1285: Fire Emblem: ReAwaken – Chapter TenPosted: December 31, 2015
Title: Fire Emblem: ReAwaken
Media: Video Game
Topic: Fire Emblem
URL: Chapter 10
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck, Sterling Bengtzing, and Crunchy Raptor
Hello folks, and welcome to another installment of Fire Emblem: ReAwaken. As always, I’m your host Herr Wozzeck, and I’m joined by these two fuckers.
Sterling Bengtzing: You say that like this isn’t the last time I’ll be here.
Crunchy: Well, assuming you fail to logic bomb Bifocals’ new dimensional portal, it will be.
SB: About damn time! All this time calling this fruitcake on his shit was making me weak! I’ve got to get back to the courts pronto!
C: It will be quite the relief for me, too. I will not have to worry about anyone attempting to ruin my complexion.
Oh, you’ll be fine, Crunchy. Anyway, since we’re here, let’s get this show on the road, shall we?
We open our next chapter of this fic with this:
“Finally, someone who hears my voice. I was getting impatient waiting for one like you to arrive.”
It spoke. The fucking sword is speaking. To me. …I got hit harder on the head than I thought, didn’t I?
No, this fic just got a little dumber is what. I mean, talking swords? In Fire Emblem?
SB: Hey, I thought you nerds liked this shit! Isn’t freaky magic shit your bread n’ butter?
Yeah, except that talking swords is a thing that pretty much never happens in this series! Legendary swords, sure, every Fire Emblem game has some. Hell, there are pretty much legendary weapons of all folds in most of the series (Seisen, the Elibe-verse games, Sacred Stones, etc…). But seeing a legendary weapon that talks? That’s way out of line!
SB: That ain’t that weird if you think about it…
C: In some canons, yes. In this one… that is rather debatable. Which is why, of course…
I close my eyes and shake my head as I realize that that isn’t the case. No, the sword is actually speaking. It’s an actual talking sword, isn’t it?… I was joking when I thought a sword could be possessed, universe!
C: …our author thought it would be a brilliant idea to lampshade it.
SB: So even the fic knows this is stupid? Why the fuck we here? This shit writes itself!
Standing up slowly, I walk over to the case and place my hand on it. “D-did you actually just say something?” I ask, already knowing the answer.
“Yes, I did.” it replies. I jump, despite the fact that I was sure that it would have a reply. “And I am certainly glad to know that someone, finally, after all of these- er, wait. What year is it?”
“Oh, it’s-” …Wow, it just hit me that I don’t know the year. Or even what day it is in this world. My intellect is astounding.
SB: Finally, something we agree on.
I mean, I probably could’ve asked, but then whoever I asked would’ve wanted to know why I didn’t know. “…I’m actually not quite sure myself.” I answer quietly. “I’ve been hit in the head a lot recently, at least three times. I think it’s scrambled my brain around a bit. Sorry, but I don’t actually know.”
There’s a period of silence before I get a reply. “…That’s unfortunate. But, I suppose such things cannot be helped, can they?” The voice almost sounds upset. Which is extremely odd to even consider when you realize that the voice is still coming from a sword. “Ah well, I suppose I should allow you to take on your role as Harbinger now. Come and grasp the blade you see before you. Take upon yourself the title of Harbinger, and-“
Harbinger? Sword, why the fuck would you think it’s a good idea to ask a random idiot kid to become the head of the Reapers? Aside from the fact this is the wrong fucking game, I don’t think you realize just what would happen if he did!
C: Something from another game. Either way, what is such a title doing in this fic? I was under the distinct impression such things did not happen in Fire Emblem.
Yeah, it’s rare for characters to get titles like that because the weapon tells them to. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t weapons that choose their owners in this series: shit, look at the Falchion in Awakening. But the sword talking to the owner? Um, no. Pretty sure that never happens, and I really don’t think they’d go about it by being all “pick me up and use me, chosen one!”
SB: And, given this great story, cue the bitching…
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down there… sword… spirit… thing.” I say, backing away from the display case with my hands held in front of me. “I’m sorry but I’ve think you’ve got the wrong guy. I’m not the harbinger of anything. I’m just…” I suppose there’s a couple of things I could call myself. A coward? A child playing games? A worthless nobody? …someone with serious self-esteem issues?
C: ‘The king of the basics’?
SB: HAH! Yes!
C: You have been rubbing off on me, yes.
“…I’m just a normal person.” Okay, I’m a ‘normal’ person in the sense that I can hear a sword speaking to me, but still. Plus, I’m not too keen on the idea of having the title of ‘Harbinger’. A name like that just sounds like it’ll cause trouble. Being called that… just unnerves me.
Yeah… To be fair, “Harbinger” has such a negative connotation to it it’s a wonder anyone would want to get involved in that shit.
“Normal? Ha, far from it.” the sword says, which kinda crushes my mood. “No, in fact the very fact that you are hearing my voice is the proof that you, are indeed, the Harbinger that I have waited so long for.” It clears its throat, which, I should say, is as weird as it sounds, before continuing. “Now, take this blade and with it, the title of Harbinger, as is your right.”
SB: Just take the bitch already!
Um… No, I think we’ll be okay with it.
SB: I thought you didn’t like his basic whining…
Well, I’ll take his basic whining over the fact that the story just injected a talking sword into it to blow up Kale-Stu’s importance in the story.
SB: Hold up, you mean he wasn’t already the center of the universe? What?
Yeah, apparently being at the center of a really bad Butterfly Effect wasn’t enough for Kale. Nope, now he has to have talking swords (which don’t exist in any FE universe) telling him he’s some kind of chosen one to beef up his importance, too! I mean, shit, there’s a difference between writing a story that comments on the place of the self-insert, and then just writing a story where the self-insert becomes the center of the universe, and this is starting to tip into the latter.
C: Be calm, parrot. At least it was not a Sith bunker that housed an entire army this time.
C: A tale for another time, polecat. I would much prefer to hear Kale’s blubbering.
“No, I promise you that I’m perfectly fine without having this title.” I say, kneeling down to pick up the books I dropped. I’m not entirely sure why I’m stopping to pick up these books when all I really want to do is haul ass out of this place, but I do it anyway. “Now, I’m sure that if you wait for a few weeks or so, someone who is deserving of being the… Harbinger will appear and claim you.”
Which makes it a good thing that even Kale seems to realize what this sword represents.
SB: Damn, didn’t think you two would take the whining under any circumstance.
If there’s one thing we hate more than a whiny character, it’s a character who is suddenly made to be a super important person just because he’s the main character. So yes, we’ll take the basic bitch whining over that any day.
SB: …You nerds are weird.
C: Thank you, they pride themselves on that.
I turn to leave when I realize the obvious: I’m lost. That’s how I got here in the first place. Son of a bitch! …How can monastery have such a huge library? OR that many hallways?
“Hey, Kale! You in here?” I hear a voice call out over the bookcases. Daven? Good, someone who might have some idea as to get out of here.
“I’m over this way!” I shout back, my voice echoing through the empty alcoves of the room. Turning back to the display case, I just flash a sincere smile. “Well, that’s my cue to be going. It was nice meeting you… um…”
The sword merely laughs, (seriously, how does it do these things? Clearing its ‘throat’, laughing, speaking?) causing a bit of anxiety to build up inside. “Very well, Harbinger. Go and enjoy your life as it is currently. I will allow you to fool yourself with the delusion that you are, in fact, not the Harbinger of Arashi. However, know that, eventually, you will seek out this blade again. Of your own want and need.”
And you went ahead and telegraphed “this will be a long-running plot thread”. Because why the fuck—
Any fear or anxiety that I might have been feeling immediately disappears. This… thing, has seriously pissed me off. Let’s list off the things I’ve been through, shall we? I’ve, apparently, been in a horrible accident that has left me in critical condition in my world, had said accident throw me into this world, had to kill to survive, had a nervous breakdown and ran when my friends needed me, and just had a mysterious being tell me that I’m this world’s cancer. And now, this sword, a fucking hunk of metal, is telling me that I am some form of ‘Harbinger’ for someone or something called ‘Arashi’. Nope, this is a very bad day to have pissed me off.
C: Ah, an expository reminder. Why, it is almost like we do not possess the intelligence to remember all of these things, particularly since most of them occurred within the past two chapters! Whatever shall we do?
SB: Can I borrow that—?
Oh hell no, you can’t. Allow me.
SB: Thank you. Hell, this thing thinks I’m that dumb, fuck you, thing…
“Alright, listen here: I am no one’s Harbinger, got that? The word ‘harbinger’ usually isn’t used in the best light. The only harbingers that I can even think of are usually evil. So let me make one thing clear: I don’t care what you say, because I am NOT the FUCKING HARBINGER!” I don’t even realize that my voice has reached shouting levels until I hear it bounce back at me, making me quickly cover my mouth. Shit, someone had to have heard me… I’m going to look mental. Then again, I might be.
SB: Well, he finally kicked a basic habit. Good for him. Only took him… forever?
It’s almost worth a redemption cookie.
C: You would consider—
Again, the sword laughs. “Very well.” is all it says. I wait for it to start speaking again, only for it to remain silent. Good. Maybe it finally got the hint that I don’t want to be some kind of ‘chosen one’ or something like that. Stories where people find weapons and relics that talk to them and tell them that they’re some kind of ‘chosen one’ never seem to end well anyways. Something about the object usually having an ulterior motive, if I remember right.
Yeah, that about sums it up.
Anyway, after this, Daven returns, and then Daven is like “well, I was about to start packing my bags”. Kale deduces that this makes Daven something of a klutz, which Daven confirms with a few anecdotes about all the shenanigans he’s caused. You know, including walking in on bathing nuns, dropping valuable books in fireplaces…
…May God have mercy on this boy’s parents… I shake my head in disbelief.
SB: Him? Have mercy on us! We’re the ones reading this shit!
“Wow, that’s… quite the record to have. Of course, I’m sure that this must’ve happened over a few months or weeks, right? Surely they don’t hold grudges that last that long.” His shoulders slump, causing me to tilt my head in confusion. “What? What’s wrong?”
“…a week.” he mutters under his breath, barely audible.
And you’re a swordsman. I’d go into how being a klutz is kind of antithetical to being a swordsman, but I’m sure Fraug could take care of that better than I could.
SB: You love to call on this ‘frog’ guy a lot. Randy Catcher’s way better, yanno…
Nah, it’s that Fraug is perfect for this kind of discussion on swords.
Looking up at me, I see that his face is a deep red. “That would be true… if I hadn’t been here for less than a week.” he quietly says. “I came into the monastery after I’d fallen out of a tree. And down a hillside. Into a pack of Risen. I managed to hold them off but I was pretty roughed up afterwards. The kind people here took me in and patched me up, though I’m sure they regret that by now.” He picks himself up and puts on a bit of a carefree grin. “But hey, that’s just how life works sometimes, right? Some people are just natural screw-ups.”
SB: And you’re okay with that. Bullshit.
Yeah, really. “Hey, I know I’m a klutz, but I’m just going to say I’m a natural screw-up!” Never mind that I’m pretty sure there is no character in Fire Emblem’s history that takes that stance on their klutziness, you know?
C: I was under the impression that people who resigned themselves to that were lazy.
SB: And basic. Man, someone should plop this kid in front of Julio Onca and call it a damn day.
I’d say you go beyond being a natural screw-up. It sounds unnatural in every possible way.
SB: Funny that the king of the basics is saying that.
“Anyway, I think its time that I finally got you to Brother Libra’s room. I need to salvage this as much as I can before they decide to throw me out.” He makes to grab me by the shoulder when he stops. Following the path of his eyes, I see that they’ve landed on the talking, but now thankfully silent, sword. “That sword…”
You know, when the sword said it would allow Kale to hang on to the delusion that he wasn’t the Harbinger of… Alia-The-Knife (fuck it, I don’t care enough to get the name right), I didn’t think it would be this fast!
My eyes widen to the point where I’m sure they’ll fall out of their sockets. “W-wha? What about that sword?” I ask. I’m royally confused at this point: the expression on his face makes it look as though he’s seeing something that he hasn’t seen in ages for the first time. “I mean, I guess it looks nice and all, but it’s just a sword, right?”
C: Oh goodness, truly? This better not end how I believe it is.
He frowns and bites his lip. “I suppose you’re right. It’s just… I don’t know. Gods, I swear I’ve seen that sword before.” He walks up to the case and places his hands on it, leaning forward to get a better look. “Why does it look so familiar?”
Probably because you were given a shot of the PCC’s Insta-Memory shot. I know it can be weird, but==
What he does next completely surprises me and makes my anxiety hit the roof: he lifts the top of the display open and takes out the sword. Why do I have a feeling this is going to end with us running for out lives in some way, shape, or form? “That’s weird…” he mutters as he holds it in his hands. “Kale, come touch this thing. It’s… warm.”
SB: *facepalm* Oh come on!
For fuck’s sake, really? I know that “destiny says you’ll touch it anyway” is a plot thread, but this is beyond that!
C: This is perhaps the most contrived I have ever seen someone fulfill their destiny. It may not be to the level of the Sith bunker, but this is still rather bad.
No kidding. I mean, what the fuck reason would Daven have to do that? I know he says he’s a screw-up, but this is him intentionally being too curious, instead of just being a klutz. This is just… ugh!
Warm? What the hell does that mean, warm? Unless… Is the fucking talking sword alive?! I suppose in a way, it would make some sense. If it talks, that means that it would be alive in some capacity. Then again, this thing is just a hunk of metal. A hunk of metal that talks and calls me the Harbinger of some Beast of the Heavens. Probably a bad idea for someone to be touching that thing.
And that, of course, is why you’re going to touch it pretty much immediately, right?
“You’re just imagining things.” I tell him as I quickly cross the small distance between us and reach for the sword, eager to get it out of his grasp and back to where it belongs. A.K.A: as far away from me as possible.
SB: The basic is starting to bore my brains out…
Yeah. Because why the hell would you tell Daven to just put it back where he found it? No, you have to go there and put it down yourself, instead of doing the smart thing.
C: Never underestimate the power of plot convenience, parrot.
You say that like I’m not already familiar with how plot convenience works, Crunchy.
I reach out with my hand to grab it-
And immediately scream in surprise as something begins surging through my body. Jumping back, I grasp my hand as my body trembles. Not in anxiety, like I’d expect it to. No, in fact, I feel… powerful. Like I’ve just been hit with a massive boost of energy. At the same time, I feel an overwhelming surge of rage hitting me, making me want to lash out at the nearest person, who just happens to be staring at me in shock and fear. Taking a series of deep, calming breaths, I manage to hold back my anger. As it fades, so does the feeling of power. NEVER. TOUCHING. THAT SWORD AGAIN.
So it’s a sword that makes you hulk out.
C: Amateur. If it were a truly mystical sword that were asking you to be a chosen one, there would be much more in the package than a simple berserk status! Come now, have you no imagination?
“P-put that thing away, damn it!” I hiss, backing away slowly and leaning against a bookshelf. “You shouldn’t mess with things when you don’t even know anything about them!” I scold Daven as he hastily places the damn blade back in its case. God, you are a walking disaster zone, aren’t you? Remind me to pray for the people who were unlucky enough to raise you. They’re either in they’re graves or in a mental hospital.
SB: They can’t be feeling any worse than the ones putting up with your whiny ass!
Hey, he’s the Stu, people automatically put up with him anyway! And most of them probably are screaming internally.
C: So in a way, the polecat is right.
…wow, my brain can be seriously dickish sometimes.
“Sorry, sorry! It’s just that I swear I’ve seen this blade before.” He takes another look at it, his brow furrowed. “Then again, maybe not. It looks smaller than the one I was thinking of.”
C: It was likely the same as the one the nuns purchased from the PCC. I hear it happens quite frequently.
He steps back and turns to face me, holding his hands in front of him and moving them back and forth as he tries to get a precise measurement for what he’s talking about. “The one I remember had a bigger blade, at least twice as big as that one’s.
C: As I said, from the PCC’s stocks.
SB: They have a blade like that?
C: Naturally. It would not be the PCC if they lacked it.
Sighing, he lets his hands fall to his side and gives me an apologetic smile. “Alright, like I said, let’s get you back to Brother Libra. He must be ready to see you by now.”
Yes, let’s. I’ve had enough of this stupid diversion from the plot.
We then cut back to Marco after a line break. We get some ramblings about everyone worrying about Kale and stuff, and of course—
“Can anyone honestly tell me why this guy was so important to you all?”
All of this tension was made worse, however, by the comments of a certain cavalier.
SB: Finally, someone asks the smart question everyone was fucking asking!
C: And of all people, it is the cavalier who would be bad at his job. That is quite… jarring, I would say.
“Somebody really needs to shut up…” Garrett grumbled.
“Before they find out how hot fire can burn…” Myra added in. Marco just grunted in agreement.
And these guys are defending the king of the basics?
SB: He does nothing but whine and act like an idiot! Why are people making excuses for him? Fucking Totems all over again…
C: Because, my dear polecat, we are dealing with a Gary Stu now. And as a Gary Stu, he is always entitled to the unquestioning affection of everyone around him.
SB: Reminds me of some dead meat I know…
Oh, they’re not that bad. At least not everyone gives them unquestioning attention.
“Honestly, I don’t get it. Why are you all so hung up over this Kale guy?” he asked, leading Ally by the reigns. He’d been asking the same question for the past hour and was steadily grating on everyone nerves. “I mean he ran away in the middle of a battle for crying out loud! Come on, my captain was killed because he was stupid enough to get in the way and not a single person is going to-“
Um… why is Albert being the resident jerk now?
SB: I don’t know. Either way, he’s got a point. I mean, shit, this guy did get all those people killed and nobody called him out for it until now? And then his running off? Fucking….
C: Though, are we sure there is the proper semantics here? As I understand the scene, Kale-Stu attempted to face this mage in single combat. A poor move by any standards, but it was not getting in the way.
SB: Point still stands. Jeez, Albert’s doing a lot to pull himself out of the basic pile. Trying too hard, huh?
No kidding. And it’s kind of a sad sign when—
*points at the fic*
That better not be what I think it is!
He was silenced as three fists collided with his face, belonging to Kale’s three closest and oldest companions: Marco, Myra, and Garrett.
SB: Wait…D-Did all three fists hit his face at the same time?
C: Is that even possible?
I… don’t know…
SB: Fuck it, just one of them punched him. But why the hell would they—?
“Will you shut the hell up already?!” Garrett snarled as Albert writhed in pain on the ground, clutching his nose as blood poured from it. “You don’t know shit about him! He had a breakdown and ran from battle, yeah. Guess what? I’ve seen knights and warriors do the same thing when they were supposed to be considered the greatest in the realm. Some of them were even part of the Ylissean army, so don’t think that he’s the only one to freak out!”
Yeah, and then those people likely got their asses executed thanks to a wonderful little thing called “desertion”, dumbass. Like it or not (and believe me, I don’t like war any more than the next guy), in a field of battle a soldier has a job to do. You don’t run from that job for any reason (especially not in the middle of an engagement—speaking of which, who the fuck does that!?), because you know what? There’s more on the line than just your life. What about the lives of your friends, your family, and the well-being of whatever nation you’re supporting? Those are important, too, and that’s what most soldiers fight for! And it’s what they usually fight for in a Fire Emblem game!
Oh, and Garrett? Let me remind you what real carnage looks like:
You see all that? Dead people everywhere. When you’re on a field of battle, you have to expect some death. Of course, it takes a while to get used to killing a man, I get that, and not everyone can do it. But really? Using the “other people do it so it must be okay” line? What are you, twelve? Desertion is fucking serious business. If you run from a job you’re supposed to do that affects the safety and livelihood not just of your friends, but of the people of your nation, then that makes you little more than a selfish coward.
So no, Garrett, the fact that Ylissean soldiers run off because they can’t take the pressure of the battlefield does not excuse Kale from doing it. And if you think it does, here’s a piece of duct tape that’ll help you shut your fat, ignorant mouth up.
SB: Guess his basicness rubbed off on everyone. Like Ebola…
Right? I just… ugh…
After this, Myra is all “yeah, I don’t actually hate him”, and then Marco’s like “yeah, sure, we’ll find him, but first we need to pay attention to Krysta…
He inclined his head towards Krysta, who had stumbled forwards only to be caught by Genevieve, who always seemed willing to lend a shoulder.
…who is being allowed to walk without aid despite her injuries. Because letting injured people get rest so they don’t aggravate their wounds is that thing idiots do, or something.
He then tells Albert to suck it up and tell them where they can get medical attention. Krysta is like “wait, I don’t need that”, before predictably falling forward. Marco feels she’s “running a temperature” (whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean). He then presses the question to Albert, who tells Marco:
“Yeah… There’s a monastery on the outskirts of Ylisstol. It’ll take the rest of the day to reach it but the monks and clerics that live there are easily some of the best healers in the area.” He pointed in the general direction of where they had to go.
SB: You want to bet it’s the same monastery that the king of the basics is at?
C: Well, it is a spectacularly bad fanfiction, so I would bet on that.
SB: Is there anything these things do that we don’t know already?
C: No. Just be thankful there is no way that the coochipede can appear in this particular fanfiction.
SB: …The what?
You really don’t want to know.
Albert then says to let him do all the talking, before getting on the horse and telling Marco to put Krysta on. He then says he’ll run ahead to the monastery with…
Wait, hang on, what?
“It’s this way. Come on, we need to get moving. When we get there, let me do the talking: Sister Anise is an old friend and she’ll help us get our help. …Wait, I’ve got a better idea.” Pulling his hand away from his face, he grabbed his horse’s reigns and got on, motioning for Marco to place Krysta on the back of Alexandria, just in front of him. “We don’t want to waste any time, if it is a bad infection. I can run ahead and get her there quickly. You should all make it there by the end of the day.”
C: As I recall, you only pointed in the “general direction”. The fic’s words, not mine.
Yeah. So my question: how the hell are they supposed to reach it if they don’t know the specific path to take? It’s not like Dragon Age where you have a map marker and you can more or less improvise by following the compass, you’re literally giving them the bare minimum of direction. What if they bump into an army on the way there? Like, say, an antagonistic army that hates Kale’s guts?
SB: I thought this was a fantasy nerd shit, not a horror thriller!
Yeah, what Sterling said!
As Krysta was placed on the saddle, a frown came over the young cavalier’s face. “Look, I’m sorry about what I said but I’m not taking it back. Your friend Kale acted like a fool and a good man died because of it. Hate me if you want but I can’t forgive him that easily.”
Thank you, Albert, for talking sense. Also good that Kale’s facing blowback from what he did.
C: I do not expect it to last terribly long.
Neither do I, but the break is nice, at least.
After that, Garrett is all “fine, whatever, just don’t judge him”, before Albert then up and leaves.
“I have only one thing to say.” Genevieve, who had been surprisingly silent the entire trip, finally spoke up. Turning to Garrett, she gave him an innocent smile. “Garrett, I believe that you made an error yesterday when you called me ‘Genny’. If you would be so kind,” her smile faded as, with a sudden flash of speed, she spun around and had her sword’s tip at the man’s throat, much to everyone’s surprise, “never call me ‘Genny’ again. I am the Great Genevieve and I will not go by any other title. Am I understood?”
SB: *facepalm* And I thought fire lady was the only one constantly flopping between her PMSing.
And I may remind you; this is the same woman who earlier cried at not having a reputation. So it’s not even consistent.
C: It is indeed poor form. All of the women here are either helpless flowers or crazy. It is strange there is no middle ground.
Again, I don’t think it’s malicious, but it’s still a little worrying…
Anyway, we get a couple more paragraphs, before we then cut back to the king of the basics as he walks into Libra’s office. He notices that—
He’s wearing a simple robe rather that doesn’t have the bracers that he has in combat, so I suppose this is casual attire for him. Guess it makes sense: why wear your armor 24/7?
C: Why are you doing that?
Crunchy, don’t you know? Without even meaning to, the king of the basics just burned Aion-Sue so hard it’s not even funny!
C: … You bring up a compelling point.
SB: What’s this about, and why should I care?
I’ll tell you some other time, Sterling.
So anyway, Libra introduces himself, and then Kale shakes his hand. He brings up a whole thing about Libra’s fear of being touched (no, really, that’s a canon trait), but they shake hands. Kale asks how Libra found them, and he mentions the man clad in black. Kale figures out it’s raven-masked man, and then Libra confirms that and asks Kale how they know each other. Kale wonders about this guy, before Libra interrupts with…
“Daven, is something the matter?” I turn my head to see the young man scrunching his eyebrows, his chin resting in the cup of his hand.
“A raven-masked swordsman… Tell me, did he wear a belt of knives across his chest?” he asks, motioning at where they would be. I nod, and I assume Libra does as well. “Then I’m right…” Turning away, I see him shake his head. “But this makes no sense… Libra, you remember the night I came here, correct?”
SB: *sigh* Okay, who is this raven-masked man, and can we make him the hero? Seriously, it’s like he’s the one saving everyone else’s ass, why the hell are we wasting time with these douchebags?
C: And that, dear polecat, is the eternal fanfiction question.
SB: Dear polecat? Watch it…
C: Oh, I am well aware. It is just incredibly villainous to add terms of affection when addressing people.
It’s a Crunchy thing, in other words. Either way… cue a reveal in three… two… one…
I turn my head to see Libra pale slightly, as if the very thought of him allowing Daven to stay is now nightmare-fuel. Then again, having this guy living in your house would be a nightmare, wouldn’t it? “Yes, I do, as I’m sure everyone here does. In fact, I doubt anyone would ever forget your stay here, Daven. But, why do you ask?”
“Well, you remember how I said I’d encountered a pack of Risen before I’d arrived here right?” I thought you fell into it after falling down a hill. “Well, I almost didn’t make it.” A frown creases his face as he begins to retell his battle. “I’d been doing a well enough job of holding them off when one of the bastards struck me from behind and pushed me to the ground. Before I could get a chance to recover, one of them had their axe raised above their heads and was ready to finish me, when a bolt of blue light just cuts straight through it. Before I know it, the swordsman that, I’m assuming, we’re all talking about is in the middle of the pack, cutting them down left and right. It was over like that.” He snaps his fingers for emphasis. “Afterwards, he helped me to my feet and pointed me in the direction of your monastery, Brother Libra.”
Well, Sterling’s right.
C: I believe you are beginning to develop what the Librarians would call “genre savvy”, polecat.
SB: I don’t know if I should feel honored, creeped, or cursed.
All of them. You should feel honored at the fact that you’re gaining new knowledge, creeped at the fact that you have that knowledge in the first place, and cursed at the fact that it means you’ll now headdesk harder whenever you read the inevitable slash fanfiction between you and certain Catholic avians.
SB: I think that—hey wait, what the hell are you—?
Anyway, after this, Kale responds by relating his own tale (while hiding his breakdown). Daven then grabs out a knife, and he’s all “he’s been helping people. He then thinks about the Risen army, before he realizes “shit”, and then asks Libra about any large estates. And then, when Libra mentions the Duke of Themis, Kale is all “shit… Well, I’ve got bad news”.
C: The explanation of that is thankfully omitted, as we are then treated to a time skip that takes us to the end of the explanation.
SB: …Why would you do that?
Simple, Sterling: because, as MaesterDimentio realized, readers are capable of retaining information.
SB: Oh. Well… Good for him?
Yes, good for him.
So we get a summary of how they responded to the infodump, and then we cut to…
“A damn army of them…” Daven whispers.
“Naga protect us.” Libra says, his eyes wide in fear.
Libra then says he’s going to inform the Exalt of Ylisse at once, grabbing up a quill. He thanks Kale for telling him this information, before…
“It’s not a problem.” I say, shrugging my shoulders. I stand and start heading for the door. “I guess I’ll start getting ready to leave then.”
“Why would you leave?” I hear the monk ask.
C: I suspect it may have something to do with finding his friends that he left in the forest.
SB: You really think he’s going to do that? All he does is bitch! Maybe he’s going to complain some more, talk about how much his life sucks or that his father molested him or some shit like that.
C: Oh, do not be ridiculous, Sterling. He does not seem the type.
I pause as my hand reaches for the door handle. It’s a thought that’s been on my mind for the entire time that I’ve been telling my story: when they learn of what I did, of how I reacted to what was happening around me, how will they react? “Well, I’m assuming you wouldn’t want a coward and a traitor in your monastery, would you?” I give off a derisive chuckle. “I mean, that’s all I really am, aren’t I?” I turn around, my head lowered. “Both of you know. When it counted the most, I ran from my allies, my friends, the people who trusted me. A man is dead because of me.” I shudder slightly, the image of the mage’s hand sticking into Rorik’s chest in my mind. “I’d just assumed that if word got out, I’d be kicked out of here faster than… well, Daven causing a disaster.” This earns a chuckle from, of all people, Daven who stands up and walks towards me slightly.
SB: Told ya.
Yeah. He may not be a pretentious shit, Crunchy, but you have to remember, the angst is strong with this one.
C: You are not labelling it as “wangst”?
Hey, at least he’s actually got some reason to angst. Some of it is still overblown, but hey, he did get a guy killed due to his idiocy, so I’ll give him that much.
SB: Still incredibly fucking basic, though.
Yep, that he is.
“Kale, let me tell you something that my father told me about making assumptions. When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.” I look up, somewhat surprised to hear that phrase in this world. I suppose they could have the same idea though… “Now, what you did definitely isn’t something to be proud of, but at least you’re owning up to your mistakes. You realize that you’ve made a bit of a mess but that doesn’t make you a bad person. Trust me, if making messes makes someone a bad person, then I’m the damn Fell Dragon Grima itself.” he says with a smirk.
C: Ah, that is…
Huh. Daven’s actually not so bad a guy. A klutz, but he’s sweet.
SB: Eh, still lazy. Anyone who doesn’t want to fix his mistakes is that.
Yeah, but comforting someone is no small feat, y’know?
Libra simply nods and stands before speaking. “Daven is correct, Kale. And from what you’ve told us, it isn’t entirely your fault. This… disorder that you mentioned seems to have played a major role in this as well.”
Oh boy, we’re bringing that up again. I just… Ugh… I dunno…
C: Well, on the upside, perhaps there is no sickeningly easy solution this time.
I sigh. “Yeah, yeah it did. If I’d just had my medicine-”
“That can be arranged.” he says, causing me to stare at him in shock. “I know that Sister Anise can create an elixir that calms the mind and allows one to think more clearly. If you’d like, I would be glad to have her create some for you.”
Well, I’m glad I’m not the one who ended up tempting fate for once. I thought you were better about that, Crunchy?
C: Be quiet, monkey.
SB: Wait, hang on. Isn’t anxiety supposed to be a mental condition?
Yeah. Which these guys wouldn’t do nearly so much research on, considering the time period. Newsflash, folks: diseases of the mind that have only been understood best thanks to modern science apparently have magical treatments in a world where psychiatry basically doesn’t exist. Hooray!
C: Well, it is not a complete cop-out. A complete cop-out would have involved a magical cure rather than a magical treatment.
SB: It’s still pretty bad that he was fussing over something and then hey, turns out he was freaking out over nothing. Fuck’s sake…
Yeah, I know what you mean, Sterling. Trust me, I know.
Someone then enters the room, and it turns out it’s this ‘Sister Anise’ person. Libra greets her, but before he can say too much she’s all “someone just brought a badly injured person”, and then Libra is like “alright, in we come”. Before they leave, she gives Kale some clothes, and then he quickly puts them on while following Libra and Daven over there.
We then get a line break, to…
It only takes us a few moments to make it to the infirmary, especially with the pace that Libra was going at. I must admit, the hallways don’t seem nearly as confusing as I thought they had been, especially with someone showing me the way. As we come to the door that leads to the infirmary, I frown and scrunch up my brow. Who was it that Anise said brought in the patient? Alvin? Alex? Al-
The door quickly opens as a young man in brown armor sticks his head outside. “Brother Libra, thank Naga for you. This girl, Krysta, she’s in-” He stops as he suddenly notices me and recognition spreads across his face, at the same time it does mine. “YOU!” he shouts.
“Aw shit.” is all I have to say before he leaps at me.
SB: Holy shit. You’ve got this injured girl you’re trying to help, and the minute you see him standing there you lunge at him wanting to kill him?
Hey, I may remind you that you’ve got a lot of people you don’t like in the FBA either.
SB: Yeah, but I at least put my head down when it comes to serious shit. Like a game, for example.
That’s true, you did put your head down for the Top 24 game.
SB: You better fucking believe I did! And this guy here is trying to throttle the king of the basics? HAH!
Yeah, it’s kind of stupid when you put it that way, isn’t it?
C: Do you suppose he caught whatever it is Stupard had in Parallel Realities?
SB: … Who, what, and why?
Another thing I’ll have to tell you later.
Anyway, we then get a line break, and we cut to…
As he watched the people of the monastery go about their days from his perch on top of the hill he stood on, Randell of the Dunes couldn’t help but smile broadly.
Uh-oh, run for the hills, folks! I think Crunchy may actually be angry!
“I’ll be merciful to them: we’ll attack in the morning and let them get one final night’s rest. Then, the whole wretched place will burn.” he said to the few men standing behind him.
C: Lackey, stop! That dialogue is only reserved for the most dignified of Awesome McEvils! You are not one, so stop that right now!
Ah, it’s fun to see Crunchy get worked up about this.
SB: Tits ahoy!
Yep, goes to show you can’t expect anyone to be anything in this day and age…
Turning away to head back to his camp, he noticed a small commotion coming from the tents. “What’s this all about?” he called out as he approached the campsite.
One of his best men came running up to him. “Sir, we found these four passing through the area. Apparently, they were travelling with the boy.”
Oh come on, I was kidding when I asked if they would bump into an army!
SB: What is it with these people getting in trouble because one of them acts like an idiot?
Well, that’s pretty much how conflict works in these things.
SB: Remind me never to get trapped in this shit.
I… don’t think you have any say on whether or not that—!
C: Oh, no! Oh no, do not tell me he will employ Awesome McEvil plan number 465!
SB: … You have a list…
It wouldn’t surprise me if he has…
Randell nodded once and smiled. This was a perfect opportunity for him: he knew the boy had to be in the monastery and now, he had the whelp’s friends. He’d force the bastard to come out and face him, otherwise he’d execute the four of them on the spot.
C: It is! I will find this lackey and I will make sure his death is slow and painful!
Well, at least he’s enjoying how evil he is?
C: You be quiet, parrot!
“And sir, there’s something else: we recognize who one of them is and… Just come see for yourself!” he said, the excitement plain in his voice.
Intrigued, Randell walked past the man and towards where the commotion was. Passing through the small mob of warriors that had gathered, he saw four people tied to wooden posts. His eyes scanned over them all, only to lock onto one of them in particular: a young man with angry green eyes and black hair. A wide grin came over his face as he walked up to the prisoner. “Well, if it isn’t Marcellus du Plegios. Damn, can my luck get any better?”
“Perhaps…” a voice rasped from behind. “…for a price.”
C: Great. And of course he would take great pleasure in seeing a rival in his grasp. I hope this man dies a brutal death.
Well, I guess we won’t find out soon, because this is the end of the chapter. We get another author’s note that really doesn’t say that much else that hasn’t been said before, and then that ends that.
SB: Good. Does this mean I can go home now? I’ve still got shit to d—
Crunchy, what was that?
C: I do not know. Allow me to—
*the door to the riffing chamber opens*
???: Where am I? What in God’s name is—?
SB: Wh—Nun?! The fuck?!
Oh dear God, right when I thought this whole situation couldn’t possibly get any more awkward…