They had been knights who rode the wind. Now, wingless, they walked a landscape more alien than Mushroom Rock: Eternal Calm.
Sin was gone. There were still troops to train, patrols to command, politics to despise. But by the time Clasko went north to breed new chocobos, Al Bhed machina had replaced birds on the Highroad. Knights, like summoners, were an obsolete tradition.
There were still fiends to clear, but nights were free of Sin's terror.
There was a possibility of old age.
Of slowing down.
Lucil faced it, the first time she removed Elma's headband to find silver strands in the black. Chocobo's feet fanned the corners of the younger woman's eyes.
"We should pay Clasko a visit," Lucil said. "Borrow birds. There must be fiends wanting our attention in the Calm Lands."
Elma grinned. "Sounds fun. Fed up with Yaibal's new operation, eh?"
"It's not that."
That had no name.
It was why Lucil savored their lovemaking, slowed the pace, made each caress a lingering journey instead of lightning strokes.
Why she held the younger woman long after their sweat had cooled, watching her face as she dozed.
Why she dreamed of the wind in Elma's hair.