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Why We Fight [Closed]

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The dim lighting of the waiting room of the Tribunal in which he had been placed gave Reinhold little to focus on as he awaited what was most likely the last moments of his life. It seemed almost perfect for one about to have their fate decided by a single trial by combat. Not one to give into pacing, he moved over to a bench that rested against the wall across from the door and carefully sat, adjusting his blade slightly so as not to get caught on anything. Was this truly how he was going to let it all end? Well why not, he thought to himself as he sat there, Surely I deserve it more than most. The things I have done cannot be forgiven. A sigh escaped him as he tried to remember when things first started him down this path. Was it really only two years ago? Fury take me, it seems so much longer, Reinhold pondered as he was vividly reminded of the bite of the frozen wind of the Coerthas Highlands. In retrospect he could now easily say that nothing that ever could be found is worth the price he and his were forced to pay.


Yet the nightmare was not complete just yet at that moment, he was only compelled to go along. The true horror is what came next. Memories of a lance being placed into his hands flooded his mind as he distinctly remembered how it first felt to have that intrusion in his mind. How if felt to sit there and be forced to watch as your body commits atrocity after atrocity. It made him sick to know that he had given in after a time, gave up the idea of his body ever fully being his again. For so long he had just made the most of what he could do in those rare moments when he was finally able to wrench control of his body back. Trips home to Ishgard to check on his family, setting up the account so they would not have to want for food or coin. The true turmoil did not come until the company he was forced to create attempted to remove the Pathfinders from ever being a problem.


At the time it seemed simple enough, it was a process they had already done several times. The plan was to absorb as many smaller free companies as they could before turning their eyes to the larger ones and then finally the Grand Companies themselves. No one could have guessed how much trouble this single company could create. Things seemed to have been going so well when they abducted that Limsan from the company, and he had proved quite useful. It was sort of ironic, but he was glad that Eddard was able to fight against the power they had created. He was even more so when the collected Pathfinders forced him to retreat. From then on moons passed by with more moments of control than ever before.

It had been too good to last. I should of know it would want to eventually retaliate. Especially after the break in, he remembered as his thoughts turned to the events that finally led to him being free. When he heard someone had been inquiring after him in the Temple Knight’s headquarters he expected to come face to face with an armed enemy seeking to bring him down. Instead he was greeted with a nervous young woman he remembered from the Pathfinders. It honestly shouldn’t surprise me it took a fellow Ishgardian to break through that control. The Fury was on Madison’s side that night. Had I been like other Knights that trick wouldn’t have worked. He fondly remembered the point where he at once was able to finally able to begin to have hope, something he was more than grateful for.


I almost lost that too, his thought was regretful as he recalled not having been as careful as he should of been. It was the only way Austriox, Coventina, Osment, and Gilbraux could have found him. A shudder passed through him as he could almost still feel how it felt to lose control once more and have hope destroyed with it. Those four had figured the Pathfinders would try something, and they could not have been more right. They made the same mistake I did though and underestimated them. It was the truth, he not once could ever think of a moment he had been more glad that someone was able to hold their own against him. I honestly wanted that dragoon they had with them to end it. Every fiber of my mind that was my own wanted her lance to pierce me through the head and just end it, but no, instead she went for my wrist. It had seemed so odd to him at the time when all he could do was sit back and watch as his body was used to assault the Pathfinders relentlessly. I can still remember their faces as each attack was unleashed on them. Those two miqo’te took quite the beating, and that lalafell was quite determined. I still remember that feeling of regret once more when her spell didn’t just remove my hand. Even that one that kept using those odd spells… I just wanted them to end it, but they still persisted on trying to save me. Why?

He shook his head in the as he could start to hear the crowd outside the door now indicating that his time was nearing. I wish I could grasp onto some of that hope again. All I can feel is the horror I felt when I came to again. It was a trying moment for him as his emotions had spun in his head like a twister when Madison’s spell managed to crack the crystal on his lance. Hope had then flowed through him. It felt like feeling the first rays of the sun after a terrible storm, only to be replaced by the guilt and horror of what he had done, and was very nearly about to do. It was almost like a nightmare as he remembered his first moments of control greeting him with a vision of a battered Madison, and then only to see the condition of all her comrades. It was almost more than he could take. Yet it was enough to regain full control again. Fury take me the darkness fought hard to keep me from breaking that damned weapon. Yet when he finally managed to do so and was truly, truly free again he just couldn’t live with the guilt.


I had forsaken every oath I had taken as a Knight of the Holy See. I did not deserve the resolve they showed in trying to save me, nor to even remain in their presence once I was free. He still did not regret his decision to flee in the condition he had been in, nor to continue on to Dravania once those wounds had been tended to as best as he could manage. I needed to disappear. Yet when I heard Coventina was able to push on further than I could have thought possible, I knew it was time for me to return and pay for my crimes.


A rap on the door he had entered through brought him out of his reflection and made him realize it was almost time. Slowly he came to his feet and stepped closer to the door leading into the Tribunal room. I do not deserve the kindness that has been shown to me. Not by House Haillenarte, not by my own family, and most certainly not by one such as Lady Madison. I have caused them all too much grief and it is time for that to end. I just need to at least try and protect them from the damage I have done. Sighing once more he let the calm acceptance wash over as he readied for the door to be open. I truly hope Madison is able to use what I have told her, even if the healing of my wrist shall now go to waste.




Reinhold’s eyes came off the ground and stared forward as the wooden door before him was swung open. Everything seemed so distant, the podiums before him, the crowd, the Adjudicator’s, and the Dragoon who stood on the opposite side of the Tribunal from him. It didn’t take too much from him to guess who it was, there were just some things a teacher learns of his students. So it was Ser Dreofoix who would be challenging him this day. That did little of anything for him as he knew Dreofoix was superb with a lance and not going to give him an easy time of it. His own footsteps seemed loud as he moved into the hushed room, the metal clanking loudly against the stone, yet he imagined most just heard the sound of Dreofoix’s spurs.

He came to stop in front of his designated podium and turned to face the Adjudicators as he waited for the proceedings to continue. It didn’t take long as the High Adjudicator stood and stepped forward with a hand raised to ensure the room remained silent. "We are gathered here today, under the watchful gaze of the Fury, to ascertain the guilt of this individual in a trial by combat. Petitioner step forward!” the elezen cried out and Dreofoix answered by stepping to the podium in front of him, “Ser Dreofoix, for the benefit of those present, I would ask that you repeat the charges which you have leveled against this man.”


With a loud and booming voice Ser Dreofoix responded with a slight tinge of anger to his tone, “I, Ser Dreofoix de Hecont, of the Order of the Dragoon, did bear witness to Ser Reinhold’s admission of guilt of treason against the Holy See!”


A slight murmur swept through the crowd at the declarations of the charges as all eyes fell upon Reinhold while the High Adjudicator spoke, “Ser Reinhold Allemand, you have heard the charge leveled against you. Will you take up arms to refute Ser Dreofoix's claim and thereby prove your innocence in the eyes of the gods and men?”


His blue eyes focused on the Adjudicator as he sighed heavily before striding forward with a false sense of purpose. He knew he was most likely going to die on that floor as he was only doing this to try and remove the stain against his family and that of House Haillenarte. There was no doubt in his own mind that he was guilty, and he had come to accept that. "I, Ser Reinhold Allemand of House Haillenarte, am innocent of this charge and claim my right to trial by combat,” he declared loud enough for all to hear. The response to his own statement seemed more favorable than that of Dreofoix’s. Damn it why are people so forgiving? he thought angrily.


The High Adjudicator looked to those next to him who all nodded in agreement before he gave the signal to raise the arena. The ground shook as the mechanisms hidden under the floor went to work moving the sides apart so as to make room for the platform on which the two were to fight. The sound of the stone stopping in place echoed in the chamber as the walkway followed and the gate lowered allowing Reinhold and Dreofoix to enter the arena. Once more all that was heard were the clicks of spurs and the clanking of metal boots as the two moved solemnly to the center.


Reinhold felt this strange urge to look over his shoulder, he wasn’t sure what caused it but it felt like there was someone watching him intently. His head turned to give a quick look back and he immediately spotted Ebraux accompanied by the woman he was getting used to showing up at times like this. Yet the sight of Madison and his manservant served to remind him of why he did this and so he gave them a determined nod before resuming his walk to face Dreofoix. Once he stood in the center for all to see he finally faced Dreofoix with a calculating look.


“O Halone, render unto us your judgement! Raise up the righteous and cast down the wicked!” cried the High Adjudicator signalling the start of the trial.


As Reinhold drew his blade and readied his rose emblazoned shield he watched as the dragoon before him readied his lance. A smile tugged at his lips as the same fault he had worked so hard with the man to erase was still evident. "I see you still keep your guard too low Dreofoix, and here I thought you would have finally learned better by now," he stated with a disapproving tone, though his words were just talk as he wondered how he was going to block anything with his wrist the way it was.


“I will not listen to such talk coming from one who will not respect our order enough to at least use a lance in a matter as important as this,” Dreofoix sneered in contempt as he quickly moved to spring forward at Reinhold with a massive lunge of his lance aimed at the man’s chest.


The move was obvious to Reinhold as he dug in his heels and brought his shield to the ready, the head of lance glancing off the shield with a ring as he moved to step in closer to the dragoon. His sword arced over heard and glinted in the light as he moved to swing at the man’s unguarded shoulder, but the blade met air as Dreofoix took several steps back. He could feel the tension in the air as he began to circle the arena at the same time as his opponent, neither say a word or making a move. It was a stalemate for a few moments until he saw a flash and the dragoon vanished from his vision. Too many years of training told him exactly what had happened and his gaze immediately shot upwards to see Dreofoix plummeting to the ground right above him.


Thousands of thoughts flew through his head as he did the only thing he could in that situation and that was fall to a knee with shield raised to brace himself. The weapon was stopped by his readied shield, but the force of the blow was enough to send him flying to the side in a roll. Once more his experience was paying off as he quickly came to his feet and charged forward. He swung his whole body this time as his shield came in first to catch the dragoon off guard while his blade came around in a hidden uppercut. The move paid off as while Dreofoix avoided the shield he could feel his blade sink into the man’s armor and skin, even if just a bit. Yet this slight victory was short lived as an answering attack quickly followed, and one he couldn’t block in time.


The pain that shot through him as the lance impaled itself into his thigh was more than enough to throw him way off balance. The rageful flurry of attacks that followed meant to take advantage of the fact, the first of which slammed into his shield forcing him to give ground and then drop to a knee because of his injury. The rest came in so fast all he could do was attempt to parry and deflect which further rewards him with several more cuts and gashes as the lance wore him down. I should be more worried than I am. I should feel fear and know that my end must be on the horizon.. Yet that does not come... he thought to himself as he watched like a hawk for an opening.


There. A high aimed thrust came in with more emotion than discipline and Reinhold monopolized on it. As he moved every fiber of his body seemed to ring out as if someone was calling to him, the feeling of it only drove him further. Aether flowed through his veins as he resurrected every ounce of training and knowledge he had obtained as a dragoon, reinforcing his movements as his shield came in under the lance and knocked it away wide. There was no rage, no wrath, or vengeance in his movements; just cold calculated training as he continued forward. The onslaught was brutal as his sword came up at the dragoon slicing through the armor again with each, but it did not end there. Each step forward came a new swing of the sword and even those that did not manage to bite into the man’s flesh still rang out with a concussive force that kept him reeling. This went on only for a few more moments before Dreofoix finally gave and fell to the floor, his face showing signs that his consciousness was rapidly fading away.


The room was silent for several moments as the High Adjudicator finally stood once more and raised his voice, “The Fury has spoken! Ser Reinhold Allemand, you are hereby acquitted of all charges! Blessed are we who receive of Her Wisdom and see justice wrought by Her divine hand! Petitioner, Accused- Go forth in peace!”


A sense of relief and shock washed over Reinhold at once as the words finally began to register and the adrenaline faded from his system. Each of his wounds was painfully felt as he stood there breathing heavily, only to once more be forced to take a knee due to the worrisome wound in his thigh. It’s over… Halone knows I may be guilty, but somehow those around me are spared my disgrace, he thought to himself as he was aware of someone calling out once more to him. He shook his head with a silent chuckle as it came to him perhaps there was more he was still mean to do. Slowly he forced himself to his feet, struggling every bit of the way as he planted the tip of his sword into the ground for support and looked to the gate with a renewed sense of self. Well I guess it’s time for me to make amends.

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The crackling of the fire and smell of its fuel burning filled the sitting room that Reinhold had remained in since Madison’s departure with Ebraux. The passage of time meant nothing to him as he sat there staring into the dancing flames as his mind was elsewhere. Two years of committing sometimes unspeakable acts and now he was just supposed to be free of it, yet he didn’t know how to be. In the darkest corners of his mind those memories lingered to remind him that it had all been done with his hand. “As if that alone wasn’t enough,” he finally muttered to himself as he shook his head slowly. It was the truth, in addition to the nightmare that undoubtedly lay waiting for him when he closed his eyes there was also the now evident pang of loneliness.


He stood slowly and walked over to the fireplace with small and steady steps, still obvious lost in his own mind. Perhaps it was a mistake to offer Madison the hospitality of the estate… not that I didn’t enjoy her company, I just think I enjoyed it too much, he thought to himself as he stopped before the flames and crouched down close to the floor while reaching for a poker. The enjoyment of the evening was quickly replaced with the knowledge that she was with someone already, and that she will need to go back once more. The thought of being alone in the estate with just the servants and his ailing father made him cringe slightly as it quickly reminded him why he didn’t take the chance to retire from the Order before his disappearance.


The sound of the door to the sitting room opening broke his concentration as his head only just barely turned to see who interrupted his thoughts. As before the doorway was again filled with the figure of his elderly manservant who had just returned from taking Madison to the guest rooms. “I apologize for interrupting my lord, but I do believe it would probably be best if you turned in for the night as well,” Ebraux said in a concerned tone as he made eye contact with Reinhold.


He glanced back at the flames briefly as his now closer inspection gave away that the embers were started to die off. With a heavy sigh he nodded and carefully rose to stand up straight. “Perhaps you are right. Nothing can be accomplished by remaining here alone anyway,” he responded in a neutral and guarded tone.


The elezen looked at his charge with a curious expression at the tone but decided not to press just yet. Instead he stepped out of the way to make room for Reinhold to pass before following him out of the sitting room. The halls were all dimly let as they made their way to the private rooms of the estate. Stopping in front of a worn yet warm looking brown double door, Reinhold hesitated for a moment before pushing the doors open and walking into what was a small study. The man wasted no time as he moved to stand behind the desk and began to undo the various fasteners and belts of the coat he was wearing. While he did so Ebraux moved silently to stand next to the desk before speaking in a slightly worried tone, “You can’t keep going along like this my lord. Being as isolated and alone as you are, you just can’t do it alone forever.”


As the armored coat finally fell loose, he slipped out of it to reveal a black undershirt and then let it drop the the floor causing the chains and plates of the coat to give off a metallic clink. Once that was done he finally turned his gaze to Ebraux with an expression that was a mix of pain, anguish, and anger before almost growling a response, “I thought we agreed we weren’t going to talk about this Ebraux. I’m tired of father and you trying to meddle in my life, especially my love life. Or have you forgotten what happened the last time you tried to interfere? Just drop it, alright. I am used to being alone, and perhaps it is better that way.”


It was now Ebraux’s turn to give a heated response as his own composure started to slip, “How can I stand by and let you do this to yourself? You are doing nothing but torturing yourself day in and day out over decisions you didn’t have a say in. I cannot ignore what I saw today. I saw you actually happy for once. Content to share the company of another, and a fine lady on top of it all. Why can’t you just take a chance for once? Were you not present in that room? All I was able to do was listen from the other side of the door and I can tell you whether she knows it or not, deep down she fancies you. And well you were so obvious with your feelings that you might have been riding a dragon.”


“You speak of things that do not matter, not to mention I doubt very much that she feels that way about me. It doesn’t matter what I feel or think, there is nothing that can be done for it can never happen,” Reinhold replied in a less angered voice as it was obvious Ebraux was hitting the truth spot on. Still trying to put on a show he angrily unlatched his metal boots and let them go sprawling across the floor as he almost kicked them off, yet it wasn’t enough. He decided it was best if he tried to remove himself from the conversation and made for his room to finish changing. “Besides how do you know my feelings are not simply created by gratitude?” he asked as he looked at Ebraux’s expression of mixed emotions, “You simply cannot know my mind… and again it matters not anyway.”


Reinhold turned to step through the door to his bedroom and the second he took his eyes off his manservant he realized that had been a mistake. The man made a point to stand right in the doorway so the door could not be closed and interrupt what was being said. “I know your mind because I practically raised you my lord. If anything I am probably more of a father than Lord Nicolas. That is why I am able to know what you are feeling. You could always hide yourself from the world Reinhold, but you know better than to try that with me,” Ebraux stated giving the feeling that he was indeed now lecturing Reinhold as a parent would a child, “It is because of all of that, that I am able to notice that she has caught your eye in a way no other before her managed to do. The mere fact alone is why it matters, because you who have shunned all those around you for their failings and weaknesses of character, rightly so though, now have come across one who is able to put you at ease and make you smile.”


The chastisement from the old man caused him to avert his gaze and turn around completely. The next few minutes passed in complete silence as Reinhold managed to remove the chain pants and let them fall where he stood. Yet instead of then moving to retire he grabbed a pair of cloth pants and slid them on making it clear he was not going to let things end where they were. For his part Ebraux remained silent as well as he watched the effect his words had on his lord knowing these were things the man needed to hear. “You know quite well I a cannot refute what you have said… for a liar that would make me,” Reinhold muttered finally breaking the silence, “Yet there are still reasons why you and I both know it cannot be. While it may not matter to me, you know there would be those dead set on preventing a noble from courting a merchant’s daughter, not to mention the uproar it would cause should things go further. This does not even touch upon the more important reason of that she is with someone else.”


“You bring up to non issues,” came the servants response as he leaned against the doorframe, “We all know class would not matter to you, especially since she carries herself like a noblewoman. As for her other interests, I say it matters not still.”


“Has Halone finally struck you so hard that you have last your wits? Of course it matters!” Reinhold shot back as he finally turned to face Ebraux once more.


A knowing smile tugged at the man’s face as he continued to dispute the words Reinhold was saying, “No it does not.”


The lord swung his fist into the wall angrily, causing the wall to shudder and some of the wall to chip away. “You truly have lost it. I will not stoop to the level where I must put someone in a situation like that, let alone the Lady Madison,” he finally whispered in a low and dangerous tone.


“Stop acting like a child because you already have. I could see that much when I walked into the sitting room, and confirmed it when I escorted her the guest room. As I spoke of you I could see the conflict inside of her emotionally,” the older man informed Reinhold in a still very parental tone, “And despite everything she was dealing with, she still managed to think of you enough to ask me to make sure you were not left alone with your thoughts.”


Reinhold went cold at Ebraux’s words as they sunk in. Deep down, he knew the elezen was right, it was already too late to suddenly decide against putting her in that situation. His footsteps were slow and small as he made his way to stand next to his bed. Carefully he sat down on the edge of it before looking over at the one who considered his most trusted friend and advisor. Twelve help me, I am a fool, he thought as he stared at the wall in front of him.


“You should go to her my lord,” the elezen prodded once more as he tried to ease the tension in the room.


The lord was shaking his head slowly in response before actually trusting himself to speak, “I cannot… those things may not matter to you… but they matter to me…”


“I give up! You are a stubborn child and shall just have to get used to the fact that you will always be alone,” Ebraux almost shouted while throwing his hands into the air helplessly. With a stiff bow he turned to leave Reinhold alone, but was stopped by a voice.


“Are those really my only options Ebraux? Try and play my hand and risk driving her away or stay quiet and let the moment pass me by knowing the chance of this happening again at my age is beyond slim?” Reinhold questioned his manservant in a hurt and tired voice.


As Ebraux looked over his shoulder and offered a soft smile he responded in a gentle way, “Do not think of it like that… think of it as the greatest risk you will ever make. Succeed and all in life can be your… fail and you shall be miserable for eternity. I am not saying you will never meet someone like her again… but there is also no promise that there are others like her.” Not waiting for a response the manservant took his leave and left his lord at his bed to reflect on what had been said.




It was bells later that Reinhold found himself for some reason standing in front of the door that led to the guest rooms. He had no idea what he was doing there or what he hoped to accomplish, but Ebraux’s words weighed heavily on him. A sigh escaped his lips as he began to pace in the hall wondering what he should do. There is nothing I can do for now… I would not be able to bring myself to wake her… let alone for something like this. Yet even with that faint resolve he wasn’t able to bring himself to just leave. Why can I just not let this go? It would be better for everyone’s sake.


His turmoil went one for at least another half a bell and ended with him sitting on the floor before those doors with a look of acceptance. I guess I can’t just walk away from this. I may not be willing to go as far as others… it is still clear to me that I have to try. He got to his feet with ease before looking about the hall for something. It wasn’t much, but perhaps it would be a sign that he had been there, one that did not require her to wake. I guess knowing those over in Haillenarte is a bonus, there are roses everywhere and they give you plenty of ideas. He had plucked a rose from an vase that had been in the hall and slid the flower into the crack of the door in a way that it would stay there until the door was opened. I know not what is wrong with me that I chose to walk this path… but at the very least I know where to walk.

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