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Paladin's Quest

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Scene 1: A dark and stormy knight

 

He was a dark knight.

Not a single mote of light shined in his soul, blackened in the pores by his words and deeds, such as he feared nothing could ever erase. And still he felt he had to try, to combat the evil he felt pulsed in his body and in the world around him. With his motley crew of friends the dark knight struck back at the country that raised him, the mighty Baron.

And Baron crushed them. Took the crystals, devastated nations and lives. Took from him his friends, his future and the woman he loved, Rosa. Now he lay sprawled on a stretch of sand, half-drowned, fully demoralized. He shook violently for a moment, grasping his helmet off his head and hurling it far ahead of him. It tumbled and bounced over and over until it finally landed.

That's how Cecil felt. Tossed around by fate to finally collapse, never to rise again. His friends were gone; where, he knew naught. For many a long moment he was as the helm; immovable, sand caked in his hair, the hair his beloved Rosa loved so much. She'd mentioned that it appeared as moonlight, so bright and white. He thought it a genetic aberration, but she thought it a sign that he was special.

Rosa. He had to keep going for her. She deserved that. With his hands, the dark knight pushed himself to his knees. Then he bent over, face twisted in pain. Clean. Clear. Excruciating. A hand shot to his side and came away with blood. He was injured; how had he not noticed that before? Then it flooded him, as the waves once had. Leviathan, Lord of All Waters had disrupted his and his team's journey to rescue the stolen Rosa.

His head lifted swiftly. "Edward?" Eyes scanned the beach desperately. "Rydia!" Back and forth they appraised every single mound of sand, every piece of shattered lumber. "Yang!"

"I'm...alone." 

Slumping back down, Cecil pounded the sand with his fist, making his helm leap a little. They'd all been lost. In trying to protect people and redeem his rotten soul he'd only plunged it further into evil by his ill-minded decisions and stained past connections. He'd sustained the wound to his ribs by trying to protect Edward as Leviathan attacked. He couldn't even do that...

Shaking his head, Cecil picked up his helm, shoved it under an arm and stood. Each step he took left a bloody footprint in the sand. Pain racked his body, but on and on he walked, steadying his step with his sword. Encased in armour as black as obsidian, wielding a sword of likewise colour, it was all a strange contrast to his hair and blue eyes.

Those eyes squinted as they peered over the horizon, and a breath of relief passed from his lips as they caught sight of a large town some distance away. Heartened by this, Cecil hurried on, passing over the sand and onto the fields of grass. If he could just manage to enter and find an infirmary the dark knight could possibly barter medical aide with the few gold coins he'd not lost on his misbegotten journey.

Closer and closer it came and with it came familiarity. Not surprising as the Lord Captain of the Red Wings he explored much of the Blue Planet. Baron was loved by some and hated by others, but she was known to all. Perhaps he had allies still in whatever town this was. Perhaps he could buy mercenaries, supplies and another ship, to continue with his mission to bring back Rosa.

As long as he didn't find himself a place like Mysidia. A thin smile passed his lips at that thought.

Letting out a thin gasp, Cecil stumbled down into the grass, vision greying at the edges. The pain was spreading out from his ribs and into his chest. He wasn't dying he knew; not right now, any ways. But without proper attention he could develop severe complications. When the grey threatened to claim all his sight, his mind flew back to a memory.

Him and Rosa sitting on his bed, him holding her. Flames danced in his hearth, warming them both. How calm she looked as she told him she loved him. How his own eyes shifted as he repeated the words back to her. It was the first time they'd said it. Cecil was stunned to learn that she felt that way for him, considering her deep relationship with Kain. But that was over now, and Cecil had longed for her for a while, and he had no intentions on losing her as the dragoon had.

Dragging himself to his feet, Cecil continued on, managing to stumble onto the sign of the town, helm and sword dropping to the grass. Vines overrun the sign, concealing the name. His arms hung over the side, Cecil allowed himself a brief rest. His eyes closed. Ever since his decision to turn on Baron disaster after disaster had found him. Now he was the lowest of the low, bereft of almost everything. But so long as he breathed, he owed it to Rosa and every free person on the Blue Planet to fight on.

He pushed off the sign, a hand scattering the vines. His heart caught in his throat at what he saw.

"Welcome to Mysidia."