After the events of FE7, Nils reflects on the events. Assumes Eliwood/Ninian A Support
If you are an American, or have been taught that form of English, I apologise for any words that are spelled differently to the way you spell them. I am an Australian, and we use slightly different spellings for some words, and I'm afraid that I'm not going to change my spelling of these words for my fanfiction. Hopefully, it will not cause any major issues.
Please read and review.
Alone and Together
How long has it been, Ninian, since I saw you last? It's probably been years, but years are insignificant to a dragon. When you've lived for over a millennium, a year is but a grain of sand in the hourglass.
And yet, not a day goes by that I don't think of you, my sister. The times we shared together were not always joyful, but we pulled through. Even when it seemed like the whole world was against us, we pulled through, because we stayed together. We always did.
But now we are apart. You are in the land of the humans, and I am in the Dragon's Realm, guarding the Dragon's Gate as we did together for many years. It was what we were born to do. It was what kept our fates intertwined, and yet it would be what tore us apart.
I still remember that day, when that familiar voice called to us from beyond the Dragon's Gate. I sometime wonder what would have happened if we had done the sensible thing and ignored that voice, and something tells me that you do too. But that doesn't matter. We listened to him, we opened the Dragon's Gate and went through to the land that we had once called home.
What a mistake that was. We were such fools then. Naive fools. We had thought that that man, Nergal was our friend, but he wasn't. He cared nothing for us. He only cared about his own ends. He wanted to be all-powerful, and he saw us as a means to gain the power he desired. The quintessence of dragons is a powerful thing. Nergal wanted it. We had lost most of our quintessence when we traveled through the Gate, but Nergal intended for us to open it again, and then he could call through more dragons. Surely some would survive the journey with their quintessence intact. That's why he needed us; that's why he called us; and that's why he would chase us to the ends of the world.
We knew that we couldn't stand up to him, but there was one thing we could do: run. And that's what we did. We escaped the Dread Isle and went on the run, pretending to be traveling performers. Some of those nights when we performed were truly enjoyable. On some nights, we almost forgot that we were on the run.
But those nights were few and far between. More often, we had to hide or run straight after our performances to make sure those black-robed men didn't find us. Somehow, our path had taken us to the north-east, towards Khathelet. It was there that the black-robed men attacked us.
I still don't quite know how I escaped their clutches, but I did. You had been captured though, and if something happened to you, I knew I would never forgive myself. I tried to find help, but the villagers didn't want to get involved. I had nearly given up hope.
Then I found Lady Lyn. To this day, I wonder whether she would have helped us if I had told her we were dragons. Perhaps she would have sent me away, saying that we deserved to be persecuted. Perhaps she would have killed me. But in the end, it doesn't matter, because I didn't tell her. I simply told her that you had been kidnapped. She was sympathetic to our plight, and chose to help. She and her companions fought off the black-robed men who came for me, but by the time she had done so, they had taken you away. At that moment, all hope seemed lost, and I don't know whether I would have chosen to keep living had things gone differently.
But in spite of all the flaws of humans, they have one saving grace: whenever there is a person in need, there will be another person who will come to their aid. Whether or not they succeed is another question, but fortunately, the man who came to your aid did. Lord Eliwood, that red-haired noble of Pherae. I didn't know then that the effect he would have on both our lives would extend far beyond that day. Considering how much danger we would be involved in with him, I find this slightly odd. I can only assume that you and I can only sense danger coming when nothing good will come from it. Or it might it might simply have been the way he left so suddenly that caused me not to dwell on him.
For that period in our life, Lady Lyn seemed more important, at least to me. We traveled with her, and even saved her life on one occasion. Those were good times, in spite of the danger we were in. Lady Lyn and her companions were so kind to us. Although specific names and specific deeds have long since vanished from my mind, I remember the feeling that everything might be alright.
But all good things must end. When Lyn had defeated her foul granduncle, we knew that we couldn't stay much longer. We would only bring danger to Lady Lyn and the people of Caelin. So we left, and headed northeast again. That was our mistake. Once again, we were attacked near Khathelet. This time there was no one to rescue us.
We were taken back to the Dread Isle, to the Dragon's Gate. There seemed to be no way that we could escape that portal between the worlds. Whether we were in the dragon's realm or the land of the humans, we would always be bound to it. There was no escaping it.
I still remember the look of pure sorrow that you had during those dark times, and just thinking about is enough to freeze even my ice dragon's heart. Truly, we had both fallen into despair, and we both considered taking our lives to stop Nergal from using us to open the Dragon's Gate.
But once again, when things seemed their worst, someone came to our aid. That person was Lord Elbert, Lord Eliwood's father. If your look of sorrow was like ice, then Lord Elbert was like what a roaring fireplace would seem like to a human. He knew what we were, what we had done, and yet he didn't hold it against us. Indeed, he tried to make us feel better. He told us stories of his home, of his family. His wife, Lady Eleanora and their son, Lord Eliwood. It seems Lord Eliwood was destined to be a continuous part of our lives. The stories of Lord Elbert filled us with hope, perhaps even more than our travels with Lady Lyn. Somehow, we both felt that Lord Eliwood would come to save us, if only because we were with his father.
But months passed, and he didn't come. It was strange how I actually noticed months back then, when nowadays years pass by seemingly without a thought. I can only assume that it was an effect of the human form we had taken. But it doesn't matter, because Lord Elbert was human, and as such he had certainly noticed the time going by. He told us that he had to take action. He constructed a small boat for us to escape in. He finished it in surprisingly little time, all things considered. Before we knew it, we were leaving the Dread Isle in that boat. But we had to leave Lord Elbert behind.
Only a few hours after we had left, a storm struck. The memories of that incident are hazy, and the next thing I remember was waking up on the shore of the Dread Isle, alone. I fell into despair again, until I sensed your presence near the Dragon's Gate. I ran for the Gate, faster than I had ever ran in my life. I passed through battlefields, but I ignored them. My sole concern was getting to you. I didn't know what I could possibly do to save you, but I knew I had to try something.
When I arrived at the Dragon's Gate, Lord Eliwood's group was already there. I ran right past them, even when I heard some of them shout my name (they must have been members of Lady Lyn's group, and I could only assume that she was there with Lord Eliwood). I rushed into the fortress, where I saw a scene that will forever remain in my memory, so clear that it could have happened yesterday.
You were standing before the Dragon's Gate, or at least your body was. Your spirit seemed to have left you, leaving nothing more than shell. Nergal stood beside you, appearing to be in a state of deep concentration. Ephidel, one of Nergal's morphs, stood beside him. Lord Elbert lay on the ground near you, near death. Lord Eliwood, Lady Lyn and a man I had not seen before stood watching this whole scene. Behind you, the Dragon's Gate was slowly opening, and I thought I saw a fire dragon coming through it.
That was all I needed to see. I cried out your name and ran towards you, hoping that you would stop, before it was too late. The next few events were a blur. I remember the portal collapsing in on itself, taking Ephidel and the fire dragon with it. I remember Nergal shouting at me, saying that I had ruined everything. The Lord Elbert stabbed Nergal in the spine with a dagger. In a few seconds, Nergal had vanished. I then remember Lord Eliwood's cries as his father died in his arms.
But strangely, more than any of the events of the day, I remember how you cried yourself to sleep that night. I don't think you even came out of our cabin on the voyage to Badon. You probably couldn't bear to see Lord Eliwood. I found out the full story of what had happened from Lady Lyn. Then I understood. When Nergal was controlling you, he had made you steal Lord Elbert's quintessence to give you enough power to open the Dragon's Gate. Even though you hadn't been in control of yourself, you still felt responsible for Lord Elbert's death. At least, that's what everyone else assumed. They didn't know that we were dragons, they didn't know that we had come through the Dragon's Gate, they didn't know that it was our fault that Lord Elbert had died, and that the fault extended beyond the event itself. But both of us did.
Lord Elbert had given us hope, and we were responsible for his death. And yet, I doubt it was Lord Elbert's death itself that was responsible for your sorrow. No, it was the pain that it had caused Lord Eliwood. And yet, when we arrived in Badon, Lord Eliwood forgave you. He said that it wasn't your fault.
But you still felt the guilt. You wanted to help Lord Eliwood, in an attempt to repay your debt, both for his rescue of you a year before and the pain you believed that you had caused him. We both knew that your dances could help invigorate him and the rest of his group, but you were too weak. Although many of your powers were superior to mine, it had left you physically weak, and we both knew that that would make you nothing more than a burden. But I wanted to help you, so I did the only thing I could think of. I lent you some of my power. Even today, I am still a little weaker as a result. But it was worth it.
And so you helped out Lord Eliwood's group in battle. He protected you from harm, and you repaid him with your invigorating dances. I supposed I should have seen what was coming a mile off. If you weren't in love with Lord Eliwood before (and something tells me that you at least had some sort of fond feelings for him) then you would certainly fall in love with him when you spent a great deal of time by his side. The signs were clear to me, even if you were unsure. At first, I wasn't sure if he returned your feelings, but I soon figured out that he did. But there was a bigger problem than a simple unrequited love.
Lord Eliwood and his group were trying to stop Nergal from bringing dragons back into the world, and yet we ourselves were dragons. If Lord Eliwood ever found out, what would he think of you? I feared that he would hate you, and I knew that you wouldn't be able to bear that. I tried to get you to forget about Lord Eliwood, I tried to convince you that it would never work, but you wouldn't listen. I believe that you knew I was right, but you didn't want to believe it. Love does strange things to people.
But perhaps there was hope. After all, who would have thought that Archsage Athos, one of the Eight Generals who had fought and banished dragons in the Scouring, would have been as he was? He clearly knew that we were dragons, and yet he didn't make a point of it. He didn't seem angry at us. He accepted us, in spite of what we were. Perhaps Lord Eliwood would as well. But I wasn't about to take that risk, not over something so serious. But still, you wouldn't listen to me.
In the end, Lord Eliwood did find out, but not in a way any of us would have imagined. While Lord Eliwood and his group were progressing in their quest, Nergal had regained his power. He came for us. He wanted to open the Dragon's Gate. Then you showed more courage than I had ever seen you show before. You agreed to go along with Nergal willingly, if he would let me go, and provided he did not harm the others. As he only needed one of us, Nergal agreed. Before I could say or do anything, you were gone.
I was so worried for you that I absorbed what was going on even less than usual. Perhaps if I hadn't let my mind be clouded with anxiety, I could have done something to change what happened next. We headed to the outskirts of Ostia, so that Lord Eliwood could obtain a sword called Durandal, which supposedly would enable him to defeat Nergal. It was only later that I found out that this sword was one of the Eight Legendary Items created to kill dragons.
When he obtained the sword, you arrived, but in your dragon form. I tried to tell Lord Eliwood to stop, but it was too late. He attacked. It only took one strike from that sword to kill you. I fainted when it slashed across you. When I awoke, Lord Eliwood held your dead body in his arms.
I thought before then that nothing could compare to the despair I felt when we were captured by Nergal. But that was nothing compared to what I felt in those following days. For even in previous dark times, when all seemed hopeless, I was able to get by, because I was with you. You gave me strength, if only because I wanted to see you happy. But now I had no one to give me strength. I was alone.
Even though all of the group were mourning over your death, only Lord Eliwood truly felt despair on my level. It was that knowledge that Lord Eliwood had hurt himself as much as he had hurt you or me that enabled me to forgive him, or at least not to actively hate him for what he had done. I knew that you wouldn't have wanted that.
Events passed, and I didn't notice them. I remember that there was a battle, but I didn't take part, even though I knew that I could have helped. Before I knew it, we were back on the Dread Isle. Lord Eliwood hoped to defeat Nergal there, and apparently, Archsage Athos was doing something to help. But once again, I opted to stay behind, when I could have helped.
Then, something incredible happened. It seems Fargus, the captain of the ship that had taken us to the Dread Isle, had had something that he wanted to give to Eliwood, but he had forgotten. I still wonder whether he had really forgotten, or whether he had wanted to give me a chance to prove myself. Either way, I did see my chance. I would deliver this item to Lord Eliwood and join him in this final conflict. I knew I had to do it. I had to do your part, Ninian. No, I had to do your part and mine!
I reached Lord Eliwood just before they were attacked by Nergal's morphs. Although I don't remember many specific details about the battle, I do remember that many members of the group complimented me afterwards for helping invigorating them in battle, so I must have done alright.
But that battle was just a prelude to the one that was to come. When we had reached the fortress, the lords decided to wait for Archsage Athos. He arrived soon after, with three weapons: the Sol Katti for Lady Lyn; Armads for Lord Hector; and for Lord Eliwood, Durandal, the very sword with which he had cut you down. I remember how I backed away at the sight of that sword, afraid that Lord Eliwood would attack me. But my fears were unfounded. Whether it was because I was in human form or because Lord Eliwood was in control of himself now, he did not attack me.
We entered the fortress, and Nergal was waiting for us. The rest of the group, myself included, stood back to let the three lords and Archsage Athos do the talking. I couldn't make out any of the words of the conversation, but I could tell that it was very heated. I did see Nergal remove his turban to reveal a horrible scar encircling his head, and an eye that seemed to have long lost the ability to focus. I gasped at the wretched sight that was Nergal's face, and yet it somehow seemed familiar to me, as if I had seen a similar, unscarred face in the distant past. Could I have met Nergal before the Scouring? It wasn't altogether impossible. After all, Archsage Athos had been alive since before that time, and Nergal was even more powerful than him. But I would never know.
It was only then that I noticed the beings behind Nergal. They looked so human, except for their pale skin. I even recognized some of them as Black Fang members. What had Nergal done? But I had no time to think about that, for in an instant, Nergal and his minions were gone. Lord Eliwood rallied the troops, and the battle began.
This battle was shorter than the last one, but much more furious. These creatures, which I could only assume to be Nergal's morphs, had incredible fighting abilities and wielded weapons nearly as powerful as the Legendary Weapons. Some of the group were badly wounded, and I would have been struck down had it not been for Lord Eliwood bravely leaping to my defence. I am still grateful to him for that. But eventually, we prevailed, and Nergal was the only one left.
The lords and Archsage Athos decided that they would face Nergal alone. They said that there wasn't anything anyone else could do to help. So all I could do was stand there with the others, and watch. All I could do was watch as one by one, they fell to Nergal's powerful dark magic. All I could do was watch as Archsage Athos stood there alone, weakening with every blow. And then there was a bright, blinding light. When the light had dimmed, Nergal had his hands to his face, screaming. He never saw Lord Hector strike with Armads. He never saw the blow that killed him. As he collapsed to the ground, he muttered some incomprehensible words, and then he lay there, in a massive pool of his own blood.
For several long moments, no one spoke. No one could believe that it was finally over. That was because it wasn't over. A roar filled the air, coming from the direction of the Dragon's Gate itself. I followed everyone as they ran up the stairs towards the Gate, even though I already knew what it was. As we reached the top of the stairs, my fears were confirmed. Three fire Dragons stood there. Even though I had always feared them, they seemed even more formidable when I was in human form. Even the three lords looked afraid, a first for them.
The Archsage Athos courageously went into battle against them. But the battle against Nergal must have weakened him, for his attacks barely scratched the dragons, and their blasts of fire were doing massive damage to him, penetrating his magical defenses. Lord Eliwood told him to get back, but the Archsage wouldn't budge. He was going to get killed, and everyone knew it. The only man alive who could slay dragons was going to get killed. Although I didn't want to see my fellow dragons get killed, they had clearly gone mad, and had to be stopped, or they would kill many innocent people. But what could we do?
Then, the answer came. A mysterious figure who I had not seen before walked in, carrying your body. I turned away from the sight: the last thing I wanted to be reminded of then was the loss I had suffered. But the lords and Archsage Athos seemed to know this man, and addressed him as "Brammimond." I knew that name. He was one of the Eight Generals, an expert in dark magic.
Brammimond uttered something under his breath, and he began to glow. I noticed Durandal glowing red-hot in Lord Eliwood's hand, while Lord Hector's axe Armads was shooting off sparks of lightning. Both of them looked like they were about to scream, and yet they did not drop their weapons. Then I felt the strangest feeling, as if my body's very energy was being sucked out. Was my quintessence being stolen? Did Brammimond have powers like those of Nergal? No, it couldn't be, because that process had been described as incredibly painful, and yet this was more of a pleasant sensation. It was almost as if I wanted to give up my energy, as if it might be used for a greater purpose. But even as this pleasant feeling filled my body, I could feel my body going numb. My vision was fading. Was Brammimond going to take our lives to power some sort of dark magic that could defeat the fir dragons? But then why would he need you? You were, after all, already dead. I thought about these things as I fell...
And then suddenly, I was back at full strength, as if none of this had happened. If anything, I felt stronger. Then as I stood up, I saw the most wondrous sight in my entire existence. You were standing there, alive and well. At that moment, I didn't care about the fire dragons that were raging further ahead. I ran toward you, hoping that you wouldn't fade away, hoping that this wasn't a dream. But you stayed there, and as I ran to meet you, I saw Lord Eliwood running from the other side.
But before either of us could make it to you, Brammimond had teleported in front of you. Both Lord Eliwood and I stopped. Then Brammimond did what I never would have expected anyone to do: he told you to stop the dragons. I had never been so shocked in my life. What chance did you have against the, when Archsage Athos himself couldn't even faze them. You also appeared in doubt. But when he said something about your power returning, your expression of doubt changed to a look of understanding. I was still confused though. I had always known that you possessed greater power than me, but how could you possibly hope to defeat three fire dragons?
But if you saw my doubt, you did not acknowledge it. You walked towards the fire dragons, not paying any attention to me or Lord Eliwood. Your gaze was focused solely on the dragons. You didn't look afraid. If anything, you looked sad. Truly, you didn't want to hurt the fire dragons, but you knew that you had to. None of us said anything as you walked, and as you approached the fire dragons, even they stopped and stared at you. Did they recognize you as a dragon, or were they simply wondering who should kill you? I would never know.
Then you stopped, and for a moment, the chamber was still. Then, you raised your arms into the air. As you did, a quiet whistling sound started. It gradually grew until it was a great howling wind. Then, a feeling of coolness filled the air. It was only gently cool to me, but I imagine to the others it was frigid. To the fire dragons, it was agony. The wind had turned into a blizzard. The screams of the fire dragons filled the air, and I closed my eyes as their bodies began to freeze, not wanting to see what was to come.
But somehow, above the screams of the fire dragons and the howl of the blizzard, I heard a sound that brought far greater pain to me: a gentle sobbing. I opened my eyes, even though I knew it could only be coming from you. And then I saw it. As your tears fell from your face, they froze and blew away in the wind. The result was a trail of pure white snow crossing the chamber: a thing of beauty that came from the deepest of sorrows.
And suddenly, it all stopped: the blizzard, the screams, your sobbing, everything. The ice encasing the fire dragons shattered, and two of them collapsed, dead before they hit the ground. Then you too, collapsed. Lord Eliwood and I were by your side in a flash. I remember the relief I felt when I saw that you were still breathing. But my relief vanished when I heard the roar of the remaining fire dragon. It still wasn't over.
Brammimond appeared beside you and took you away in a flash. We all knew that it was up to us to stop the remaining fire dragon. And yet, even as the lords raised their weapons for the final battle, I found myself unable to help them. How could I aid someone who was trying to kill one of my kin? I may have been a different type of dragon from the one that stood before me, but that didn't matter. I couldn't do it. So once more, I left the lords to face their foe alone.
The battle was unlike any I had seen before, and even now, I still have the occasional nightmare about it. The lords' weapons seemed to give them superhuman abilities. Every time the dragons struck, they leapt out of the way just in time. But the dragon didn't leave an opening, and the lords started to tire. The dragon batted Lady Lyn away, then Lord Hector, and finally, it attacked Lord Eliwood. Batting him away as if he were a pebble, it chased after him. And then, before I knew what was happening, Lord Eliwood was engulfed in fire. But this was no ordinary fire. It was the purest fire of all, the fire that only the most powerful fire dragons could use: flametongue. Even though I was a good distance away from the dragon, I could still feel the heat from its breath. I could only imagine what it must have been like for Lord Eliwood.
I knew I had to do something. Lord Eliwood couldn't die, not now. He didn't deserve it. I pictured the faces of Lady Lyn, of Lord Hector, and of Lord Eliwood's mother, Lady Eleanora. They were all crying. And then I pictured you. You were crying harder than all of them put together. You were blaming yourself for what happened. I couldn't let that happen. So I did the only thing I could think of: I played my flute. It wasn't any song I knew of; I simply made it up as I went along. But it seemed to awaken something within me, a memory of a happier time, a time when I was with you. As the memory became clearer, I noticed a glowing coming from within the fire. It took the shape of a sword, and then of a man holding that sword. I recognized the man as Lord Eliwood. He walked through the fire, right up to the fire dragons. And then he thrust Durandal into the dragon's neck. The effect was instant. The dragon erupted in a giant fireball. Lady Lyn, Lord Hector and I ran for cover as the fireball exploded.
We all cried out Lord Eliwood's name into the smoke, but there was no response. Tears began to form in my eyes, but it was then that I saw a figure walking through the smoke. As the smoke cleared, I saw the form of Lord Eliwood walking towards us. He looked very worn out and a bit singed, but otherwise fine. In his right hand, he held Durandal. The blade had gone dull.
A great cheer filled the air. It was only then that I realized that Lord Eliwood was important not just to those closest to him, but to all the members of the group, who had all fought with him throughout this journey. The cheers stopped however, as Archsage Athos collapsed. I cannot remember the brief conversation that took place before he died, but I remember wanting to cry. It felt strange to feel this way about a man who, only a few months ago, had been a faceless enemy who had killed my fellow dragons and banished those who had survived to the other side of the Dragon's Gate. But I realized then, and I know it to be true now, that he didn't do those things because he wanted do; he did them because he had to. Just like I had felt inclined to help Lord Eliwood, Archsage Athos had felt inclined to help his fellow humans. I could only hope that deep down, all of the Eight Generals were like that.
I went from sadness to happiness when I realized that you were standing next to me. Lord Eliwood still seemed unable to comprehend that you were alive, and to be honest, I was still barely able to comprehend it myself. As Lord Eliwood put it, it was as if we were all coming out of a dream, and that soon things would be back to the way they were. At that moment, I realized how right he was, and one look at your face told me that you realized it too. We couldn't stay here. The Dragon's Gate was still open, and if it stayed like that, more dragons would come through. I still remember the sadness in your voice and in your eyes when you told Lord Eliwood that we had to close the Dragon's Gate... from the other side. But if you looked sad, Lord Eliwood looked worse. I could tell that he was right on the brink of crying, and yet he didn't, probably in an attempt to spare your feelings. It was only then that I realized just how much he loved you, that he would give up his own happiness to do what he thought best for you.
Thoughts such as this filled my head as we walked towards the Dragon's Gate. We stopped just in front of it. I knew that I couldn't allow this to happen. You wanted to stay in this world, to be with Lord Eliwood, even though your life would be short. I couldn't allow you to do something you would inevitably regret for the rest of your life. To see you sad for the rest of your life would be worse for me than to never see you again. So I told you to stay. I would go through the Dragon's Gate alone. You were taken aback by this, but I knew that it was what you truly wanted.
It's unusual how, in spite of the hardships of life, people can still smile. But above all else, I remember how the members of the group were smiling when I left. They told me they would miss me, and I would certainly miss them, but we all knew that it was for the best. Lord Eliwood was grateful to me, more than words could ever say. And yet, amidst the happy faces, you were crying. I stopped and turned back. I waited. Eventually, you looked me in the eye, and smiled through your tears. That was the last I saw of you. That was what I wanted to remember you by, your smile, not your tears.
So now I stand here, in front of the Dragon's Gate, but on the other side. It is closed now, and I am wise enough now to know that to open it again would not be a good idea. The other dragons were at first angry at what we had done, but in time, they accepted it, although they may not yet have forgiven us entirely. I have taken over the duties we performed together before it all happened. Yes, it seems that things are back to normal here, except that you are not here.
I often wonder how you are getting along. Have the people in Pherae accepted you? Do they know of your heritage? Does Lord Eliwood still have time to spend with you, what with his duties as Marquess Pherae? I can only assume that you are married to him now. Perhaps you have even had children together. I wonder whether or not you would tell any children you do have about me.
But alas, time has little meaning in the Dragon's Realm. I have lost track of how many years have passed since we parted ways. For all I know, you could be dead by now. Your lifespan will certainly be shorter than it would have been if you had come with me. But there is no use worrying about such things.
Ninian, my sister, if you can hear me somehow through the void of space and time, listen carefully. Do not dwell on the past. We all make mistakes, but we have to move on from them. Dwell not on the bad things that resulted from your actions, but on the good things. For even out of the worst of situations, good things can spring. The love between you and Lord Eliwood is proof of that. Don't worry about me. I want to live a long, long time. I don't have your curiosity. Please, Ninian, my sister, be as happy as you can for as long as you can. And remember that, no matter what happens, I will be here, alone, but together with you always.