A Hero’s Threadbare Cloth

Who can act when the Warrior of Light cannot?

[Highly recommend completing the Dark Knight job quests through to lv80 and taking a gander through the Firmament. Otherwise, this isn’t gonna make a lot of sense.]

I thought our heart was quelled of this anger, yet here we are again. 

Though, it seems you have been busy in this time of peace. While our hands tremble, the snow is gently blanketing the many homes you yourself helped to construct. They are home to the many needy of Ishgard. People like me. People like you. People like us. 

But, you did not expect to see him in the infirmary, did you? You did not expect him to survive.

Count Edmont is happy to see you, though worried as you came knocking in the dead of night, during a snowstorm. With Emmanellain overseeing Camp Dragonhead, the house is quiet. Artoirel’s worry mimics his father’s as you apologize for the intrusion and ask only for the key to your room – a room on the lower floor, a floor servants and bastard children. 

Artoriel protests, insisting you stay in the guest room where it’s warm, and that he’ll have food and a doctor by before the hour passes, but you decline. All you want is sleep, and with Edmont putting a gentle hand on your shoulder, he dismisses the oldest son of House Fortemps to allow you your repose on your terms. 

Everything is just as you left it as you crash into the burlap sack filled with little more than straw and discarded wool. The sheets are still cold from him, though the moonlight catches a single silver-blue strand of hair on the pillow. 

You cannot steady yourself from this, can you? You have conquered over man and god, yet a single bloody stray hair has cracked you in two. Wipe your face.

The unsteady gait of Edmont grabs your attention and you open your door to him, a tray of leftovers. He dotes on you like a father does a sick child as he settles your food on the poor excuse of a table. He brushes back your hair and asks you if there is anything he can do, but you insist you’re alright, weary from your trials, and painfully homesick. He tells you to come home more often, you try to protest, but he insists, and then wishes you a restful sleep as he dries the tears on your face with his fingertips.

What would he say if you revealed what you saw earlier today? What would he say if he knew in our heart what you wanted to do?

The snow has subsided. The Firmament is bright, cheery even. Today you are lending some of your time to the infirmary, being one of the only white mages to leave the Twelveswood, your skills are a blessing upon these people. 

If only they knew that you were only here to watch the elezen groaning on his cot, his head bandaged, limbs weakly trembling for succor. You watch for hours, wanting the facade to drop, but everyone only suspects it is a man injured, left to die in the snow, and lucky to be found and brought here. 

Before you depart for the evening, you stand over his bed. You watch his pained breaths as he clutches his chest. His lips do not smirk as they did when they peered upon you as an outcast to the world. His voice, which now cries out while locked in nightmares, does not echo with the malice tempered by a primal. 

Are you going to murder Ser Zephirin de Valhourdin, who lays in a stupor, gravely wounded, in the firmament infirmary? Is that why you called out to me again? Do you need the strength to draw your blade across his neck? Or should it be a spear to the gut? Your hands would tremble at the blood that drips from the wound. Perhaps it should be poison. You could even be the one to pass it over his lips with a smile, then watch the blackened sick cross his lips and you stand over him, watching the dregs of his life cast away. 

Are you looking for justice or vengeance?

Don’t you remember that vengeance is what got us here in the first place?

I will do this for us. Decide on his fate, gather the tools of his execution, then cast yourself to the night. I will do the rest. 

Count Edmont has come to the Firmament to fetch you. People are calling out our name. Best not be seen lingering here. 

Our favorite little fool is back. She hesitates your hand as you reach for the door of the infirmary. She begs us – return to Fortemps Manor. Summon Emmanellain to mock. Reveal the truth of Captain Carvallain to House Durendaire. Leave Ishgard! Anything!

Still, as you lay in the bed you shared, take meals in the home he opened to you, and hear his voice in the words of his father, you cannot stop thinking about it, can you? 

You need me, now, more than ever. 

I will end this. 

Good morning. The sun is rising over Ishgard. We truly thought of everything. You left a change of clothes nearby.  Careful as you stand, you would surely live to regret if you painted his gravestone with blood.  Or perhaps, you want to? But, alas, I feel myself finally starting to fade. Our breath has finally calmed, our heart no longer threatens to burst from our chest. 

Cast your bloody robes into the yearning chasm along with the sword clutched tight in your hand. Wash yourself clean with the snow, then pitch it over as well. Now, we shall be entwined forever more. I won’t be able to stop you next time. 

He knew. He cried out for mercy, Warrior of Light. He knew, and we did not care as we took his life. We did it with a smile, for a smile suits a hero. 

Isn’t that right?

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