Same Sky
All Worlds Share the Same Sky…

Fire Emblem Piece – “Continue”

Here’s some of my writing back in my fanfiction days–not too shabby, if I do say so myself. This piece came from the bowels of the latter half of 2005. I honestly underestimated my own skills–I’m a better writer than I thought I was. Granted, I’ve no idea where I stand in the grand scheme of things…but better than I thought I was.

It’s actually an excerpt from a huge crossover I never finished, but I think this piece stands well enough on its own. Definitely one of the finest things I’ve ever written. I know the dialogue and such are a bit stilted, but it’s intentional–this is the medieval world of Fire Emblem, after all.

Enjoy:

~*~*~*~*~*

The scent of blood clung to every brick of the mighty castle of Pherae, and the fear of death tugged at every heart that served to protect the country from this abomination that threatened its safety. The purple warriors had struck mercilessly and without warning. It was as if they had appeared out of nowhere, and had quickly swept over the countryside of Pherae. If this mighty kingdom could fall within a single day, all of Lycia was doomed. The ravenous battles had been raging since morning and had lasted into the wee hours of the night. Souls grew weary, hearts grew heavy, and hopes grew dim.

Lords Roy and Marth had not returned, and it seemed that this otherworldly enemy was going to take advantage of that fact. Many had grown tired of the struggle, but Rebecca was unshaken and determined, to boot. Pherae would not fall—not while she was around.

Rebecca was strong-spirited woman who had helped Roy’s father, Lord Eliwood, save the land of Lycia years ago. After the conflict was over, she had become Eliwood’s most trusted retainer, and, with her childhood friend, Wil, she had started a family and had served Pherae as loyally as anyone could. Her son had even traveled with Lord Roy to vanquish evil a year before. The boy shared the same warm, sunshine-like smile of his mother. Rebecca, though coming of age, was still a fair wildflower with radiant jade eyes and locks of green hair that flowed out from beneath her red bandanna. Before the passing away of Roy’s father, Rebecca had been placed as one of Pherae’s leading generals.

Though she was a middle-aged woman now, Rebecca had just as much spirit in her as she had years ago when she had taken up the bow. Her skills in archery were unmatched throughout the kingdom, if not all of Lycia, but this ferocious feud was taking its toll on her as well as the entire kingdom. The enemy was relentless—they seemed to keep coming and coming, with no end in sight. Led by a titanic beast with horns and a shell of a spines, the opposing army (whose name wasn’t even known) crushed Pherae’s forces and had only the castle to conquer.

Legions of purple, faceless beings flooded the fields surrounding the fortress, swiftly devouring any resistance they came upon as if it were a midnight snack. The clouded beams of moonlight shone down upon the horrific battlefield. There was hardly any grass to be seen, as the land was littered with corpses, a speckled mass of red and purple.

Rebecca had played her role as a sniper, staying at the front of the castle on its roof, raining arrows down below with frightening accuracy. For hours she had been picking off the enemy one by one, even in the dark of night. However, fatigue was slowly creeping on her, and a towering monster was showing himself on the horizon.

She hadn’t heard a single breath’s worth of words for a good hour now, unless the screaming of dying warriors counted. These tenacious beasts weren’t the most clever, or the most powerful, but their supply seemed endless.

“General Rebecca!” The green-haired archer immediately spun around and took cover behind the sandbags she had set up as protection. He was thin but swift, and his eyes were always covered by the masses of light green hair that covered them. His face was wrinkled a bit, always in a solemn expression.

“Lowen!” Rebecca called out to the messy-haired knight. He saluted her firmly before speaking.

“Our forces at the gate are weakening. At this rate, they’ll breach our walls in a matter of minutes. What are your orders?”

“What of Marcus?”

Lowen’s already solemn demeanor turned even more dire. “General Marcus is dead.”

Rebecca frowned in contrite desperation at the loss. “My husband?”

“Wil and your son are on the front lines.”

“The front lines?!” Rebecca cried out, severely displeased. “He told me he would stay at a distance, where an archer belongs.”

“All of our forces are either defending the main gates or at the front lines.”

“Then I’ll have to get there myself,” Rebecca concluded. Damn you, Wil—your stubborn courage will be the death of me, she mused bitterly.

“Come, Lowen,” she called, grasping her bow in one arm, her arrow quiver slung over the opposite shoulder. She dashed into the tower she had been residing upon and sped down the winding stairs with great haste, the loyal knight in hot pursuit. When they came upon any stray soldiers, Rebecca would summon them to follow her. After a decent while of making her way through the castle, the main entrance grew near, her forces at a mere ten soldiers. Unfortunately, they came to discover that the main doors had already fallen, as the mysterious purple beasts were storming the halls like a flood, their numbers far greater than expected at the time.

“Give them no quarter!” Rebecca commanded in a roar, firing arrow upon arrow into the monsters.

“Follow me!” Lowen advised to Rebecca, covering her as they forced their way through the wave of wired beings. Rebecca would split heads mere meters from her face with arrows, while Lowen speared the foes from the sides. After slaying a good fifty of them or so, they had made their way through the front doors. These bizarre creatures fought with weapons unlike any they knew—strange purple blades of energy. It was supernatural to them, as was the goliath that was approaching their lands. He was an enormous and satanic animal unknown to the land of Pherae, but known to others as Giga Bowser.

The wave of beasts they had just overcome seemed to ignore them, continuing straight into the heart of the castle. The violent clashes of weapons never let down on their exit, and remained in their ears constantly.

“General, their forces are going to overtake us!” Lowen bellowed to her as she pressed onward, blood dripping down her leg from a gash she had received in the conflict. She pushed herself over dead bodies in what felt like the eye of the storm. The next wave was still a fair distance away, but coming upon them, nonetheless.

“We have no choice but to leave Pherae and seek help from Ostia!” Rebecca growled, holding back the winces she wished to let out. The men she had rallied earlier were no doubt dead by now, and if they weren’t, they would be soon, as none seemed to have made it out alive. Rebecca cursed her own tactical skills, feeling that their deaths could have been prevented somehow if she had approached the situation with greater care.

“Then we can only hope that they haven’t struck Ostia first,” Lowen grimly stated. “What are these beings?”

“I don’t know,” the aching archer replied, “But I’m not going to let them win. I’m going to destroy them, or die trying.”

As they passed over copious amounts of dead bodies, Lowen scooped up a fine sword and a barely used spear, and helped Rebecca replenish her arrow supply. Arrows flew over their heads, Pegasus Knights swooped down, attacked, and returned to the moonlit skies, while other knights were struck down by flaming arrows. Explosions rang out from the distance up ahead, but Rebecca nor Lowen could distinguish what they were—whether magical or physical. Shouts, screams, and the constant ringing of war in their ears did not leave them for an instant. They would rarely come upon a pocket of the brutal monsters they were against, but their combined efforts easily took any offenders down. Eventually, their travels eneded when they had happened to come upon two old friends.

“Rebecca!” squealed a pink-haired priest as she came rushing to aid the wounded warrior. Rebecca was astounded by the sight—it was Lady Serra from Ostia. She was about the same age as Rebecca, but more delicately framed and graceful in appearance. Her bright blue eyes and soft pink hair—two pigtails, just as she had many years ago—complimented her pure skin and gentle physique. She wore a pure, silk cloak with baggy sleeves, and carried a tall, heavenly staff.

“What…? What the hell are you doing here?” she demanded in shock as the powerful priest healed her wounds with a wave of her staff.

“Isn’t that a polite way to say thank you,” Serra snapped with a tinge of playfulness. “We were on our way to Pherae to warn Lord Roy and Lord Marth of the attacks we’ve suffered from these strange warriors…but it seems that we’re a little late. From what we can gather, both Ostia and Pherae are in grave danger…”

“We are powerless against these merciless vermin,” grunted Erk, a strong mage that had been with Serra. “I’ve devoted my entire life to magic, and yet, with all my knowledge, I can’t do a thing to stop them.” Erk was a slender man with bitter eyes of violet. He had a scraggly purple goatee, and his hair was untamed and crawled to his shoulders beneath the hood of his red cloak, which was littered with symbols and circles of all sorts. His face was just as rigid and sour as it ever was.

“We have saved lives,” Serra disagreed tartly.

“We haven’t saved anyone!” Erk bellowed angrily. “We are merely prolonging death. Don’t you see? All is lost—out efforts are futile.”

Serra glared at him with disgust. “What’s lost is your hope. When we are born, it is our fate to die. Preventing death is futile—is it futile to live?”

“Peace, you two!” Rebecca demanded. “All is not yet lost.”

“Is it?” Erk’s hostile tongue lashed out. “What do you suggest we do?”

“I don’t know what we can do,” Rebecca growled, marching through the bloody grass. “But I refuse to give up on my country, and I will not let my child die before I do…”

Serra and Erk waited a moment, watching the determined General struggle through the fields, and they saw the impending doom before them. Where there was not blood, there was fire. Where there was not fire, there was combat. Where there was not combat, there were corpses. They both knew, deep in their hearts that they were going to die today, and there was nothing they could do about it. With that weight upon them, they carried themselves on and pursued the unmatched sniper as she grew closer to her family. There was something strange about it—they were sure of death, but it was almost as if every inch they grew closer to their demise lifted strife from their souls.

It wasn’t long before they came upon what seemed to be the last main battalion of Pherae’s forces.

“Perhaps our Lords have already been slain,” theorized Isadora, a loyal knight with long, blue hair and a solemn face.

“Nay! Nay!” cried out Sain in disagreement, sweat dripping from his face. “Don’t speak such foolishness!” Sain was a clumsy warrior who rode on horseback. Through all these years, he had stayed relatively foolish, and his love for flirting remained undaunted. His cheery, brown eyes hadn’t changed a bit, though his green armor had evolved, and he had acquired a mighty shield. His face had aged, and his body had grown firmer, his olive hair a bit paler, but his eyes and his smile were just as childish as they had been twenty years ago. “Oh, dear Rebecca!” he shouted with excitement, pointing her out to his allies.

As Rebecca came jogging to the group, Sain immediately began, “Ah, the wildflower has shown herself. You wish to grace our efforts with your beauty–?”

“Not now, Sain!” Rebecca snapped furiously, not even giving him a glance. “Where’s my family?”

The dire, cut face of a strong man with slightly spiked hair of a reddish-brown tint emerged from the pack, bruises littering his body. He was muscular and medium build, wearing leather gauntlets and a brown jacket. He was a reliable, strong man whose eyes displayed a desire for justice.

“Rebecca?”

Rebecca ran up to Wil and was severely tempted to nail him in the jaw, but dismissed the idea and crushed him in a desperate hug. “You said you would stay at a distance…” she growled, half crying.

“They needed our aid up here,” Wil insisted.

“And no one told me!” Rebecca rejoined. She felt as if she’d somehow dishonored her fellow warriors, defending a fortress when everyone else was fighting head-on.

“What?” Sain yelped. “Ostia has already fallen?”

“Not quite,” Serra corrected as she tended to his injuries. “Don’t put words into my mouth. We were on our way to Pherae to check up on Lord Roy’s…illness…”

“However, a Pegasus Knight caught us this morning,” Erk informed. “She told us that Ostia was under siege and that we were to come aid Pherae as best we could.”

“It seems we’re a bit late to do any good,” Serra concluded with a somber tone as she went to Wil and began to mend his damages.

“You’re doing plenty good right now,” Sain assured, acting as the gentlemen he tried to be. “Your hopeful smile, your determined eyes…The presence of old friends such of you two is aid enough.”

Serra, who had dropped her snooty attitude like luggage when overcome by the situation, managed to smile at Sain’s comment, which, for once, had a genuine charm to it that struck a chord with everyone present.

“Are you saying that Ostia has already fallen to these forces?” demanded Wil, his heart sinking like a rock.

Erk’s shadowy eyes stared at the slowly advancing troops that came upon them.

“No. Ostia has not yet fallen to these disgusting monsters,” he assured with solid resolve. “But…It can be said that Pherae has not yet fallen, either.”

His icy cold answer was met with the echoing screams of battle for a moment of wordless reflection.

“May the Gods have mercy on our doomed souls,” Serra grimly entreated. The weight of her entire kingdom, as well as this one, all falling victim to such a swift defeat disheartened her. Her arrogance had been purified by death.

“Stop it!” Rebecca growled, her eyes wet, wild, and full of despair. “You’re talking as if we’re already dead!”

“We may as well be,” Erk groaned, readying himself for the onslaught to soon occur, the shadow of the titan turtle creeping ever closer.

“Maybe so,” Sain agreed, continuing vehemently, “But, nay! ‘Tis no excuse to shirk our duties. You may be a dead man walking, but I say, let them come hither! If we are destined to be slain, let us slay them back with the force of fifty men a piece.” Sain raised his gallant sword, and it glistened in the moonlight with an eerie twinkle of gritty courage.

“Indeed,” Lowen agreed, taking a stance beside his old companion.

As Rebecca watched her boy fire an arrow into a distant, faceless head, she wiped a tear from her face. He was only a boy—he still had so much before him in life…It was in that moment that she truly appreciated the efforts Lord Eliwood and his allies had taken to ensure that she had survived their trials all those years ago. She couldn’t have been much older than him at all, and Eliwood’s small army had nurtured her like family. Pained by the fact that she could not give her son what Lord Elliwood had given her–protection–she grimaced.

The pain of knowing her son would die here, today, in this manner…It was unbearable. There would be great hell to pay before his life was ever paid, she was sure of that.

“Perhaps there is a reason for this that we don’t yet understand,” Serra muttered, almost to herself, as if she was trying to convince herself of it. “Maybe we have sinned too greatly, or…–”

“They’re coming,” Wil announced to the group in the rear of the pack that had not yet noticed. He stared at his wife’s bewildered, hopeless eyes. He only wished he could see her bright, beaming smile one last time, but he was sure this would not come to pass. “Rebecca,” he cried, shaking her shoulders, snapping her to their reality. “Are you ready?”

Rebecca stared at him for a moment, water dripping down her dirtied cheeks. Without a single word, she lunged forth, squeezed her husband within her arms, and pressed her cold lips against his own, tributaries trickling down her face all the while. She managed to whisper out to him, and he replied with the same quiet, quivering tone.

“I love you, Wil.”

“I will always love you, Rebecca.”

As the two forced themselves up again, Serra felt her heart grow weak, and she spun around to Erk, who stared at the clear, starry sky, his expression an omen in and of itself. She darted to him, dropped her staff to the ground, and hugged him from the side, her head pressing into his chest.

“Tell you me you love me, Erk,” she pleaded desperately. “Tell me, and I won’t care what happens…”

Erk’s face turned as red as a tomato, but he couldn’t deny her wish. They had been planning to marry within the year, as Erk’s feelings for Serra were an unwelcome distraction to his studies, and Serra had somehow convinced him to move to Ostia and live with her. Even in a time like this, even with Death’s scythe about to reap them, Serra was still, undeniably, herself, and Erk was, undeniably, glad.

“I love you Serra…” he muttered. “I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.”

“Oh, and I love you, Erk!” Serra squealed, tears flying from her face. She had broken down, for sure. Erk knew she could put on the saintly attitude for only so long. She had changed, to be sure, but not that much. “…If we could only have one last night together, I would—”

Serra froze as Erk lifted her head lightly by the chin, drawing it a mere inch away from his own bruised face.

“You talk too much,” he concluded, kissing her fervently, their tongues entwining, as opposite as they may have been, becoming one.

Their bittersweet moment over, Erk grasped his staff tightly in his hand, and Serra scooped hers up from the grass.

“For Ostia, Pherae, Caelin…” Erk murmured, bowing his head in honor to the many lives of his land.

“For all weary and hopeless souls of Lycia!” Serra shouted. “We fight in your name!”

There was a unifying battle cry of resolute accord before the end began.

As the cavaliers charged headstrong into the throng of purple invaders, Rebecca’s family continued to pound them down with unrelenting force, their archery unequaled in strength, speed, and accuracy. They began to put distance between themselves, reducing their risks of being noticed and destroyed as easily.

Not long into the fighting, another familiar face made himself apparent, seeming to have crept upon them from behind like an assassin—which he was.

“General Rebecca!” he cried, jarring her from her mind. She spun around to see the grinning, bearded face of Matthew, a man who led the spy network of Ostia. His golden hair was as disheveled as could be, but it was hidden well beneath a black hood, and his scarred eye twinkled with a somber enthusiasm.

“Matthew…”

“It’s as they say,” Matthew chuckled in delirious amusement. “I didn’t believe it—Pherare falling in a single day. And yet, here you are, your castle breached. It seems you’ve been slacking while your Lords are away, hm?” Rebecca knew he was only being humorous, but she had no time for humor.

“Matthew, it’s good to see another old face, but I advise you to run. Take cover in the woods—with your stealth, they’d never find you.”

“Indeed,” the ninja-like man agreed, drawing his jagged blades from beneath his cloak with a flick of the wrists. “They’re as daft as bricks—very ravenous, but daft as bricks. I think I’d enjoy mocking their strength–and intelligence–far more than hiding. Until we meet again,” he gave her a sly wink, and she sighed before continuing her sniping. After a moment’s thought, she turned her head, beginning to call him, but he was nowhere to be seen.

“We shall meet again…” Rebecca muttered. In the afterlife…

The forces up ahead had already encountered the ferocious beast that was Giga Bowser. Drowned in flames, many of them were, by his fiery breath that scorched the landscape. The few Pegasus Knights that remained tossed javelins and spears at the godly monster to no avail, and Rebecca decided to take action against the fiend himself.

Using a few seconds’ worth of time, Rebecca took great care to ensure that her shot reached its mark, and she let her arrow fly. A couple moments later, it reached its designated destination: the brute’s left eye. He growled and rubbed at his eye irritably, the damage hardly noticeable, but Rebecca was sure that if she was to strike anywhere, his eye was the place to aim for. Arrow after arrow landed in his pupil, infuriating him to no end, until he recognized her as the assailant of his irritation. She had helped delay time for the others by distracting them, and she was about to pay for it.

The monster, ignoring the blades being inserted into his toes, summoned a mighty ball of flames, and Rebecca immediately noticed that his piercing eyes were glued upon her. Adrenaline swarmed her body, and began to force her to run in hopes of escaping the ball of fire. As it flew at her, zipping at incredible speed, she was agile enough to roll out of its way by a mere few feet, feeling the intense heat lash at her legs. As she struggled back up to her feet, the ballistic purple warriors now upon her, she was forced to defend herself by thrashing them with her bow and ripping them apart at close range with her arrows, sometimes shooting through two or three with a single one.

She sustained a few injuries through the skirmish, though she was quick enough to avoid most of their attacks. However, she failed to notice the gigantic purple needle that was headed her way, courtesy of the titanic reptile. Having just dispatched a good thirty of these wire-framed monsters with melee tactics, Rebecca was paralyzed on the spot as she felt her body get jolted into the air and to the ground. Confused, Rebecca was suddenly overcome by a surge of pain so strong, what tears she had left instantly began to pour from her eyes, and she screamed in agony. Her hands had jumped down to her stomach, where the pain came from, and had grasped a strange, sharp object. It was cylindrical, about half a foot in diameter, and a dark purple. Its surface was black and sticky, a toxin of some kind covering it entirely, but Rebecca was horrified to see and feel a thick, warm pool of blood—her blood—growing around her. Choking and sputtering, Rebecca desperately struggled to her knees, her arms wobbling to keep her up, their strength quickly leaving them. She violently coughed out blood that had been darkened by this poison, and soon slipped and fell into the puddle of maroon liquid, unable to raise an arm to support herself.

She couldn’t see the petrified blue eyes of Serra—quivering with fear at the sight–whose once white robes were covered with dirt and blood, and only reddened more as she flipped Rebecca from her stomach onto her back, praying that she was powerful enough to undo such a deed.

“Rebecca,” she cried out in a whimper, “Please stay with me.” Serra wasn’t sure which could prove more harmful—removing the giant needle and letting her bleed even more, or letting it stay and giving the poison more time to destroy her from the inside. It was a horrendous choice, and Serra chose to let it remain, hoping that she could cure the poison and somehow mend the wounds enough for Rebecca to survive. Serra was sure that Rebecca was doomed in this situation, but at least she could buy time so that the mother could say goodbye. Serra had sent off Erk to retrieve the woman’s family as soon as she had seen the archer fall, and she hoped that Rebecca would last long enough.

Rebecca found herself unable to speak for a few minutes, the pain unforgiving. Serra used her magic to prolong Rebecca’s suffering, and, in turn, prolong her life, and after about five minutes of constant prayer, the general’s family was seconds away. Serra squeezed Rebecca’s hand and told her with admiration, “You’re strong, Rebecca…” Just watching this passionate woman die made Serra wish that she had gotten to know her better.

“Wolt,” Rebecca whimpered out, agony bursting from her eyes. “Wolt…Wil…Wh…where…?”

“They’re here, Rebecca,” Serra whispered, staying by the archer’s side as her son and husband drew near.

Rebecca’s pain was put at ease as she saw their faces above, the pale blue skies a perfect frame for their horrified expressions, with stars twinkling in the background. Their faces were quite similar, in fact–certainly a son and father.

Wolt wore a blue tunic, white pants, and dimly green hair. He was an archer to boot, his skills given to him by his parents. Wolt could say no words as he stared at the bloodied body of his mother.

“Rebecca,” Wil murmured, his face pale and his eyes wide with terror. He sunk to his knees and cradled her in his arms, while Wolt stood speechless.

Wil stared at Serra for a moment, desperation lashing out at her through his quivering eyes. Serra shook her head with contrite sorrow, and Wil knew that she had done everything she could.

Rebecca’s glazed eyes, the pupils dilated, were slowly closing, but she smiled a warm, compassionate smile for her family. Wil’s last wish had been fulfilled by that smile, and Rebecca’s had been fulfilled, as well.

There was nothing more for her in this world.

Her destiny lay in another world–away from her family. Her destiny was one no one could have imagined at that moment in time.

Unable to say farewell, Rebecca’s soul slithered from its body and into the dark abyss, shadows enveloping her and dragging her away from Lycia, tearing her with vicious persistence from her home and her people.

Her journey ended right there–or rather, it would have. Some would say it should have. But something quite mysterious happened at that moment.

A shadowy figure snatched her soul from the swollen Lifestream and sucked her out into space.

“1-Up acquired,” the voice reported to an unseen force. Its attention turned to the strong-willed soul of the being named “Rebecca” as it asked a solemn question with solid resolve:

“Do you wish to continue?”

~*~*~*~*~*

Hope you enjoyed it–something a little different, eh?

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