2019-05-17: Why I'll Walk
- Cutscene: Why I'll Walk
- Cast: Talise Gianfair
- Where: Mi'ihen Highroad
- Date: May 17, 2019
- Summary: Talise reflects on the death of Ghaleon.
What did the Four Heroes do when the Dragonmaster fell?
A week has gone by. It didn't make things any easier.
She'd sunk herself into what work she could find - cooking, traveling, adventuring, trying to catch sight of the mysterious ghost ship known as the Runner. But to try and bury the thoughts beneath other tasks was not to dispel them. They bit into every hemisphere of her mind and cinched in with the weight of an immense boat anchor.
The wind of a strange place brushed through short blonde hair, over the stripes on her cheeks. It came in across the ocean, soft and soothing yet unable to breathe the thoughts away. Her fingers, rougher and more callused than she remembered, slid slowly over the strings of the archlute - not the one Uncle Piet had given her, for that one was lost to the Trial Knight's sins in the land of Krosse, on a world that was not hers. The notes came slowly, without attachment to anything but a thought.
The strings were her own, but the stories she played out in her mind were the ones he had told her. Of a time before this one.
It was by the hand of the Sons of Zophar that it happened. A Dragonmaster, slain unceremoniously. His companions swiftly met to make their decision. Four great Heroes - Mel, Lemia, Dyne, and--
Talise closed her eyes and hung her head, leaving a single off-key note to hang in the air.
To meet Ghaleon had been bittersweet. He'd been the spoke in the wheel of her vain childhood dream of one day being the Dragonmaster - no more realistic than a little girl's dream of being a ballerina, she reminded herself with a certain self-scorning mirth. And yet, there had always been a certain gravity among him. Ghaleon, one of the Four Heroes of legend - a man every bit as good as Dragonmaster Dyne, equal to him in every way and second to him only by whim of Althena. A living legend, brought back from the dead, and as the Dragonmaster, no less.
A legend who promptly made a fool of her, and turned away one of Her Seraphim, and showed himself to be a man of smug arrogance and pride more than the nobility and wisdom she had dreamed of.
A legend who had tested his blade against her, and found her far more than wanting - and now, a legend sent to his grave by a power beyond even Althena's chosen one.
She looked out over the water, as if she could somehow spot Sin and glare daggers through it. It was the stupidest, most childish thing she could think. The monstrous thing - a Clysmian, they had called it - had robbed her of another desire, one that had been enflamed in her just hours before.
In her mind's eye, the face of that pale, cruel, beautiful man curled into a passing smirk. He'd noticed her in a crowd of hundreds - and then dismissed her just like that. She hadn't known at the time what the feelings it evoked were. Hatred and desire. Longing and frustration. The urge to be respected by someone she had no business expecting respect from.
How could she mourn a man when she loathed the man and loved the legend?
How could she hate what he was when it was everything she ever wanted to be?
When Dyne vanished from the world, his closest friend scoured Lunar in search of him. A year went by, but he could not be found. For the first time, Lunar was without her champion, nor even a candidate.
Her finger plucked one of the strings. The note that hung in the air was sharp, stinging. A musical chide.
Talise held her lute up for a moment. Upwelling feelings burned like a volcanic surge in the pit of her chest, and she pushed off the grassy swell she was sitting on, setting the lute down by her side and picking up the weapon next to it. Rastaban, the sword of Green Knight Fredo, a companion of Dragonmaster Lou - the first to bear the title.
Unnaturally sharp steel gleamed as she drew the weapon, the indecipherable inscription along the fuller passing her glance in a second before the blade was free. Gravely, Talise raised it to her forehead in a simple swordsman's salute.
Why do you walk this star? he had asked her.
"Go with Althena, you beautiful bastard," Talise murmured. The emotion in her voice was hard even for her to distinguish. Perhaps too many of them overlapped to be made clear.
The rest she could not give voice to. Not in a world without a Dragonmaster - again. A world in which, if a next one emerged, that champion would be the champion of an Althena Talise no longer understood. Even if all that the treacherous Seraph Ragnell had suggested was a lie, something was wrong with the Goddess, and none could figure out how to take the Trials anymore, anyway, and if they could, they would serve an Althena unlike the stories.
Why do you walk this star?
Talise lowered her sword and clenched her left fist tightly, nails biting into her palm.
I'll show you why.
She'd never be the legend he was. But she could try to be the reality he should've been.