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Strength is pain. Strength is suffering. Strength is sacrifice.


Those who have never faced death do not scruple to condemn others to it. They know nothing of true sacrifice, and are weak for their ignorance.


In sacrifice there is strength. In sacrifice there is liberation.


For one that was unrelenting has come to be unmerciful.


For the other always unceasing has finally become a nightmare to all.


May The Fury guide us in our road to damnation.



Somewhere in Dravania...


Ever had the cold lingered and suffocated every hint of sun and light that made its way into the white mountain. Agony and sorrow, birthed from war, had halted time and each movement of life seemed sluggish just like the flakes of snow that descended onto clashing steel and iron.


"Kill the heretics! Kill them all!"


In the thick of the forest of ice and snow, a party of Ishgardian Knights sent from the footsteps of the Holy See of Ishgard carried on with their battle against traitorous Dravanaian worshiping heretics.


The captain of the knights swung his sword crosswise at his opponent, slicing the bare flesh of the heretic's neck where mail armor did not cover. The other knights advanced, exchanging parries and slashes, arrows and stabs, as bodies from both groups lay broken and lifeless.


"Do not let any of them escape! By Halone shall victory be ours!"


Holding his sword aloft, the knight captain sprinted and parried incoming arrows as he led the charge forward. The heretics, being outnumbered, began to retreat back into the mountains with quick haste. The knight captain grinded his teeth and charged faster, determined not to let any of the traitors escape.


As he began to close in on the first heretic, the captain stopped, for the heretic that stood in front of him had also ceased running. The elezen stood still for a time being and right as the captain approached, the heretic elezen fell onto his back in a quick and bloody heap.





The captain furrowed his brow, approaching the shadow that stood over the dead body of the heretic. Armor black like charcoal, this knight did not belong in the captain's ranks. Holding his massive sword aloft in the air, the knight coldly stared back at the captain with steel colored eyes underneath his helm. The snow cascaded slower than the blood that trickled onto the ground from the knight's sword.


"Well, it looks like we're in luck! It seems the Va-"


Interrupted by a scream of agony behind him, the captain turned to witness one of his knights impaled by a halberd and thrust into the air. The wielder of the weapon was another knight - armor crimson and jet, showered by the blood of the captain's murdered man.


"What the hell is going here?! Why are you two doing th- GAH!"


The next and final words that came from the knight captain was cut short as the same halberd was plunged into his mouth. His eyes rolled back, his body felt limp, and air was difficult to inhale as his throat filled with pain and blood. Before the knight captain fell into eternal slumber, the last thing he saw as he was lifted into the air was the countless bodies of both heretics and knights that littered the snow.


The Vale Brothers had slaughtered them all.

Edited by Xydane Vale
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The northern sun quickly drained the light from the sky above Ishgard as dusk followed suit. Lord Viarre carried an anxious expression as he hurried into his chambers. Inside, the two Dragoons Falorgeant and Clarielle were waiting patiently for his arrival. Lord Viarre already knew what brought the Dragoons into his walls for they always had an interest for one thing - his knights.


Falorgeant leaned onto the brick wall with arms crossed as he watched Clarielle converse with one of the house's maids. The Dragoons, dawned in their acclaimed Drachen armor, turned their attention towards Lord Viarre once the old elezen finally entered the room and walked towards his desk. The retired knight had his back turned to the Dragoons and began to shuffle papers and scrolls alike, before he spoke with a voice that echoed throughout the chamber.


"I already know why you're both here," said Lord Viarre as he continued to organize his desk. "If you're looking for my knights, they have already left."


Falorgeant raised his head and looked at Lord Viarre deliberately. "It's about the hunt, Lord Viarre. What we discovered was disturbing."


"Go on, I'm listening."


"As you know, a party of knights were sent to dispatch a group of heretics and your knights tagged along as well. The thing is, the knight captain and his men did not know that the Vale Brothers were coming to join them. That, however, proved to be false. The heretics have been killed along with the captain and his party. The Vale Brothers were no where to be seen."


Lord Viarre turned immediately, staring at Falorgeant.


"What are you getting at? You think Marcus and his brother killed the knights?"


Falorgeant stepped forward and shook his head slightly. "That is what why we are here. There are people who want to know what happened and we seek the Vale Brothers for answers."


Lord Viarre grinded onto his teeth and his voice began to slightly raise.


"Has this house not lost enough?! I already lost my son and two of my best knights and now you two dare insult this house's remaining honor by assuming that my only knights left have killed that of the Holy See?!"


Clarielle frowned. "Our apologies, Lord, if our questions seem to be coming off as such but we’ve come to find answers. Do you happen to know where Marcus and Xydane are?"


Lord Viarre exhaled, quickly regaining his composure and closing his eyes. For a moment, the retired knight stood silently before sitting down on a chair made of oak. "My apologizes, Dragoons. When Ishgard is restless, so am I. Today has taken it's toll on my body but... it's no reason for my anger. Marcus is still out and about. Perhaps you can find him around the Saint Valeroyant Forum. He spends most of his time there."


"And Xydane?" asked Clarielle.


"Xydane had been sent off to escort a noble into the borders of The Black Shroud. Marcus knows the details."

Edited by Xydane Vale
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The breeze slightly brushed the leaves against one another in the mid-day sun. For Xydane, it had been over a year since he last traveled outside Coerthas and the warmth of the sun was now something alien to him. Slowly taking off his right glove, the knight raised his hand towards the sun and spread his fingers. The gentle wind glided between his fingers and carried an affection that reminded him of many things so long ago. A life he yearned for but have now learned to forget. Frowning, Xydane placed his gauntlet back on and pressed his black metal claws together as he quietly walked towards the girl's house in the Lavender Beds.


Clover Blake.


Even after a year, even after breathing in death when the dragon brought him and his brother off the cliffs during the Dravanian siege on the Gates of Judgement, even after succumbing to the voices that gave him reason to grow in power...


... Xydane would never forget her. No, she had always been in his thoughts. The girl who found him many years ago, nearly dead on the outskirts of Gridania, was the girl who showed him compassion, kindness, and resembled everything about his murdered love, Rose Leon.


The housing community was lively as usual with people going about with their normal lives - a life so different and distant than his. Watching a family attend to their gardens for a minute, Xydane couldn't help but envy the scene. Their lives were not tainted by the horrors of war, murder, loss, pain, and suffering. No, their lives were peaceful, warm, and happy.


The knight turned away, placing his hood back down and continued with his steps. Finally at Clover's residence, Xydane stopped and stared at the wooden door. Exhaling deeply, the knight looked down to see his right hand gripped tightly in a fist and shaking. Was it that he was nervous? What was it? Xydane had hoped for a chance when he could sneak out the borders of Ishgard and travel southwest - back to a place that seemed to carry him away from everything he hated and despised. He struggled to remember a room with chairs by the fireplace and shelves filled with books and stories. What he could never forget was the rare smile that the girl had for she never smiled often. Her heart, however, was always kind.


Inhaling the fresh air, Xydane knocked loudly on the door twice and waited.



And he waited.


Again, he knocked.


And once more, he waited... and waited... and waited until minutes more passed.


The breeze grazed against what little skin shown and suddenly, pain shot throughout his entire body. He raised a hand to his breastplate and snarled, clutching his chest in agony.


What was this, he thought? Disappointment? What he yearned for, what he came for, was nonexistent. He had traveled to see her, well aware of the consequence if he was to be caught, only to have whatever little hope that remained in his soul crushed and destroyed.


His expression unpleasant, he turned around and quickly walked off, staring at the ground while doing so. As he stormed further up the road, a small ball bounced and gently tapped him on the foot. Ceasing in his steps, Xydane watched as a small boy from the family he saw earlier came forward with joy and laughter to retrieve his runaway ball. Gently, the small boy picked up the ball and looked at Xydane with curiosity that belonged only to an innocent child. When Xydane had ran across children in his travels, even when he carried an expression of grief, the children were always willing to make him smile.


But no, not this time.


Instead, the child looked up and saw only a monster.

Edited by Xydane Vale
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  • 3 weeks later...




Night had already decorated the sky with a brilliant display of stars when Clarielle and Falorgeant left Lord Viarre's estate. Suggesting that Falorgeant and her split up to cover more ground to look for Marcus, Clarielle cloaked herself against the biting northern chill as she made her way towards the Saint Valeroyant Forum. There, she walked to and fro, taking caution not to blow her cover as someone up to no good in the late of night. In Ishgard, eyes were always watching from every corner be it the Temple Knights or a poor soul looking for food.


Standing underneath the statue of Saint Valeroyant, Clarielle sighed at the thought of minutes turning into hours and that her search tonight would be nothing but a waste. Still, she continued to wait and not before long did the doors of The Forgotten Knight slammed wide open and an armored knight stepped out. This of course was Marcus Vale and to Clarielle's curiosity, Marcus carried a rather large woolen sack which he tossed over his right pauldron. Quietly, Clarrielle waited for Marcus to distant himself before she followed him into The Brume.


'Strange, what would someone like Marcus Vale be doing down here?' she thought, slowing down and hiding behind a wall every now and then as not to draw attention to herself.


Clarielle's interest surprised her when Marcus disappeared into the darkness around the corner to the left. Quietly looking over, Clarielle saw Marcus stooped to one knee as he handed a small elezen girl a wool blanket from his bag.


"Thank you, Ser Marcus! Can you read me to sleep again? Da is sick and he is already sleeping."


Marcus frowned, petting the girl on her head with metal claws as he shook his head.


"Not tonight, young one. Where is your father?"


Pointing behind her, the little girl turned around and led the knight to a much older elezen who laid beneath stacked crates, shivering under a torn spread while lying next to a small dying fire. As Clarielle watched from afar, Marcus knelt down and began to remove the rest of the bag's contents in front of the elezen and his child.


"It seems the nights have not been kind to you."


"Don't they ever?" joked the sick man.


"I thought you would have recovered from your fever by now. I have brought medicine, food, and blankets."


Starring at Marcus with sorrowful eyes, the man frowned. "Ser Marcus, you do not have to do this for me. I cannot thank you enough for watching over Edith. If only... there were more like you."


Marcus kept his expression emotionless as he stood up slowly and walked away.


"I will return soon. Keep Edith near you."


Coming towards the corner where Clarielle stood, the female dragoon turned to hasten her steps out of The Brume. Realizing what she saw, Clarielle turned back to look at the wandering knight once last time before leaving the area.


'Marcus is most likely heading back to Lord Viarre. I must tell Falorgeant and perhaps we can intercept him there.'




Ascending the steps that would take him out of The Brume and back towards The Pillars, Marcus ceased in his walk. The hyur's eyes quickly filled with cold antipathy as he heard the screaming of a familiar girl back in the darkness. Purposely slow, Marcus made his way back toward Edith and her father; his shadow loomed over the figure of two other homeless elezen whom surrounded the sick man and his young daughter, shank in hand.



Seeing the shadow that cast over them, one of the thieves turned and before he could let out a scream, the hyur's metal hand grabbed tightly onto his face - the knight's clawed fingers digging into his flesh as he dragged him into the darkness. Edith and her father watched in horror as one of the thieves in front of them completely vanished.


The second thief turned, his eyes wildly scanning the pitch blackness in front of him for his vanished comrade. The first thing to linger out of the darkness was the tip of a metal sword that dripped with his friend's blood. Marcus approached the thief slowly, his claws and his armor sprayed fresh with his prey's crimson gore.


"Do you know why the other knights call me 'The Nightmare'?"


"Ser Marcus The Unceasing? W-wait, I'll leave! I'll n-never come back here again!"


"You poor insolent creature... allow me to show you."


The ill elezen pulled his daughter close and covered her eyes as the thief in front of them was torn to shreds.

Edited by Xydane Vale
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  • 3 weeks later...







Midnight had passed when Marcus returned to the estate of House Kalgaren. The corpses of the thieves already disposed of, Marcus had spent some time washing away the blood on his armor and it glistened under the light of the moon. This was not the first time the brothers had slain people within the city walls since their return and they had always been careful not to leave a single trace for the Temple Knights to discover. Risky as it was, night in the city fabricated shadows for the brothers to cast themselves back in and areas like The Brume provided the most perfect area of freedom for righteous slaughter. The poor in the The Brume were too fearful to talk lest they wished to be dragged into the darkness and consumed by the Vale Brother's reprisal. Word amid both the knights whom patrolled the area and the poor souls living in The Brume infamously spread about screams in the night and the disappearance of few.


The temperature had dropped and Marcus no longer had an interest for the night. Though unknown to all on what he and his brother had become, the brothers were still men and like all walks of life, they needed rest. Dreams while sleep were now non-existent to Marcus for the nightmares that clouded his mind and forced him to wake up in cold sweat were frequent and became nothing new. Now, only a few things kept him from fatigue and none of them considered good.


Ignoring the existence of the guard at the estate's entrance, Marcus casually opened it's doors and quietly walk in. Inside, Marcus was greeted by one of the house servants whom requested that he saw Lord Viarre for an urgent matter at once. With the usual blank expression on his face, Marcus ventured down the hallway that would lead to Lord Viarre's chambers in a hasty pace. Once in his lord's chambers, Marcus glared at the two dragoons standing inside before making his presence known to the retired knight with a quick kneel and a slight bow of his head.


"I have come as you asked, my lord."


Though he did not directly make eye contact with them, Marcus was well aware of the two knights of House Durendaire that conversed with Lord Viarre in a nervous matter. The line of House Kalgaren had always been prominent allies with House Durendaire since the founding of Ishgard and Marcus had served House Durendaire numerously in the past. Shifting his steel colored eyes to the knights, Marcus stared with great interest at one who's wounds from unknown origin were being dressed by another of House Kalgaren's servants. The injured Durendaire elezen was battered and suffered a deep gash that stretched from his right shoulder all the way up to his neck.


Turning his focus to Marcus, Lord Viarre lifted a hand to signal the knight to rise and looked at him with a bleak expression that matched the mood of the scene.


"It seems that not even in the night can one hope for a few hours of peace. That, however, is a lie to the reality we face as a people of Ishgard. Marcus, the knights before you have been tasked on a search for a missing caravan southwest of Dusk Vigil. Heretics had ambushed them and wiped out their party save for these two who by Halone's will were fortunate to escape. The fate of the caravan lies with the same as the slaughtered knights."


Marcus returned his gaze onto the survivors and the hyur knight who suffered less injuries than his elezen compatriot stared back with anxiety and weariness.


"They surrounded us on the hills and spared no quarter. We were outnumbered, Ser Marcus, three to one."


"There is also talk of a greater dragon in the area as well." said Falorgeant, crossing his arms and leaning on one of the chamber's many bookshelves like usual.


Marcus turned, staring questioningly at Falorgeant and then to Clarielle who still dawned a hooded cloak since following the oldest Vale earlier in the night.


"Marcus, you remember Falorgeant and Clarielle?"


"Yes, we've crossed paths after my brother and I returned to Ishgard months ago."


"Excellent. Marcus, I would see these heretics dealt with swiftly and be shown the justice of Halone. You will be departing with Falorgeant and Clarielle in two suns to Western Coerthas. Though I trust your ability to handle such problematic issues, I will not take any chances by sending you alone. Falorgeant and Clarielle here are dragoons of exceptional prowess and they have been charged by Ishgard to investigate the matter."


"Has my brother returned from his task yet?"


"No, though it should be anytime now. When Xydane returns, I shall send him to meet up with all of you with much haste."


"Very well. It shall be done, my lord."


And with that said, Marcus turned to leave and as he walked past the dragoons, the knight of House Kalgaren scowled at them with suspicion and distrust. Falorgeant stared back, taking a step forward to watch Marcus disappear into the hallway and likely back into his own quarters to retire for the night. Once Marcus was out of sight, Falorgeant turned to Lord Viarre with a dire expression and said, "When all of this ends, I shall find out if your knights truly have done the unforgivable."

Edited by Xydane Vale
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Somewhere in the North Shroud...




The moon's light speared through the shadows of the forest and Xydane Vale struggled to stand. Feeling very weak, Xydane forced himself to lean on the nearest tree and he desperately clawed into the bark so he could not collapse.




His voice was but a whisper and he began his fight against the unknown force that ached his bones, sent his mind into disarray, and made his armor feel as though he was wearing stone. Xydane roared in anger, tearing off his helm and throwing it onto the forest floor as his body temperature greatly increased. Sweat began to drip profusely from his forehead, sliding down his cheeks and onto the ground. Biting down and grinding his teeth together, Xydane yelled once more at the disembodied voice - harsh and malice - that echoed through the woods in the dead of night.


'Unlimited... power.'


"Why does it hurt?!"


'Your veins... carry my boon...'




'... your rage... and hate... feeds it...'


"W-why now?!"


'... while your soul.... succumbs to it.'


Xydane drew his sword and with the remainder of his strength, he stabbed the blade into the ground. Continuing to shout out in agony, Xydane firmly held onto the weapon's hilt and fought with whatever remaining strength he had in order to not black out. His grasp liberated and his legs numb, Xydane finally fell forward and crashed onto the grass in a heap of metal and flesh. The last thing thing he saw before he fell into slumber was Clover approaching him, looking worried as always. Her figure changed and her shape twisted, Xydane's eyes widen as he watched her turned into the figure of the voice whom spoke in his head.




Marcus tossed and turned in his sleep. A much younger Marcus ran across the farming fields that he once called home and the boy laughed and smiled. The laughter turned into a scream of horror as the young Marcus wept and watched his family get torn asunder in front of him. The Garlean Empire marched through the many piles of broken and burning corpses of those he loved and once knew. Behind them were the rallying cries of heretics and above them were the winged spawns of the Dravanian Horde. Monsters and creatures of all shapes, voidsent twisted and cruel, and every horror imaginable marched through fields of bodies and red.


On his knees and covering his eyes, the little Marcus wept.


'Unlimited... power.'


Staring at the march of terror was now a present day Marcus. A single man who was powerless, hopeless, and the only thing he could do was watch as the world around him burned.


'Your souls... are being torn... from within.'


A great shadow emerged behind Marcus and it's deep voice echoed louder than the burning flames and screeches of every creature marching. The shadow expanded like a dark flame and a black gauntlet materialized - it's talons sharp and solid steel. The hand reached for Marcus' shoulder and gripped firmly.


'It is because of I... that you and your brother lived. It is because of I... that you both obtained unlimited power. Use your hate. Use your rage. This is what gives us strength. Embrace...'


The shadow twisted in shape and wrapped around Marcus like a cloak of black flame. The flames solidified and turned into steel armor. This was not the armor of an Ishgardian Knight but the armor of the voice - of the shadow. Marcus' weeps became silent. His sorrows became fury. His broken heart turned into an unending abyss of chaos and so thus "The Nightmare" fought and slaughtered. Maimed and decapitated. Broke and destroyed.


In an instant, the horror march had been annihilated and the knight sat on a mountain made of the corpses of his enemies. The nightmare suddenly forced Marcus to awake from his slumber and he sat up in sweat and shock. His heart raced and Marcus quickly fought to control his rapid breathing. Standing next to his door was one of the house's servants who stared at Marcus with fear and worry. The elezen was a young woman still in her night gown and she held a lit lantern with a hand that trembled.


"S-Ser Marcus? I...I awoke to your screaming and I and ran to your quarters to see if... if everything was alright. Um... Ser Marcus... your room."


Marcus blinked and slowly looked around him.


His room was trashed and the walls were decorated in cuts and slashes. Looking down at his trembling hands, Marcus was wielding his blade.

Edited by Xydane Vale
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  • 4 months later...






It was exactly two suns later when Marcus, accompanied by Falorgeant and Clarielle, departed Ishgard and came to Western Coerthas. The snow had ceased falling when they arrived and the sun shone brightly despite the chilling temperature. The group had stopped momentarily at Falcon's Nest to question the local guards and knights on information for their inquiry. By the end of the hour, the trio had marched north to the Black Iron Bridge and Falorgeant felt a sense of restlessness as he stared at Marcus, who led the party from a good distance ahead.


"Besides questioning the guards at Falcon's Nest, he has yet to speak a single word to us since we left Ishgard", said Falorgeant as he shifted his eyes to Clarielle. "I find his silence unpleasant."


"Whatever happens, we must be careful."


Coming to sudden halt, Marcus slowly turned sideways and stared at Falorgeant and Clarielle. The dragoons returned the stare and after a short moment, Marcus turned and continued his treading.




Xydane had finally reached the border of Coerthas and The Black Shroud. While he continued to scale up the cliffs, he thought back to when he awoke from the dreamless sleep. He hardly remembered anything and the only thing he knew was that the sun was shining directly onto his face and he had passed out in the middle of the forest. His helm and sword lay on the ground and he slowly rose and picked himself up.


The days were quiet except for the chirping of local birds and the cool breeze of the wind. The silence was a strange feeling to him but he tried to welcome it as a feeling of peace.




The thought of peace was funny to him. For his entire life, the only time he had ever known peace was during his childhood before the chaos. Before the madness.


Shaking the thought away, Xydane grunted as he hauled himself over a small cliff and stared at the landscape before him.




A few hours later, Marcus, Clarielle, and Falorgeant had arrived at their destination - a small canyon where the heretic's ambush on the caravan had taken place. Marcus had slowed his pace and the knight began eyeing the above ridgeline and cliffs which surrounded the area. While the dragoons watched him, Marcus dropped to a knee and dusted the soft snow beneath him, inspecting the ground. The area held no signs of debris or remains of the attacked caravan and Marcus rose cautiously. The snow would have covered the footprints of the ambushed party and the heretics so any physical traces of the struggle would not have remained.


Suddenly, the stepping of quick feet on the cliffs above drew Marcus' attention. The melody of many feet crunching into the snow became louder as the movements turned into running. As Marcus slowly reached for his halberd, the cliffs were soon littered with Ishgardian knights with bows already knocked with arrows and aimed directly at Marcus.


Marcus bared his teeth, seeing the tip of Falorgeant's spear in which the dragoon held the weapon to the knight's neck.


"So this was a setup all along. Hmph, I figured as much, you traitorous fool."


"How dare you speak to me of treachery when you and your brother slew an entire party of Ishgardian Knights?! The countless murders!"


"Justice demanded their heads and we were the instrument of deliverance."


"Justice? What justice?! Why did you do it?!"


"The seeds of corruption must be purged by fire and steel."


"You're not making any damn sense! Enough! You will now answer for your murders, Marcus Vale!"


Before long, more knights had arrived and Marcus was surrounded by dozens of spears.

Edited by Xydane Vale
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  • 2 weeks later...



There was finally snow on the ground and Xydane knew he was within Ishgardian borders. As a greave crunched down into the soft snow, Xydane paused momentarily and stared into the sky. Though the clouds did not yet blot out the sun, what remaining light shined upon the land. Xydane squinted as he stared up and as always, he wasn't able to feel the sun's warmth.


Exhaling deeply, Xydane continued onward until something off to his left stole his attention - gleaming brilliantly and calling to the knight like a moth to the flame. The sunlight was reflecting off the side of a mountain, covered in pure ice which dazzled and seemed to dance with such marvelous shine. Xydane inched closer and staring right back at him was a perfect reflection of himself...


... though it was not himself. A suit of armor forged by darkness and a helm which displayed malice. For a short pause, Xydane continued to look at his reflection until he finally removed his helm, letting loose his hair to be caressed by the gentle breeze and steel colored eyes that showed fatigue. Deep down inside, Xydane wanted to laugh a little but in his mind, he knew he couldn't bring up the emotion to. As he blinked, another reflection appeared to his right - smaller in stature and much happier.


It was the reflection of a 10 year old Xydane.




In a distant land, far away...


In what was a lifetime ago...


It was another normal midday afternoon when little Rosette led Xydane, both 10 years of age, down the alleyway in town. Sprinting as fast as she could, Rosette was literally dragging Xydane by his wrist as the poor boy struggled to keep up.


"Hurry, Xydane! They're right here! They're going to hurt him!"


"Alright, already! Just quit pulling my wrist!"


Coming to a sudden halt, Rosette pointed at the three older kids who had surrounded a much younger lad with tears flowing down his cheeks. One of the bullies turned and tried his best to daunt the two newcomers.


"Unless you want to get beat up too, you both better leave!"


The second bully, holding the poor boy by the collar of his shirt, started to aggressively shake him. "Yeah, this is none of your business! Bug off!"


With both hands on her hips, Rosette stepped forward and pointed at the biggest bully. "You let him go or else you all will be in big trouble!"


"Trouble, eh?" responded the biggest bully who reached down to grab a pebble. "How about this for trouble!?" The bully hurled the stone which impacted with Rosette's forehead and the group of oppressors laughed as she fell onto her behind and started to cry. Xydane, coming to a full sprint, charged at the largest ruffian and threw him a well aimed punch at his face. As the bully leader was knocked onto his back, Xydane launched himself onto the bully and began connecting his punches to the kid's face.


The other ruffians, releasing their hold onto the bullied kid, turned their attention towards Xydane and dragged him off their downed leader. Trying his best to fight back against the other two bullies, Xydane was pinned down and forced to take the oncoming punches and kicks. Bloodied and bruised, Xydane spat onto the face of one of the assailants and before he could punch Xydane once more, a voice called out from the alleyway entrance.


Marcus, 11 years of age, charged at the two that held his brother onto the ground and proceeded to connect his own strikes.





Later that day, Rose stood in front of the Vale household where she knocked loudly on the door. "Mrs. Vale? Mrs. Valeeeeeee? Mistah Vale?" Loudly, she continued to knock until a women of mid age, with brown hair tied into a ponytail, and a smile that was gentle, answered. As quickly as she opened the door, Amelia Vale's smile disappeared as her face grew into an expression of worry and shock.


Standing in front of the house and behind Rosette were Marcus and Xydane, both bruised and bloodied. Amelia frowned and finally noticed Rosette's bruised forehead from the flying pebble. "What happened? Did you two get into a fight again?" Rosette, tugging onto Amelia's apron, pointed back at the brothers and said "There was a kid getting bullied and we went to go help him!"


Amelia sighed, gesturing for the children to enter the house. A moment later, Rosette was humming and kicking her legs to and fro as Kraven Vale patched her forehead. "Rosette, after this, Mrs. Vale will walk you home and tell your parents what happened. You can hang out with Xydane and Marcus tomorrow, okay?"


"Okay!" responded Rosette, expressing not a care in the world except for the big smile she always showed. The well muscular man turned his attention towards Xydane and Marcus, whom Amelia was currently placing bandages and ointment. Kraven frowned and shook his head with disapproval. "Alright, who threw the first punch?"


"They threw a rock at Rose and was beating up the little kid so I went in and punched them!" said Xydane, still missing a few of his front teeth from the fight. Marcus turned to his father and proceeded to continue his little brother's story. "I came late and Xydane was getting beat up. I had to help him so I beat up the rest of the bullies!"


Kraven raised his brow skeptically and looked to Amelia who shook her head and slightly laughed. "Kraven, you know it's always bullies when these two get into fights. Surely you can see their reason? They just wanted to be heroes." Kraven crossed his arms and frowned at his sons. "Marcus. Xydane. I'm not angry but the both of you have to understand that sometimes, you can't fight against all the bullies in the world."


Marcus frowned and looked at Xydane who shrugged. "How come, father?"


"Well sometimes, there's just too many bullies out there and... there's only two of you. Though what you did was morally right and I am proud of you two for standing up for that kid, you just can't expect to go running around everywhere and fighting every bully you meet. There will always be bullies and we're actually quite powerless to stop that."


Marcus and Xydane, with a hint of confusion on their faces, quickly looked to their mother before returning their attention back to their father. Throwing an acknowledging nod to his sibling, Marcus stood up and raised a fist into the air.


"Then when we grow up, we will travel the world and be powerful enough to stop all bullies!"


Kraven blinked in astonishment at Marcus's motivation and he couldn't help but smile at the words.




Opening his eyes, Xydane realized that he had drifted into daydream and returned to reality. The reflection of his younger self was gone and Xydane felt sadness surged inside him from the memory.


"How did I forget?"


"You never did."


On the ice reflection, standing to Xydane's right, was a horrendous black and crimson knight.

Edited by Xydane Vale
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The entire journey was planned from the beginning in order to capture Marcus Vale when his guard was lowered. The injured House Durendaire knights at the estate of House Kalgaren was all just but an act and Falorgeant felt a deep sense of guilt when he and Clarielle were forced to manipulate Lord Viarre Kalgaren.


What's worst was that Ishgard had accused Marcus and his brother for heresy and Falorgeant was ordered to lead the capture. Personally, he knew there was more to the story behind the Vale Brother's slayings and strange behavior but what aggravated him was that he couldn't figure out what. He had an idea but though it seemed too preposterous, the details connected.


Throughout the journey back to Ishgard, Falorgeant held his head low. Clarielle looked to him with worry and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.


"What bothers you?"


Falorgeant shook his head. "Marcus is captured and I am surprised that everything went without bloodshed but it still seems that there is much more to this. Whether we discover this at his trial or not, the thought is currently a needle in the back of my neck."


Clarielle gave a small smile of empathy. "We accomplished what we were set out to do. Let's worry about this when the time comes."


While the dragoons talked at the rear of the march, Marcus's expression had not changed. The knight's face was calm yet his eyes seemed to burn with fury. He had remained silent since his capture and his wrists and feet were in shackles. His halberd and sword had been taken away by the other Ishgardian knights including his helm.




Nightfall would had descended by the time the group reached Ishgard. The temperature was decreasing and the wind picked up it's pace only so slightly. The moment they entered the city and arrived at The Arc of the Humble, Lord Viarre Kalgaren was already standing there with another party of House Kalgaren and House Durendaire knights. The old elezen trembled with rage when he saw Marcus in chains.


"What is the meaning of this?! Marcus, what did you?!"


Marcus continued to remain silent.


"Ser Falorgeant? Ser Clarielle? Explain this madness at once! Why did Ishgard condemn my knights to heresy? They did not commit such things!"


Falorgeant stepped forward, waving Clarielle and the rest of the party to move on ahead as he tried to calm Lord Viarre.


"Ishgard is under suspicion that Marcus and his brother are responsible for numerous deaths and killings of Ishgard's own. For that, they have branded the brothers as possible heretics. We will see what comes of Marcus when the trial begins. Ishgard now awaits for Xydane's return to conduct his arrest. I am sorry, Lord Viarre. This is the task that has been bestowed upon me."


Lord Viarre's hands trembled and he came within inches of Falorgeant's face.


"These are my only remaining sons left. I do not have anyone else left. After all we have done - no, after all those two have done for Ishgard, this is how they are thanked? Their loyalty was without question and it turns to treason and heresy?"


Before Falorgeant could respond, a group of Temple Knights rushed to meet him and Lord Viarre.


"Ishgard is under attack! The heretics have broken through! To arms!"


Before long, the city came to torch and the screaming and shouting filled the streets.





The feeling of uneasiness did not sit quite well with Xydane. As the knight continued to the path that would lead him to the Gates of Judgment, the winds seemed to change direction. Xydane stopped, feeling the slight breeze following the silence of the woods at night.


Something felt wrong.


Picking up his pace, it was not before long when Xydane found himself in an all out sprint down the road. He came to a sudden halt when he saw Ishgard beyond the distance. The city had a glowing hue of red and Xydane cursed. Unsheathing his sword, Xydane ran towards Ishgard while the city burned afar.

Edited by Xydane Vale
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Flames erupted and consumed Ishgard as the heretics laid siege to The Holy See. The head of House Kalgaren watched in anguish as he took a quick moment to study the chaos in front of him.


"Madness! Has the world gone mad so damn quick?!" shouted Lord Viarre as he pointed to the fleeing citizens, ordering both Kalgaren and Durendaire guards to escort them and secure the area. From city steps to The Brume, all of Ishgard became a battlefield as heretics, armed to the teeth, clashed with Ishgardian knights and adventurers alike. Already, dragoons Falorgeant and Clarielle joined the fray, striking back at the enemy with their spears in hopes to help turn the tide of battle.


The swinging of swords, the blocking of shields, the screams of the dying, and the melody of war filled the northern night sky. The embers rose into the air, bringing the all familiar stench of scorching wood from the torched buildings and burning flesh from those charred to death.


Marcus, still imprisoned in shackles, fell onto his side and howled violently at all those present. "Will someone free me?! Someone give me my damn sword! Free me at once!" Marcus's eyes seethed with growing fury as he continued to shout and watch the battle like a helpless infant. The thought infuriated him even more and thus he continued with his insults and threats which fell onto deaf ears.


Meanwhile Falorgeant lifted his spear and shifted his weight on his feet as he blocked the cleave from the axe of a heretic. The heretic snarled, pressing his weapon onto the dragoon's spear in hopes of shattering Falorgeant's guard. The dragoon countered, forcing the heretic to loose his balance and it was then that Falorgeant plunged his spear into the chest of his enemy, killing him quickly.




Reaching the Gates of Judgement, Xydane fought with brutality as he forced his way inside the city.


'Damn it! Damn it! DAMN IT!' he thought to himself as his mind raced faster than his running. 'Where is Marcus?! Where is Lord Viarre?! I need to find them!'


Xydane's fear and anger increased drastically as he thrust his sword into the back of a heretic, grabbing him by his helm, and pulling him onto the ground. Running over the slain elezen's body, Xydane raced towards The Arc of the Worthy. Like an illusion, time slowed with each step and Xydane looked in horror at the many corpses which had already decorated Ishgard. It is the cruelties of war.


"You will all pay..."


As Xydane's conscious returned to full speed, the knight charged a duo of heretics and wielding his sword high, he swung the blade.


"... for stepping foot into my city!"




Across the courtyard, Clarielle was engaging the enemies herself. Littered all around her were the bodies of Temple Knights and heretics. As Clarielle was pinned with her back against the wall by a combatant, Falorgeant took the heretic's lowered guard as an opportunity to spear him and toss his body aside.


"We need to get as much people to safety as we can! Clarielle, start clearing these buildings!"


"The enemy's numbers are too great! Try to hold them off!"


As Clarielle turned away to commence her search, Falorgeant ran the opposite direction to where Lord Viarre and his men were fighting. Viarre Kalgaren, despite his age, fought back against the heretics with seasoned skill. As he finished off an heretic, Falorgeant ran to him and pointed at the burning homes. The dragoon's helm has long been removed and his expression resolute.


"Lord Viarre! We need more men to search the homes!"


Lord Viarre, fighting to catch his breath, barked orders to his men to aid Clarielle. As he followed them from behind, he stopped and turned to look at Falorgeant with worry and shock.


"Falorgeant? Where is Marcus?!"


Falorgeant spat onto the ground and cursed. "Damn! We need him in this battle! I'll set him free!"


While Falorgeant turned away, Lord Viarre watched helplessly as three arrows plunged into the dragoon's chest plate.


"NO!" shouted the old elezen as he watched Falorgeant rush awkwardly towards Marcus and collapsing onto his knees in front of the chained knight. The dragoon spat out a mouthful of blood and his bangs hung over his face. Dropping his spear onto the cobblestone ground, Falorgeant stared in trauma at his blood covered gauntlets. With his hands trembling, Falorgeant reached for the key that would unbind Marcus from his shackles. Marcus, eyes widen, stared at the dragoon with disbelief.


"You fool! You're bleeding out!"


In the distance, Lord Viarre's attempt to run towards the dragoon and his knight were cut off from more advancing enemies. "Ser Falorgeant! Marcus!" shouted Lord Viarre as he parried the continuous strikes. Falorgeant grinned, blood trickling down his lips as he stared at Marcus with blurred eyes.


"When I heard rumors of the Vale Brothers, I had yearned to one day fight alongside the both of you. You see, I had always believed that you two were among the few in this world that would die before they see it destroyed."


Falorgeant stopped mid-speech, coughing out another mouthful of crimson as Marcus watched in a blend of agony and uncertainty.


"Ishgard... wanted to bring you to justice. Though I am still against the order, it unfortunately became my duty. I never wanted to carry out the arrest. Show me, Marcus... show me that I was wrong... and that you are still what I always believed you to be. Justice."


Holding the key weakly, Falorgeant finally freed Marcus from his chains. Instead of rising onto his feet, Marcus grabbed Falorgeant and sat him upright.




Falorgeant, still clinging onto life, watched as Marcus laid him onto the cobblestone and rose. Marcus clenched his teeth, his eyes scanning wildly for his weapons and the heretic bowman who made the shot. Seeing his halberd, sword, and prey, Marcus ran to the dead Ishgardian knight who took his weapons, and reached for his halberd. Aiming the weapon at the bowman with one hand, Marcus hurled the halberd which plunged into his target in a bloodied heap.


Now with both hands gripped onto the hilt of his sword, Marcus charged fourth at the enemy, delivering his hate and furor with each hit and killing blow.


"I will bleed every single last one of you!"




Watching the scene unfold, Xydane shifted his eyes towards Clarielle screaming with fear as she raced to the critically injured Falorgeant. Seeing Marcus already dealing with the enemy, Xydane turned to Lord Viarre and ran to his aid.


The head of House Kalgaren was quickly being outnumbered but Xydane evened the odds. Fighting back to back with the old elezen, Xydane and Lord Viarre made quick work of the surrounding enemy.


"Xydane! You've returned!"


"My lord, you need to help Clarielle see to Falorgeant. Marcus and I will hold these bastards off!"


Nodding at Xydane, Lord Viarre only ran a few feet away before Xydane held out his hands in front of elezen and grinned.


Fate was always unkind.


Blood trickled down his smile as an arrow was plunged through his body. After realizing what Xydane had done, Lord Viarre's eyes widen and he quickly held onto the younger Vale before he could collapse.


"No! Xydane, why!?"


Xydane continued to grin and turned to his brother who had saw everything.


"I've let too many people die, my lord. It's about time... I save someone else."


Xydane lifted his head, watching the embers ascend as they reminded him of descending snow. Despite the chaos, though the thought was different, it strangely relaxed him. Marcus roared as he decapitated his foe and ran to his brother's aid.


Marcus feel onto his knees, his eyes shaking as he helped his younger brother sit upright. Lord Viarre watched the two with sorrow as he reached for the tip of the arrow that had pierced completely through Xydane's chest plate.


"Marcus, hold him. I'm tearing out the arrow."


The breaking of the tip forced Xydane to grunt and Marcus held a hand out.


"No, my lord. Let me tear it out. He's... my brother."


Acknowledging Marcus, Lord Viarre held the injured knight steady as his brother pulled the arrow from his chest. Blood began to quickly spill from the injury and Marcus was hit with panic.


"I need to stop the bleeding. No, no, no. We need to stop the bleeding or my brother will die!"


Lord Viarre turned his head towards his approaching knights and roared desperate orders.


"Someone get my knight help! You two, save the dragoon! For the mercy of Halone, hurry!"


Xydane's hands trembled as he cuffed his gauntlets onto his wound which continued to ooze past his fingers. Xydane smiled and turned to his brother.


"Hey, it's alright. I-I finally saved someone."


Marcus rose and began to quickly pace back and fourth as his brother slowly bled to death in front of him. Again, all he could do was watched helplessly. Throwing his sword onto the cobblestone, Marcus placed his hands on his head and screamed.


"Not my brother! Everything was taken from us! Don't take my brother! What power is this if we can't even save ourselves?!"


It was in that moment that everyone present besides the brothers saw the red and black mist. Like smoke, it emerged from where Marcus stood and Xydane laid. The smoke gave form and Lord Viarre turned towards his knights and watched in disbelief.


Both dragoons - Falorgeant, held upright by Clarielle - also saw the unthinkable as the black mist gave form from the raging Marcus and his dying brother.


"Enough foolishness! Is this how weak you both truly are? Is this the weakness that I chose to bind myself to?"


The black smoke swirled and twisted as it began to solidify into shape. The tip of a wicked blade was the first thing to emerge from the dark cloud - the black steel glistening from the light of the surrounding flames. A greave stepped out and then a figure clad in armor of the blackest dark and crimson red came into existence. The armor's design was much like the brother's - twisted. The figure wore a helm who's eyes were but a glowing red through the visor. The helm itself had horns coming from the side and the jaw piece was shaped like a skeleton's lower jaw - the teeth sharp.


"You two are unworthy... thus now the final test begins."

Edited by Xydane Vale
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While Ishgard continued to burn and the battle waged onward, those in the courtyard continued to watch the unanticipated scene unfold.


Turning his attention to Marcus while brandishing his blade, the black armored knight spoke, his voice a loud and malicious tone.


"Chaos is now at it's peak. Anger, hate, sorrow, and fear have all finally come together. Those who dwell in the abyss will either control the darkness or be ultimately consumed by it. The unrelenting. The unceasing. The merciless... and the nightmare. I am everything you are. Tell me, Marcus, do you remember how the power of the abyss saved both your lives?"


The knight took a stepped forward, bringing a clawed gauntlet to his face and rolling it into a fist.


"After you two and the dragon fell into the canyons below Ishgard, there you both were, though triumphant with your kill, you laid broken and dying. But no, you two didn't want to die. You both refused to die. Everyone you cared for and loved met death only because Marcus and Xydane did not have enough strength to stop it. And then ironic as it was, you two were to succumb to the same fate. My soul crystals stopped that. I gave us power. I gave us strength. I granted us what you begged and with it, we carried on with destroying everything in our path under the power of the abyss. Yet now, we are defeated by a simple... mere... arrow!"


The black knight opened his fist, black mists began to emerge from his palms. Xydane began to cough loudly and looking at his wound, the seeping blood was now replaced by the same black mist.


"Rise, Xydane! This is not our fate!" roared the knight as he threw his fist down. Using his sword, the knight pointed at the brother's weapons. "Your weapons. Pick them up. We shall now see if you two are truly worthy of my power."


The moment Xydane and Marcus had already reached for their swords, the knight had already closed the distance within seconds. With his free hand, he grabbed onto Xydane's face and tossed him aside like a rag doll. His blade was pressed into a firm lock with Marcus' and before Marcus realized what had happened, the knight had already broken his sword's defense, kneed him in the stomach, and smashed his head with the hilt of his blade.




Lord Viarre couldn't believe what he had just saw. 'A being emerged from thin air within a few feet of the Vale Brothers only to save Xydane... in order to fight both brothers? What was this about power? What is going on?!' Viarre's head was filled with nothing but questions as he ran to Falorgeant and Clarielle. Clarielle's heart raced and her sadden features grew as she aided Falorgeant upright. Blood continued to trickle down the dragoon's lips and his face began to pale in color.


"It all makes sense now," said Falorgeant weakly as he turned to stare into Clarielle's eyes. "Everything that has happened... what they have done."


By this time, Viarre was already on his knees desperately trying to stop the dragoon's bleeding. After a moment, he stopped and realized the outcome as he and Clarielle sat in a pool of Falorgeant's own blood.


"Falorgeant, you must hold on! Help is on the way!"


The dragoon grinned and slowly lifted a finger to point at the fight that ensued in front of them.


"Dark Knights... is what they have become."


Lord Viarre felt both horror and disbelief at the dragoon's words.


"Why would they... no... I... I should have known."


"Falorgeant, please hold on. Don't talk anymore, you need to reserve your strength!" Clarielle's cheeks were covered in tears and she grabbed Falorgeant's right hand and placed it on her face.


"There... there is still good in them. Please, Clarielle... I don't want to see you cry anymore." Falorgeant smiled and slowly closed his eyes. The last thing he saw was the beautiful face of a woman that he had always dearly loved.


"Falorgeant? Falor-"


Viarre slowly closed his eyes as Clarielle brought Falorgeant closer to her heart and wept.




"I am what we desired to be! I am everything that we have ever felt incarnate! Come!"


Marcus recovered and engaged the Dark Knight in combat. The Dark Knight roared and brought his helm inches from Marcus as they locked blades. "I sense your anger! I feel your strength but it is not enough!" Marcus yelled defiantly and as he pressed his weight forward, Marcus broke the Dark Knight's defense and slashed him across his chest plate. The Dark Knight staggered back and held a clawed hand to feel the cut in the armor.


"Yes! This is true power! Our true power!"


The Dark Knight sprinted, elbowing Marcus in the stomach and knocking his sword away. Sensing Xydane charging behind him, the Dark Knight turned and blocked Xydane's aggressive blow, swiping him off his feet, and stomping on his chest, pinning him onto the ground.


Xydane spat out blood and the manifested rage grabbed him by his hair, lifting him into the air by his skull. "Unworthy to save anyone!" Marcus ran to his brother's aid but before he could attack, the Dark Knight had stabbed his blade into the older Vale's shoulder. "Argh!" The tip of the sword had pierced completely through Marcus' armor and the Dark Knight began dragging both brothers towards a burning building.


"Is this it?! Is this how weak we truly have become?!"


The Dark Knight roared furiously, throwing both brothers into the building as it continued to incinerate. Marcus was thrown into the window, shattering it to pieces as he crashed onto the floor. Xydane smashed the front door and the impact forced his body through the wood by sheer momentum.


The Dark Knight slowly stepped in, walking over fire as he approached the brothers.


"We were not strong enough to save our parents. We were not strong enough to save Rosette. Nor Sigmund. Nor Joellaut. Not even Viarre's own son! How can we master our enemies if we cannot even master ourselves?!"




Outside, the battle between the heretics and the Ishgardian knights had ceased. The heretics began to retreat and as Viarre rushed back to his men, a heretic ran pass them yelling "Lady Iceheart has returned to us! Retreat! Nidhogg is dead! Retreat!"


A knight of House Durendaire shot a puzzled look at Lord Viarre while he fought to catch his breath.


"Wait... what? Nidhogg is dead? Does that mean... the war is over? The war... the war is over!" While the knights began to cheer, Viarre returned his attention back to where the Vale Brothers and the Dark Knight were. Seeing that they had disappeared, Viarre scanned the area, desperate to find his knights.


"Three of you will come with me! The rest of you, tend to the wounded and someone go to the dragoons!"


The commotion inside one of the buildings finally caught Viarre's eye. Inside the building, he could see the fight remained between Marcus, Xydane, and the twisted black armored knight. The flames became bigger and the building slowly started to crumble.




The Dark Knight snarled, holding Marcus's sword in one hand and locking Xydane's blade with his own weapon. "Only by defeating me will prove that you two are worthy of mastering this power! What are you fools waiting for?!"


"Enough!" shouted Marcus as he sliced the Dark Knight's hand. "I've had enough of this!" Marcus pulled back and with all his might, he thrust the blade into the Dark Knight's chest. The Dark Knight's attempt to block the attack failed and when he moved his weapon to parry off the attack, Xydane saw the opening to land a blow on the Dark Knight as well.


"It is over!"


"This... this is what you wanted!"


The Dark Knight roared in defiance, dropping his sword as both brothers and their abyssal form was engulfed in black mist.




Xydane slowly opened his eyes. Marcus stood to his left and the brothers were in pitch darkness. They were in the abyss - the same abyss that called to them and the same abyss that tormented them. Walking casually towards Marcus and Xydane was their emotion and power embodied in physical form. The brother's fear, their hate, their rage, and their grief.


The Dark Knight stopped and turned his head sideways as though he was looking at something behind him.


"This is the thing you must remember. We cannot master our enemies if we cannot master ourselves. Interesting this outcome. Interesting the abyss. Come... we have much more to do."





The wooden pillars have already begun to give way to the flames. As Viarre and his men sought a desperate way to get inside the building, the amount of debris and the heat of the flames denied that wanting. Viarre and the knights screamed for the brothers but the roaring of the flames muted their shouts and pleas.


Both Marcus and Xydane sat weakly on chairs with a table dividing them both. Xydane leaned back on his chair, resting his head on a pillar as the fire continued to burn all around them. Marcus crossed his arms, his eyes closed and his features relaxed.


"Do you remember when we use to sneak over to the chocobo farm at night and ride the things until the farmer chased us away?"


For a moment, Marcus did not respond.


"I remember... I finally remember it all."


"And how we tried to sneak back into the house without waking up mother and father?"


Marcus grinned at the thought, his eyes still closed.


The flames had ate away at the wood and the roof started to cave in. The flames rose higher and as the building collapsed onto itself, black smoke ascended into the night sky.


"Yeah... I remember that too."


The brothers laughed as the flames and debris engulfed them.

Edited by Xydane Vale
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Another year has passed.


Ishgard's secrets are revealed and history changes as the Warrior of Light and Scions journey through.


Ser Aymeric of the Temple Knights now lead The Holy See.




The sun shined brilliantly, warming up the northern morning. Placing a bouquet of flowers on Falorgeant's memorial, Clarielle stood back up and smiled softly. Instead of armor, she wore simple clothing and a beautifully sewn coat of wool. The breeze caressed her hair slightly and Clarielle turned to where the wind blew. Closing her eyes, Clarielle drifted away to a distant thought, reminiscing of days long ago - days filled with nothing but joy and laughter with her beloved. A moment later, the laughter of a little girl brought her back to the real world.


Running up behind Clarielle, Edith held onto the dragoon's hand and waved it to and fro. Clarielle, startled at first, looked back down at the young elezen girl and smiled.


Edith, curious as one her age could be, looked at the memorial and pointed at it.


"Miss Clarielle, who is that?"


With the question asked, Clarielle returned her attention back to the memorial and smiled once more.


"Ah, he was a very good friend of mine. Someone dear to me."


Edith tilted her head and then looked at the bouquet of flowers with admiration. "Pretty."


Clarielle laughed lightly. "Aren't they? Come, Edith. Let's say hello to Ser Marcus."




Later on the day, the two had finally arrived at their destination, Edith looked at Clarielle with a questioning expression.


"Go on," smiled Clarielle. "Go say hello and don't forget to bring him the flowers."


Edith smiled widely, grabbing the bouquet of red and azure flowers from Clarielle. Clarielle then watched as the little girl ran up the hill to a view that displayed the beauty of the Coerthas landscape.


"Hello, Ser Marcus! I hope you have been well!"


In front of Edith was a memorial. Placed into the ground in front of the memorial, though covered in a bit of snow, was Marcus' halberd - the blade cleaned, shining from the sun's light. These were Ishgardian weapons - not weapons of darkness. Next to the halberd was also a familiar object that Clarielle had seen long ago - Xydane's old sword. The weapon itself shared the same shimmering appearance as the halberd.


Marcus Vale. Xydane Vale.


As boys, they came to us seeking sanctuary. As knights, Halone has guided them back home.


Behind the Vale Brother's memorial were three others - Lord Viarre's son Maulcrioux and his two adopted sons Sigmund and Joellaut. Clarielle's heart ached a little. She knew the five grew up together under the House of Kalgaren and she feel sympathy for Viarre when he had to create one last memorial.


Placing the bouquet of flowers under the brother's weapons, Edith walked around them and knelt down to hug their memorial.


"Pa says "Hello" too! We are living with that nice old knight now so I have a room with a lot of books!"


Edith laughed. "I wish you can read me to sleep again."


Clarielle couldn't help but smile once more at the girl's words. As another breeze blew past by, Clarielle knelt next to the little girl and patted her head. "Come, Edith. Your father awaits. Let us go home."


As they both rose back onto their feet, Edith turned and ran off but not before waving goodbye to the memorial. Clarielle followed slowly from behind and for one last time, she turned back to the weapons.


"You two take care."




Somewhere deep in the Black Shroud...


Of course, this was just another average day of work for Kepps Keppers. Exploring and bringing back what might be profitable artifacts was the lalafell's specialty. To him, it wasn't stealing since technically, the artifacts no longer belonged to any living person of that sort and they were better being sold than covered in cobwebs. Though small like any lalafell, he was quite nimble and fast on his feet. Finding a way pass the roots and boulders into the abandoned cathedral ruins was one thing but tripping on the amounts of cracks the roots have forced themselves out from the stone floor was another. It was rather quite annoying.


Kepps frowned, scurrying ahead with difficulty seeing the halls ahead with whatever light managed to break through from the tree tops.


"Is that... a door?"


Eyes widen like white gumballs, Kepps sprinted forward and upon reaching the moss and vine covered doors, he began to push. It took a moment before he was able to force open the doors - though barely and for someone of his size, squeezing through proved no difficulty at all.


Making his way inside, Kepps realized that he had made his way into the main cathedral hall. Rows of vine and vegetation covered seats decorated the sides and in front of the seats was the missing half of what seemed to be a stature of some nature. Keeps shrugged, walking casually ahead as he began to look for anything useful.


"Now there has to be something around here. I can fee- wait a minute."


Kepps froze in his tracks. Slowly looking at the ground in front of him and then kneeling down, Kepps inspected what looked like a small puddle in front of him.


"Last I checked, water doesn't stick to your boots!"


Drops impacted the puddle and Kepps froze once more. Drops from above. With goosebumps going up his spine, Kepps slowly looked up...


... and the face of Taurus stared right back. Clinging onto the ceiling, the voidsent released it's hold and crashed onto the ground behind the lalafell. Kepps screamed, realizing that the creature had blocked the exit. Cowering back towards the statue, Kepp's forehead began to pour with sweat as the Taurus' beady eyes focused on him.


"I'm done for," cried out Kepps. "This is not how I wanted it to end!" Screaming at the top of his lungs like a little girl as the Taurus charged, Kepps closed his eyes and placed his hands in front of his face.

Nothing happened.

Wait, nothing happened. Still shaking uncontrollably with fear, Kepps peeked a single eye and then stared in disbelief with both eyes wide opened.


Standing in front of him was a knight - black and crimson in armor - who's massive sword ceased the Taurus in it's tracks. Kepp's mysterious savior swung his blade back, hurling the Taurus to the wall - it's crash full of dust and debris.


Seeing the golden opportunity for escape, Kepps screamed and darted out of the cathedral main hall.




Edited by Xydane Vale
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  • Xydane Vale changed the title to Part III: The Vale Brothers

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