Duessel: Don’t tell me you’ve joined up here as well, have you?
Knoll: …General Duessel. Prince Lyon no longer holds the capital. My reason for remaining is gone…
Duessel: Knoll, I have something I would ask you. What exactly happened to His Majesty and Prince Lyon?
Knoll: …… Do you have the courage to hear that answer? I think perhaps that it will not be an answer you want to hear.
Duessel: What does that mean?
Knoll: Are you familiar with a certain foreign anecdote of comedic nature? It involves two starving men and a single loaf of bread. If they break the loaf in two, both men will die of starvation…
Duessel: Knoll, I’m not asking for a riddle. Let’s not waste any more time here. I’m ready to hear the truth. Nothing you tell me could surprise me.
Knoll: If that is your wish, General Duessel… I will speak frankly. This is something that Prince Lyon does not know. Something that no one should know.
Knoll: We students of ancient magic, along with Prince Lyon himself, were researching certain arcane techniques lost long ago. We were able to reproduce one… phenomenon, but only briefly.
Knoll: I should be more concise. Prince Lyon and I pierced the veil that clouds our futures.
Duessel: What? You…could see into the future? How is that possible? What magic is powerful enough to–
Knoll: Time is like the water of a river: it flows ever on, never stopping. Certain disturbances can cause ripples that speed swiftly downstream. If you can see the water, you can read the flow, the ripples, the waves.
Knoll: It is possible, General. Possible and, at times, easy. Just think of it: If you knew a storm was coming in advance, you could evacuate everyone in its way. If you could see what was to come, you could help those who might have died. Prince Lyon explained this to us with much joy in his voice and heart. His power would, at long last, be able to help the citizens of Grado.
Knoll: We continued our work. There were ceremonies, rituals–such horrors… And then we saw it. In the near future, Grado would be ravaged by catastrophe.
Duessel: A catastrophe? Do you…
Knoll: No, it’s not the conflict in which we are currently embroiled. This event is still in our future. We saw Grado. We saw the earth crumble. We saw our people dying. We saw the shape our future would take.
Duessel: What? That’s madness… Idiocy! I’ve lived a long life, and I’ve never heard of anything like that. Not ever.
Knoll: I am not surprised that you do not believe me, General. We could not believe it, either. We tried to disprove what we had seen. But nothing could shake the vision. In this disaster, Grado would be destroyed. Countless would die. Those who died quickly would be spared the slow horror of starvation. This was when the emperor died, by the way. Lyon was shattered by despair. He devoted himself to research, and then came the Dark Stone…
Duessel: So that’s what happened? Is that when the decision to invade Renais was made?
Knoll: I don’t know. Only one person knows the truth behind that.
Knoll: I have told you only the truths I have seen.
Knoll: Is that you, General Duessel?
Duessel: You’re tired, aren’t you? Worn to the bone. I understand how you feel, but on the battlefield, this only invites death.
Knoll: You are probably right… And yet that might be best.
Duessel: What are you planning to do from here on?
Knoll: I do not know… I have lost my way. Perhaps I should have been executed in the capital.
Knoll: I once studied dark magic alongside Prince Lyon. He was such a gentle soul. You could see it–he was too kind to survive. Prince Lyon dreamt of finding happiness for all of Grado’s citizens.
Knoll: And now, Prince Lyon is no more. I have lost everything.
Duessel: I have also lost everything. And we have both lost our ways. We are dead men who have stayed too long away from our graves. But remember, Knoll… You cannot see the future, but you can look back at your past. Look and learn. And remember. What gave your life meaning, and what has taken meaning from you now?
Duessel: If you still hold the convictions that guided you in Grado, you can start anew. That… That is what I must do. We may be diminished by our shame, but we are not dead yet, my friend.
Knoll: General Duessel… I am not as strong as you. Still, I believe you are right. I, too, shall search for a new path. A path that guides me to realizing the dreams Prince Lyon once held so dear.