how to treat their heroes! Now that we're no longer welcome there, what are you two gonna do? I was headed to Melior, to do some shopping," Heather said quickly.

"Someone's gotta tell th' queen about this mess," Brom stated. "We got nowhere else to go. I guess we're goin' to Melior, too." Heather laughed.

"I get to travel with this pretty young girl? Oh, I feel so very lucky!" Nepheenee's face paled. Before she could say anything, the girl woke up.

"Wh-where am I? What happened? Oooh, my head!" Heather put a hand on the girl's shoulder.

"You healed my back, and we took you out of that horrid village. We're going to Melior. Wanna join us?" The girl smiled weakly.

"The captial of Crimea? Certainly, if I won't be a bother. I'm sorry, I never introduced myself. My name is Micaiah, and I'm looking for someone. He's important to me, but that's all I remember."

"Beggin' your pardon, but y'know what he looks like? We've been all over, an' we might've seen 'im somewhere," Nepheenee cut in.

"I wish I did! Sometimes, my mind will go blank. Next thing I know, I've got people angry with me, and my memories are a mess. I've been forgetting a lot lately," she said apologetically.

"Never fear. I'll keep an eye on you, so you'll always have someone who can help you out of a jam!" Heather volunteered. Micaiah's face went red.

"You are a very, um, interesting person, miss. Thank you." Brom chuckled. [i]This Heather seems like the type that's sweet to girls. I'd best keep my darlin' Meg away from her![/i]

===

[i]The nobles are discontent. They think I am a poor leader, so they question my every move. I feel like they're prodding me for weakness. Me! I wasn't supposed to be in charge of this country. Somehow, everything went wrong, and here I am, trying to quell unrest within my own ranks. Perhaps Begnion senses weakness in Crimea; just the other day, I had to fend off some stray dracoknights from our skies. Why. . .why can't I run my country in such a way that we have peace, and everyone else leaves us alone?[/i]

Elincia leaned against the wall in her room, her head in her hands. She'd just finished lunch, and wanted nothing more than a few more moments to herself. A knock on her door ended her break.

"Excuse me, Your Majesty, but some visitors just arrived with disturbing news."

---

[i]I must remain calm. I must remain composed. I cannot show signs of weakness.[/i] Elincia was so focused on keeping a straight face that she jumped when she heard her name.

"Are you okay?" Geoffrey inquired, his brow furrowed. "It's not like you to daydream during an audience."

"I--I'm fine," stammered Elincia. [i]No, I'm not. Why are they rebelling? Am I doing my job wrong?[/i]

"This is the first concrete evidence that Duke Ludveck of Fellirae is planning a rebellion. Before this, all I heard was rumors," Lucia explained. "Please accept my apologies."

"It's okay, Lucia. You're doing a superb job. This internal strife says far more about me than anyone else." Silence greeted Elincia's words.

"That look doesn't suit your pretty face in the least!" Everyone turned around abruptly as Heather strode forward. She stopped when she stood in front of Brom and Nepheenee.

"Beggin' your pardon, Heather, but now's not the time for this," Brom stated.

"Be quiet, you. What this damsel in distress needs is encouragement, not some oaf standing up for her. M'lady, I've been around Crimea quite a bit, and almost everyone I met said good things about you. I was quite surprised to hear that mob myself. It's as if they've never had a proper lady look after them before!"

"Have you no manners, woman?" Lucia snapped. Heather chuckled, and winked at Lucia. The latter kept a straight face.

"As crass as ever," a small voice cut in. Micaiah slipped past Brom, and stood next to Heather. "But I will second Heather's tale. I have seen nothing but joy in the hearts of most of the Crimeans I met."

"By your leave, Your Highness, I can escort these two--" Geoffrey started.

"They're with us," Nepheenee said hastily. "The girl's Micaiah, and th' other one's Heather. They were 'n the village durin' the uprising."

"I see. Sending them away after all they've been through would be cruel," Elincia stated. "Thanks to the rebellion, they no longer have a home. Malicia, I want a room prepared for these four. They are my guests."

"Yes, Your Majesty," the maid responded, before scurrying off to fulfill her orders.

"R-rooms in the castle? What'd we do to earn this?" Nepheenee asked, incredulous.

"You four are firsthand witnesses to what appears to be a rebellion in the name of Duke Ludveck. It would be most unfortunate if you suddenly. . .disappeared," Elincia explained. "This also means you will be confined to the castle until further notice." Micaiah's shoulders slumped.

"Now how am I gonna find him?" the girl grumbled. "I'm pretty sure Sothe isn't in this castle!" Five people looked up at each other in shock.

"Sothe? You mean that lil' squirt of a thief that joined us? Why didn't ya say somethin' sooner, girl?" Brom said sharply.

"You know him?" Micaiah asked, hope in her voice.

"I remember him," Elincia said, with a small chuckle. "He'd be dogged by that redheaded mage all the time. Somehow, they managed to work together on the battlefield. I wonder how they're doing now?"

"So he's not here?"

"I believe he went back to Daein," Lucia stated.

"If you want to know more about him, ask Astrid. I believe she spent the most time around him," Geoffrey added.

"Thank you! Oh, this is the closest I've been! I--" Micaiah's smile turned into a frown.

"Can you let go of yourself for the sake of your country?" Brom, Nepheenee, and Heather paled. Micaiah spoke with the voice of an older woman.

"I--what do you mean?" the queen stuttered.

"Elincia cannot stop the rivers of blood. Only the rightful ruler of Crimea can." Micaiah stood up straight for a moment, then sank to her knees in front of the throne.

"No, not again. What just happened?" The older woman's voice was gone, replaced by the girl's one. The silence in the room was broken by a sob.

"I. . .I can't do this!" Elincia buried her face in her hands and sobbed. Geoffrey and Lucia glared at Micaiah, who stared back, confused.

"This happened in Ohm. It's what got the mob goin'," Nepheenee said glumly. "She said they'd wash the land in blood."

"The more I'm around people, the more this happens. Can I be alone for a while?" Micaiah slowly stood up, and dusted herself off.

"I'll have Malicia show you to your room," Lucia said, irritation evident in her voice. Everyone watched silently as the two left the throne room.

"Dreadfully sorry, Your Highness. We didn' mean to do that to ya," Brom apologized softly.

"No, it's not your fault. That girl didn't seem to mean any harm, but. . ." Elincia trailed off.

"By your leave, Your Highness, I would like to go to Felirae myself to see if I can uncover more of this plot," stated Lucia.

"Very well. Please be careful, Lucia." The turquoise-haired woman bowed, then turned to the three remaining guests. "This means you three are coming with me."

"I like a bold woman," Heather said with a crooked smile. If Lucia heard the comment, she ignored it.

"Yes m'lady," Brom and Nepheenee chorused.

---

Lucia's grand plan was for them to escort a heron princess to Felirae. The two women were to be the princess' maids; Brom was there under the guise of a guard. Lucia had also asked Lethe and Mordecai to accompany them, as "envoys of Gallia". After Lucia had filled them in, they were more than happy to come along. Nepheenee tugged at the collar of her dress. It itched horribly. Heather glared at her.

"Concentrate on the surroundings. You'll give yourself away if you keep doing that," the older woman whispered.

"This darn thing's too tight! I can barely breathe!" Nepheenee whispered back.

"Then be glad you're a farmer by trade, and not a maid. We're coming up to the guards. Remember your role!" Nepheenee sorely wished she could change back into more familiar clothes. The cloth gloves didn't quite fit right, but they were the biggest that could be found on such short notice. The dress was barely long enough to be called such. Worst of all, she was without her familiar helmet, and the sun burned on her head.

"We will let the Duke know right away. We'd like you to leave the names of everyone that is with you, for accountability purposes," the guard droned. Nepheenee felt the blood leave her face. She'd give herself away with her accent! Before she could move, Heather stepped in front of her.

"Such a diligent guard! My name is Heather, and I am but a humble servant to Princess Leanne. My companion over there is Nepheenee, who lost her voice to an illness." The guard's gaze fell on Nepheenee, who did her best to smile.

"A shame that such a pretty girl can't say anything. Next!" Once the trio was past the guards, Heather grinned like a kid.

"Nothing that a little sweet-talkin' can't fix," she said with a chuckle. "Men can be so stupid!" Had Heather been paying attention to her "charge" she would've seen the princess give her an odd look.

[i]You are very lucky that beorc can't see into hearts like me, or your ruse would not work. Can't you find another way to protect people besides lying?[/i]

---

As planned, the entourage, now dressed in more familiar clothes, snuck into a storage area. Lethe stood guard near the cave entrance. Laguz senses were far better at scouting than beorc ones.

"This--this is what I've been looking for! Everyone, we're leaving!" A hiss from the entrance echoed through the cave.

"I suppose this is where we show off what we're worth!" Heather said enthusiastically.

"Why're you gettin' all worked up?" Brom asked, annoyance in his voice.

"You didn't have the guards hitting on you," she replied sourly. Leanne said something, but only Nealuchi understood her. He did his best not to chuckle.

[i]You were quite fond of the attention, miss Heather.[/i]

---

Lucia hurried everyone back to Melior as quickly as possible. She did not want to risk being ambushed on the way back. Luckily, the party made it back to the capitial without incident. Much to her surprise, she saw Elincia chatting calmly with the strange girl that had insulted Her Highness a few days back. As if on cue, the girl looked up.

"Oh, hello Lady Lucia! Since I'm having problems with my memory, Queen Elincia suggested that I keep a diary. It's such a neat solution to my problem!" Micaiah said with a big smile.

"I see," Lucia said uncertainly. "About that errand you sent me on. . ."

"Oh, I think Lady Astrid is finally back in her quarters. I'll see if I can talk to her!" Micaiah bowed to Elincia and Lucia before running out of the room.

"She sure knows how to take subtle hints well," Lucia said dryly. She handed the documents she'd found to Elincia, who read through them.

"This mentions everything. Furthermore, it gives the names of the villages that were to be targeted, including Ohm. It's settled. We need to stop this, now. Lucia, what's wrong?" Lucia bit her lip.

"The guards at Felirae took our names, and I didn't instruct them to use fake names. I'm not sure how many survived in Ohm, but if Brom and Nepheenee left on bad terms--"

"--then it's possible their own village could betray them," Elincia finished.

"I'll assign permanent guards on those four. You work on bringing Ludveck under control." Elincia nodded at her friend's suggestion.

"Thank you, Lucia. When you are done, can you please tell your brother that I'd like to see him?"

===

Astrid looked up in surprise when she heard a knock on her door. The people who would usually visit her had been assigned elsewhere for the day. She opened the door hesitantly. An unfamiliar girl stood at the other end.

"I'm sorry, is this a bad time?" the girl asked. Astrid shook her head.

"There's someone I've been looking for, and I finally remembered who he was. I heard from Sir Geoffrey that you talked to this person." Astrid stared at the girl silently. What was this girl rambling about?

"Oh, I forgot to introduce myself again! My name is Micaiah, and I'm looking for someone named Sothe. Does that sound familiar?" the girl rambled on.

"Nice to meet you, Micaiah, but I don't think my doorway is the best place to discuss this," Astrid said calmly. Micaiah squeaked out an apology, before settling on one of the stools Astrid had in her room. Astrid sat on the edge of her bed.

"You're looking for Sothe, right? I did talk to him a bit, but he didn't tell me where he was going after the war. I'm sorry. Uh, what are you doing?" Micaiah scribbled something in the book she carried.

"This is my diary. I'm writing things down, so I don't forget them," she responded. Her eyes were back on Astrid, but the book lay open.

"You seem far too young to have memory problems," Astrid joked lightly. The girl's smile faded for a moment.

"Where has that kid run off to? I've been looking high and low for him, with no luck," Micaiah grumbled. She thumbed through her diary and sighed.

"I'd imagine he'd be back on the streets somewhere. He complained about the nobility a lot." Astrid sighed as Micaiah continued to write in her diary. "Is all of this really necessary?"

"The last time my memory blanked on me, I forgot who I was searching for! I don't want to go through that again!" the younger girl cried out.

"Uh, sorry about that," Astrid said quietly. [i]If her memory's that bad, then what is she doing out on her own?[/i] A knock on the door caused Astrid to jump off the bed and peek outside. This time, it was one of the castle guards.

"Her Majesty has ordered a guard on Micaiah at all times. This means that--" the guard started.

"But I already have a guard!" Micaiah interrupted. "I'd much rather have Astrid watch over me!" Astrid felt the blood rush out of her face. She'd heard that the Queen had some guests recently. To insult such a guest would probably have dire consequences. Even if she was hesitant about this, personally, her job came first.

"W-well, if Her Highness is willing, I'll accept," Astrid stammered out.

"Uh, I'll, uh, check on that," the guard mumbled, before hastily leaving. Once the door had been shut, Micaiah let out a little squeal.

"That's wonderful! You can tell me ALL about what Sothe told you!" The female knight sighed. What had she gotten herself into?

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It's good to see that this project isn't dead. I look forward to seeing what the rest of part 2 ends up turning into with the addition of Michiah and her admittedly interesting memory quirks. Edited by NTNP

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-First nitpick: "Nepheenee" should be Nephenee.

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Wow Eclipse, I'm loving this story so far. Keep it up!

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