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[Bloodstained Aubade Anthology] Briar of Fensalir


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#1 Saralen

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 10:21 PM

Hello all, :p_hi: it's been a while since I promised a rewrite, but I finally got it down pat. In cooperation with ROCKheir, we present the Bloodstained Aubade Anthology, the first of which is the Briar rewrite, which was previously spelled as Brier.

 

The anthology consists of two works, the Briar of Fensalir, a light novel-esque fanfiction, and Tears from the Bragaful, a doujin graphic novel. There might be more planned, depending on reception, inspiration, and time constraints. Reviews are appreciated. We hope you like our humble tribute to the sixteen year old game that kept 40 million* playing.

 

 

Standard Disclaimer: Ragnarök Online is owned by Gravity Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc., a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. Ragnarök original concept is owned by Lee Myung-Jin, and Dive to Dream Sea studio, published by Daiwon C.I. and Tokyopop. Norse mythology is public domain.

 

Additional Disclaimer: This story may or may not reflect the state of iRO (and kRO) in many ways; this includes internal politics, customer service, certain actions, etc. Any resemblance you see on particular characters or guilds in the story with actual players and actual (well, virtual since this is all just a game) guilds ARE INTENTIONAL (with permission for the most part, except in certain cases when players are too famous and just play a role by default)! To avoid infractions, their identities have been concealed with different names, although I think most of you would recognize them as dead-ringers.

 

 

*Accounts, not players. Numbers do not reflect current time in-game population across all official servers.

 

Edit: Chapter updates will now happen weekly every Saturday unless there are personal emergencies. In which case I might either ask ROCKheir to post for me or it will get delayed until the week after, depending on circumstances.


Edited by Saralen, 11 February 2017 - 12:45 AM.

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#2 Saralen

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 10:22 PM

Table of Contents

 

Prologue

 

Reginleif Arc

I

II

III

IV


Edited by Saralen, 10 February 2017 - 11:28 PM.

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#3 Saralen

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 10:24 PM

Prologue

 

The thousand years war of yore, according to the legends, found an indescribable peace to follow. The uneasy truce between gods, men, and demons was set in place; to what cost, only those not from the world of men know. Some say that it was men and their hubris which caused the war in the first place…

 

In the thousand years after, the fragile peace that existed had caused man to lose sight of sin, and the age of the After War developed arrogance and fury among themselves…

 

Not even the signs of the times when the demon god Surt broke through 600 years early nor the strange darkness from the realm beyond Hel’s domain alerted the world on its path to accelerated destruction.

 

The war will come again, few people still believe. For destiny as the heavens ordained it is absolute. Existing past their time, the gods are in a desperate bid to continue their rule, and all the worlds will come against them. Demons of legends desire the domain that comes from God.

 

Beyond the throes of this hopeless fate, heroes of men rise, and forgotten legends spread, and yet again humanity seeks what even the broken ages have sealed away. The promise of wealth, power, and glory that comes with the nature of the artifacts of the past is tied to that destiny that repeats itself.

 

 

Yet there is hope…

 

At one time when truths turned to history, and history turned to legends, humanity had forgotten the light that was once carried beyond the fate of fates, for the brief peace of a thousand years was the concerted proof of the destiny beyond the foreordained calamity known as The Final Destiny of the Gods.

 

What truth will come from the words of gods and stories of men about destiny?

 


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#4 ROCKheir

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 01:26 AM

I really should start working on mine after seeing your preface. xD


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#5 Saralen

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 09:41 PM

I really should start working on mine after seeing your preface. xD

 

You better. :p_laugh:


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#6 Saralen

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 09:44 PM

Reginleif Arc

 

I

 

 

Our holy Allfadr, you alone know that what are seen with the eyes are fleeting, for in yours given, now known true wisdom by what is seen with the heart. Have pity on the wretched children of Midgard, and guide us to the paradise of Valhalla, so that we may worship you with the saints, and be removed from evil.

 

---Revised Fadr-var prayer, circa 549 A.W. Council of Geffen

 

“Sister...Sister Leiden?”

 

Father Bamph considered speaking louder, though stopped himself when he remembered he was inside the Sanctuary. ‘Sometimes even I get carried away like an outsider,’ he ruminated while observing the solitary woman prostrating and keeping her head low on the floor. Approaching closer, he was about to call out her name when someone hooked his arm and took him aside.

 

“Let her supplicate for her wishes. There are more urgent matters to discuss.” A younger Priest beside him said, trying to coax him to another hall, “how long do you intend to keep her here? It’s been more than two months; you know what happened too,” his companion lowered his voice while keeping his negating tone “all I’m saying is this isn’t safe. The Church is already at odds with the kingdom, and you want to stoke the fires?”

 

“Biscuss,” the older priest sighed, “you were once an Acolyte under me.” He hated pointing out his seniority in the clergy, but sometimes it was necessary to keep the seeds of heterodoxy from taking root. Truthfully, there was no one he could trust more than his younger assistant, but Father Biscuss was right; the temporal power of Rune-Midgard and the Holy-See of the Odin Orthodoxy have had recent disagreements, some severe and delicate. Still…,“I have taught you many times that we will not forsake those who seek guidance and shelter from the outside. Criminals, prostitutes, and vagabonds are welcome to seek us out in refuge as with any noble, foreigner, and citizen.”

 

That seemed to have placated and shamed the younger Priest into silence. Father Biscuss watched his superior walk closer to the woman, stooping to tap her on the shoulder and rouse her from her “mortification.” He didn’t like this, not at all, but Father Bamph was right. To do anything less would be virtuous. Placated for now, he went on his way back to the office not paying them another thought.

 

“Get up, Sister Leiden,” Father Bamph said very gently “you don’t want to be confused for a hallucinating drunk, do you?”

 

The woman stood and heeded the old Priest’s concern. Gratefully returning his concerned smile, she said, “Father, please don’t call me ‘sister.’ I am merely a laity under God; ‘sister’ is someone who is part of the clergy. You can just use my name, Father.”

 

“Yes, and it was a sad day when you chose a different path from being an evangelical instrument of God, Seirin”, he said in reply using her given name. “With a name like that, you’d be easily confused with the late brother of Sir Windsor. Why don’t you use your baptismal name instead?” he offered as a suggestion.

 

To that she said, “just ‘Leid’ is fine, Father; my baptismal name still has ‘Seirin’ in it, and I’m still able to evangelize, just through a different way without ordination.” Seirin, or Leid, closing her navy blue eyes again in concentration before taking his forearm “I’m still waiting for my daily verses, Father. I hope you haven’t forgotten.”

 

Ah, that’s right. The daily verses were their “tip of the days” to strengthen faith. He had forgotten, and decided to just say what came first to his mind and rolled off the tongue, “Blessed are those who die heroically in battle, for theirs is the seats of Valhalla.” He hoped for her to find contentment and solace in that, but her look of deeper concentration and uncertainty told otherwise.

 

“I never understood that one.”

 

That was unexpected, but certainly not unwelcome. Whenever he would give her a daily verse, she would get into a lengthy discourse of said verse, enough to fill out an entire treatise. If she had been any other member of the laity, he would’ve asked her to elaborate, but her thoughts were impossible to know. He tried. Still, he did not want her to be too bothered, and sought to distract her instead. “Have you finished your chores?”

 

It worked, and the laywoman had all but forgotten, smiling sheepishly, “all but the gardens and the grounds, Father. I’ll trim those rose bushes now” she ran off, but looked back for a short while with a respectful bow and smile, “Until dinner then, Father.”

 

The old Priest watched her as she walked out the door, and looked back to the altar in contemplation.


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#7 Saralen

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 03:19 AM

II

 

Cold wishes warmed by your hands~ I’m still waiting for you here~,” I sang. This is going to be my next hit, I can tell! Sister will be so proud. :p_hi: I’ll sing it to her first then she’ll give me lots of snuggles and cuddles. That should make her finally go home. The idea was so exciting that I ran for the church.

 

There she was, my cute lovely sister :p_idea:, tending to roses? They’re making her do chores again? Sister doing hard labor is so annoying. They shouldn’t make a lady do that. Actually, they shouldn’t make my sister do that. Making her do chores means less time with me! :pif: Why can’t they cut their own roses or mow their own lawns? My poor sister. Why can’t she just come home? Oh well, at least she’s here, safe and sound. Sneaking closer, I made sure to be very extra quiet to not disturb her, before pouncing and covering her eyes with my hands. “Guess who?”

 

She grinned and then laughed. I like it when sister laughs. “Is it my vewy cute and adowable twin bwother?” Sister turned around and hugged me, and gave a peck on my cheek. Hooray, I got a kiss. I gave her back another kiss before she let go, turning around and cutting another rose. Aww. “What are you doing here, Hsui?”

 

“I’m not allowed to see my sister anymore, especially since she wouldn’t go home?” I pouted. Leid turned back and set her basket of roses aside and touching my face. I leaned into her touch, my cold, pale skin against the rosy flushed warmth of her hand, and closed my eyes. I missed this. I missed her. At least I know she’s safe from whoever or whatever it was that wanted to hurt her. Her silence assured me.

 

“Soon, I will go back home. I promise,” I sensed some hesitation while she twirled a lock of her corn silk blonde hair, a contrast to my own muddy brown “it’s just not safe yet.”

 

“What about our new house?” When I came back two months ago, I had the deed to a new house in Alberta. I bought it as a present for her. She always loved the sea, but our shack in Izlude just wouldn’t be good to live in forever.

 

“It’s your house, Hsui, not ours,” she said “I don’t think your destined wife-to-be would be too pleased sharing her home with another woman, even if it is her sister-in-law. Plus, I’d rather not be a guest in my own home.”

 

A great idea came into my head, “why don’t I marry sister instead? We’ll be together forever and ever!” I hugged and cuddled my sister while she put down her rose basket then petted my head and giggled.

 

“You say the cutest things. Come here, you little rascal.” Waaah.

 

She gave my head a short rub like a noogie and kissed my forehead. Wow, how did I get so lucky? I must be very kissable today. Eager, I puffed up my cheeks hoping she’d kissed them, and she did. I can’t bring my sister to the house, but at least I can get her out, even for a little while, “shwister, can we go on a date today? Pwetty pwease?” Leid looked hesitant, but I was laying on our special little language a little thick, so…

 

3…

 

2…

 

1…

 

“Oh, alright,” hooray! I get to go on a date with my cute sister “I suppose it wouldn’t cause any harm to be outside the Sanctuary’s area for one day,” she said, holding my hands and giving them a soft squeeze “but we can’t stay outside too long, and we are not going too near to the city guards or notice boards.” She smiled and gave me another peck, this time just to the side of my lips. “Give me ten minutes to get ready.”

-

 

“When the bird goes ‘coo coo coo’ that’s when I know I want a well baked cookie too~”

 

Ah, I love the sound of applause and cheers. After a low bow, I took my trusty green whistle and blew on it. I’m surrounded by friends, and my sister is with me; it couldn’t get any better than this. That little concert was fun, but I needed to catch a break, so I sat down on the grass and patted the ground right beside me. The air on South Prontera Field was always lively with people, but sister didn’t seem to like the idea at first when I told her where we were going for a date. I didn’t understand because she usually loved outdoors and nature, but she agreed after some pouting and puppy dog eyes.

 

After a while, my friends crowded around me, but sister sat down close by, not fully in the circle but just a few steps away. They were still hooting and clapping when one of the guys came up and spoke up, “hey, Hsui, who’s the girl? Is she your girlfriend?”

 

“No, she’s my twin sister, you dingus. Isn’t it obvious?” I glared, but I guess it wouldn’t be. My sister is too beautiful to have a body double, but I come a close second as her twin at least. The beauty she has is just too limiting for this sinful earth. Why, she- “ow!”, my sister glared at me after getting closer and jabbing me on the hip, but why? Leid crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes at me. Waaah. :p_omg: Another stern glare made me shrink before I finally got it. She didn’t like me saying mean words, even if they’re not really mean and meant for friends. “Sorry.”

 

Their reactions were silent. I know, I’d be in awe too if I could be twins with the most beautiful woman in the world. Then they all pealed with laughter, with one guy, I think his name was Cyril, exclaiming, “No! She actually looks normal and alive. Does that mean she’s also a living dead?” Oh. That’s…true. How can I even look like my sister? I have dull brown hair, deathly pale skin, and my eyes aren’t even normal. They made me look like I lived in Niflheim instead of being anything similar to my loving twin. Can we even really be called twins? Maybe I’m just not cute enough to be beside Leid and that’s why she wouldn’t come home. :p_sad:

 

Suddenly, their laughing dies out and I wondered why. Leid appeared in my line of sight the next second, grappling a knife in her hand. Where did that come from; her pocket? She’s going to stab him! I ran after her to make her stop, and tell her that it’s okay, but not one step when they raised their weapons…and she went past them.

 

She stabbed the knife straight into the Argiope’s head, but not before wounding it’s left feeler. Someone must have stepped on a dead branch and summoned it. It was a usual occurrence in the south field. Sister grunted and pushed her knife in, and I knew the short battle was in the bag. I closed my eyes and waited while I heard bug juice gush out. When I opened them again, I saw her put the knife back in her pocket, brandished back into its small case and her skirt pocket. That was awesome! Go sister! Go sister! Go sister! I ran and gave her a hug and she returned it. Aww. But is she okay? What if poison got to her? I definitely heard some bug juice spray at her, and her dress looks messy now.

 

“I’m okay, sweetie. Big sister’s tougher than you think.” Her eyes were now dimmer than before, but she smiled, so that was okay. I love it when sister smiles; it makes her look more lovely. After that, she went to Cyril and stood on her toes to be taller. “Please apologize to my brother. Your words were unnecessary and will deprive you of grace, I am certain of it.”

 

That whole stunt must have intimidated Cyril, because he came up to me and apologized. “Sorry, dude” before saying more softly “Baldr’s boots! Your sister is scary as faen, pal.” She was not! I stopped myself from jabbing him because sister was staring at me, but one day… All I could do was nod and sat back down, blowing on my trusty green whistle again. Sister sat down too, same as she had awhile ago, but her legs were leaning outside the circle now. This date just became horrible. :p_sick: I should have taken her somewhere else.

-

 

“Oh, here. I know how much you love my homemade milk biscuits. Eat them slowly because I won’t be able to bake anymore until I have more ingredients.” Leid took out something from her pocket. It was a checkered pink and violet cloth tied with a striped ribbon. I unwrapped it and inside were the biscuits she made for me. Aww. I’m never eating these and going to save them forever and ever.

 

It was true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. The sun set too soon. I need more sister lovey-dovey time. Everyone started leaving and soon we had to go back before dusk. Sister was very clever. She avoided guards by scaling the city wall. :p_omg: She took me to the room she was staying in at church, but not before picking up the basket of roses she left in the shade. Who were they for? Are they for another man? Noooo! I told her other men were bad and want to hurt her, like that jerk ex of hers. The only good thing he ever did was show her how other men can be mean and hurtful. Hmph.

 

“These roses would make a wonderful centerpiece for the table. The beggars and orphans would love them. I always tell them to take one home, but maybe there’s not enough.” Oh. My sister is so kind and generous. She really is too beautiful for this sinful earth. :p_love: “Too bad it’s not blooming season anymore though.” Are those people dumb? They don’t need to worry about some dumb old flower. They’ll be in awe of the sight of my marvelous everlasting sister. Sister’s loveliness and charm were so distracting that flowers will wilt because they’re jealous.

 

“Hsui? Hsui? Midgard to Hsui, are you there, Hsui?”

 

“Aaah?” Oh no! I missed whatever sister was saying. :sob:

 

She giggled –giggled!- and rubbed my head again. Her hand felt so good :p_hi: “I said you’re free to join me and the orphans for dinner. I feel that it would do them good to see someone else who survived and grew up from being a war orphan…that, and I missed you,” she said that last part with a blush while looking away. Awww. My sister misses me! I scooped her up and spun her around. “Hahaha~” that melodious laugh is the muse of my songs “okay Hsui, you can stop now. If you don’t, I’m not letting you stay over the night.”

 

Ahhh…noooooooooo! I forgot. I guess I was having such a good time I forgot to tell her the other reason why I came to her. I slumped and wanted to just roll on the floor and cry. Sister wants me to stay over the night but I can’t, because tomorrow…

 

“Silly, I already know. You leave tomorrow for more adventures, this time in the east continents. You wrote that in your last letter before you returned.” Leid held my hand to keep me up and kept her toothy grin, “just wake up early tomorrow. I promise I’ll be up even earlier to see you off in Izlude. The night-shift city guards are especially lazy,” she said before humming something, a familiar melody “If you miss me, just hum that berceuse I made for you, okay? I gave it to you, so no matter where in the worlds you are, it’ll remind that I will always think of you, because I ‘wuf’ you.”

 

I wuf you too, shwister. I hug her tight and glomp her to the floor while she laughed and kept petting my head.

 


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#8 Saralen

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:47 PM

Note: the above chapter does not reflect the reality of the story, with some exceptions :p_laugh:


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#9 Saralen

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:59 PM

III

 

 

Seirin could swear if her mouth dropped to the floor she wouldn’t feel a single crack. The sight before her was just too unreal and disconcerting.

 

Riiiiiiiidiiiiiiiiiii, Pagliiiiaaaaacciiioooooo~.”

 

Her expression belied contradicting sympathy and disbelief on the dramatics unfolding before her and she didn’t know what to do, so she settled for just burying her face in her hands. Why was she here again?

 

Sul tuo aaamoooooore infraaaaaaaaaantooooo!

 

Oh right, she wanted to experience the Kafra Centenary Festival, which by its name, celebrates every 100 years the Kafra Corporation continuously existed, roughly to be believed the same year Aldebaran was founded. Sure, it was unsafe to be seen outside, but she wouldn’t miss this for the end of the world. She certainly never heard of such a shrill tenor though, but a part of her kind of expected it, considering the singer.

 

Riiiiiidiiiiiiii del duuoool, che t’avveleeeeenaaaaaaa il cooooooor!

 

Stray pieces of confetti blew just past her, probably from another stall or exhibit. The bell then rang three times as the clock tower of Aldebaran struck the third hour of afternoon.

 

The Maestro on the stage plopped white pasty paint on his face, making him more look like a funny ghost than a sad clown with his hay-colored strands, but it has its charms. With that, the “curtain”, or whatever it actually was when outdoors, drew to a close for intermission.

 

Worn down from the unbelievable performance she’d just seen, Seirin stood and donned her borrowed wimple, discreetly trying to stretch out her muscles from the atrophy of sitting still too long. She’d love to watch the rest of the opera, but there was still so much to be seen, to be done, and she couldn’t wait another 100 years just to do the things she missed at this festival. Excusing her way out from the rest of the remaining audience, she walked out to the aisle and caught the eye of the main actor who had come out of the stage side. He met eye to eye with her as he waved his hand in greeting. “Hey, Le-” Ack!

 

The laywoman forced herself to smile at the Maestro immediately, but it must have come out awkward that his smile dropped halfway. She tried to remedy this by slowly raising her hand in return but found her wrist held tightly.

 

Seirin? Seirin Leiden? Is that you?”

 

Eh? Her nerves were shot by the sudden approach, awash with fear and panic, but she managed to calm herself down and look at her “captor.”

 

Cal?” A familiar face, one she hadn’t seen in a long while. I...wow, it’s been a long time. Where are your men?” She looked to his side, finding no one accompanying him. How strange. “What are you doing around here? You only ever popped up on days there is WoE, special events or not.

 

WoE, a colloquial slang for War of Emperium. Formally promulgated last year in February by the late king and General Ministry. The War of Emperium was a total hit with the adventurers of Rune-Midgard, becoming what adventurers call ‘endgame.’ However, it wasn’t until a week after the Renewal Reformation Law was implemented that Cal came out of the woodwork, into the scene as a rising star, first as the beacon of independent, grassroots guilds, then involving himself in the internally infamous Alliance Wars, going back and forth between indie and allied. He defied convention on so many ways; with such feats, many idolized or scorned him. How Seirin and he knew each other was a different story, however, but needless to say her persistence back in the day won him over as a “friend”, complete with dubious implication.

 

You- you’re…,” he raised his hand, reaching out to her in bewilderment as though she was different from when they last saw each other, before setting it back down. She couldn't think of anything to say to him, and so did nothing except to tuck back in a stray lock of her hair. He was never one for conversation, in fact, she had once bluntly said that he sucked at it. He immediately said something to remove the awkwardness between them, “I just checked Nuernberg’s treasury for the day. Are you still interested?”

 

Good old Cal, straight to the point and always blunt, but…

 

Not here, not now. Follow me.” The laywoman took his hand and glanced at the Maestro one last time, who smiled at her again. She raised her other hand and waved a goodbye to him, before leading the leader (heh…) away to a more secluded spot, a coffee table near the north bridge. Both sat down facing each other. The question before hang in the air for a while, before Seirin found herself speaking, “No...I, I don’t. I’m a sworn mendicant now. I have no money to my name, and everything I beg for goes to the Prontera Sanctuary.”

 

The statement must have shocked him or not sunk in, as he did not say anything, until he actually just laughed. “I can’t even. You, Seirin Leiden,” he paused when Seirin interrupted him with a “shh” and a finger to her lips but still he continued “you, the shrewdest, most opportunistic and greediest person I know, who only talked about diamonds and needing more Zeny, are poor as dirt.”

 

First,” Seirin responded while raising one finger “I am not ‘poor as dirt.’ If I were, that would actually be a good thing. Second,” another finger raised “why are you here in Aldebaran, Cal? Don’t tell me it’s because of the Kafra Centenary Festival. You have never been one for special events, even to celebrate Yule in Lutie. Whenever you appear it was always just in the agit realms, never actually in the cities, and after that you just skulk and lurk about God-knows-where.”

 

I’m bored,” he said it with such conviction that he stretched out the “o”, reminiscent of the Pagliaccio awhile ago, and his mouth was turned downward wide open with a loud sigh. This was the respectable guild leader of the ChaoticCalamity guild? Seirin felt sorry for him and his boredom, really she did, and she even understood it, but it was still uncharacteristic of him to just saunter into a crowded town with when there was nothing to gain. She was about to ask him to clarify before her head throbbed and she was forced to rest it on her hand, lowering her wimple to cover her eyes from the heat of the sun. “Ahh…”

 

This did not surprise him, though there was some concern. Seirin?”, he asked, before taking out a bottle of white potion and panacea from his armor just in case “Is it an attack? Are you tired?”

 

No, no, I, ah, haven’t had an attack in two months. My vision isn’t blurring either. Put those away, you know they don’t help. It’s probably just the heat.” Seirin cleared her throat and interrupted him just as he was about to speak, you don’t have tell me. Your reasons are your own, I’m sure. Whatever they are, let’s just enjoy the festival for the rest of the day. You go that way,” she pointed over his shoulder “and I’ll go this way” she changed with her thumb pointing to her back.

 

He understood those words, mixed with dismissal and apology, and turned his way. Before he left, he asked her one more thing, “are you also still bored?” but he did not wait for her answer and went on his way.

 

I’m grateful only to be alive. You won’t understand that yet,” she answered ruefully long after he was gone.

 

-

Roughly around the same time inside the halls of Prontera Sanctuary, Father Bamph was bowing before an altar where a cup stood nestled in precious cloths. His eyes were closed and his hands were folded in prayer; his forehead creased with urgent fervor over the many petitions he must pray. The time of troubles and tribulations that were destined to come, the billions of souls that would be lost, the hardheartedness of those who refuse to understand. However, his prayers did not stave his attention from noticing that someone was behind him, and had been for quite awhile. “Biscuss, what is it?”

 

Is there really no other way? If we could just ask the crown, or the General Ministry, they would gladly send adventurers our way.” The younger Priest had been waiting to say something, standing still trying to wait for the right moment. His face conveyed of much trouble and deep thought.

 

Father Bamph did not get up, but bowed even lower before the altar until he was kowtowing to it as his forehead touched the floor. “It’s already beyond our hands, but that is the way God has meant it. The crown would sooner help themselves than us. There is already friction between the temporal and spiritual spheres of this world.”

 

But the younger one would have none of it, and bravely stepped forward. “If we only surrendered to their wishes, they would come to our aid! As we speak, the royal families are conveying together to plan out about the approaching events, and more of the clergy’s potential are dwindling everyday. We have plenty of Crusaders and Paladins, or we could ask from the Chivalry for Knights to aid us. What is just one loss?”

 

Biscuss!” It was that which Father Bamph finally bellowed, his loud voice echoed throughout the entire chapel. “Hold your tongue. You don’t know what you are saying. Showing anything but mercy would be against our creed.” That was enough to keep Father Biscuss from saying anything more. Silence followed, before the older Priest continued, come kneel beside me, Biscuss. We have a lot to pray for.”

 

Father Biscuss obeyed, and knelt too before the altar. “What are we praying for, Father?” The title felt strange, as he has not called the older man that after ordination.

 

Salvation, Biscuss. We are praying for salvation.”


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#10 Saralen

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 11:23 PM

IV

 

~A few days ago…

 

Has the state of emergency been lifted yet?” Father Bamph looked at the younger man, his face serious rather than the usual calm and inviting demeanor. “The crown saw it fit to exclude us from the investigation though clearly we’re at the center of it. His Holiness and I wish for the case to be resolved before rumors and fear spreads.”

 

The other spoke with an even monotone, “no, Father. My informants from the palace tell me that the Crown has no plans of lifting the declaration in the foreseeable future.”

 

By informants, I presume you’re speaking of your doubles working for the palace.”

 

We don’t speak to each other during our jobs. It’s a common courtesy drilled into our family. There is someone there who is known for her tongue in taste and gossip,” the agent spoke, removing his sunglasses and hanging them by the pocket of his dress shirt.

 

The older Priest took his words with a grain of salt, taking note of the agent’s red hair, “So that’s how it is. An entire family would fall apart without trust; were that even a family that raises entire generations as a lucrative espionage and security ring that sells their services even to opposing sides.”

 

We do what we must to put bread on the table,” the agent returned neutrally, though there was some underlying wounded pride “one relief is that we do not hand our services to extreme factions as most mercenaries do.”

 

May Odin bless your family for being sensible and wise. On the matter at hand, it’s been three months since the disappearances started. We are approaching a critical time in our history, and we don’t need those who could help vanishing like this and being found dead the next day,” not one to mince words, Father Bamph sighed and picked up a paper on his desk, scanning its contents. “As I see it, we have no choice but to conduct our own investigation without alerting the Crown. The names on this paper worry me. To date, there are 34 missing within the last month and 6 the first week of this month alone. It’s alarminf that some of them are very familiar.”

 

The agent approached the Priest closer and pointed to all the names, skimming his finger throughout the list. “With all due respect, Father, they should. All of those victims have two patterns in common.” And one by one, he began to recite all the names and details.

 

With each passing name, Father Bamph paled. It was one thing to read it, but another to have someone tell him about it. The gravity of the situation was very dire, but he made sure to pay attention to each name, remarking every once in a while if something was off.

 

Remove Edith Schweiz from the list. I know with certainty that Sister Schweiz had no link to the disappearances. I’ll have one of the clerks make a separate profile and file it in the Sorin Investigation.”

 

I noticed that at some of the dates, 2 would disappear at the same day. I remember on August 8 that Sister Aohara was together with Sister Solahilde, the same day both disappeared. Remove Aohara Satsuki, Shang Weiyu, Lucia Magallhaes, and all expatriates from that list. I have a feeling that those five were only victims due to missionary work with their partners as converts. Keep Ju Yi Jeon of Payon on the list.”

 

Frederick Cohburg and Nicolai von Schonnbrun…it’s troubling how they died unusually from the rest of the victims. May God bless their souls and accept them to Valhalla. An Acolyte and a Priest, but the others so far are all High Priests or Archbishops. Are they also the only males in the whole list? If so, remove their names.”

 

After all the names and details like age, job class, and date of body recovery were done, Father Bamph sat down and closed his eyes in deep thought, before looking at the agent and commenting, “I’m surprised Brother Moohae didn’t encounter this sort of problem, or had he?”

 

The agent was as stoic as ever, putting his shades back on before tacitly replying, “I have no direct sources of information on that regard, but there is hearsay from St. Capitolina that at least five Champions were successively found dead, and as with the list, the victims all died of poisoning except one which died of strangulation and all were female.”

 

Tell me, were the poisoned victims showing any unusual side effects? Skin marks or anything of the sort?” Unsettled, the old Priest asked his agent. Everything hinged on this answer. The silence between both men was heavy with carefully masked fear and apprehension.

 

None of the victims...except the Canoness Balthild, the former superior of Cardinal-elect Germain. She was also the highest ranking victim on the list, which I’m sure you’re aware of, Father. She had strange marks on her back, like that of...feathers. Unfortunately, there is no more information due to the canon law stating…”

 

“…that no one under the counsels may be autopsied.” Father Bamph continued for him, standing up and turning to close the curtains of the window but not looking back after “the names on the list were some of the most prodigious clergy in terms holy and spiritual power.”

 

The agent had not been able to pick up on it, and his neutral demeanor broke for a moment when he asked, “if that were true, Father, how come the Archbishops Fiona and Dania were not targeted?”

 

Both have gone and already disappeared into obscurity, but I doubt that was why. Popularity in the eyes of the laity has nothing to do with power, my son. If you were to remove the expatriate converts and males, and include the Champions’ casualty, you’d see that all the intended victims were clergywomen”, resigned to exhaustion with a sigh, the Priest continued “not just ordinary clergywomen, but those exclusively under the vows of the counsels, at least for those who are Priest-class. Non-adventurers. Even Sister Sorin and Sister Yuufa were unqualified for the vows. Only the most gifted were ordained to take on the vows. The counsels belonged to the mid-tier and high-tier echelons of the clergy. The disappearances were not random, but after you confirmed the marking of the canoness’ body, my fears were realized. I have a feeling who the next victim will be, but I’m not sure of the perpetrator yet. I need to know for certain, someone needs to investigate and guard the potential target if it’s not already too late.”

 

Just say the word, Father, and I would be on my way to uncover the matter.”

 

No, it would be a loss to send you or anyone else in this case. Your talents for espionage would do no good if the offenders really are who I think they are. As for this matter, I can only think of one person who could do this now,” he said, before growing quiet once more and pinching the bridge of his nose “the time of hiding has come to end, and mercy to the ones who come in the path of the ‘Stellar Spear.’”

 

~September 21, 999

 

Frowning, Seirin couldn’t help but feel out of place while listening to the cantata outside. Was it karma or something for sneaking out some days ago to see the festival? What bothered her the most, however, was why she was summoned. She just knew what was going to happen, right after another black suit (a.k.a. agent) told her that Father Bamph wanted the “Stellar Spear” back. Some part of the back of her brain couldn’t help but wonder what she had even done to earn such a strange moniker, one of the noms de guerre that preceded her and had (unwillingly) adopted as a title. But the even bigger question was that what had happened that Father Bamph had invoked her service once again. It’s not like she would have refused but…

 

The sight of her old armaments and armor on the altar was unnerving, and here she was in civilian clothes as an asylum refugee. Today seemed to be the last day though.

 

“Marshal Leiden,” the title made her want to shrink, crawl under the Priest’s desk, and just die; she was never one for formalities, especially from her elders “I think you already know why you have been called here.”

 

Dumbfounded, all she could do was reply, “no, Father.”

 

“You also do voluntary work here, yes? You took it upon yourself to be an assistant mentor to Acolytes, though you knew nothing about the way of the clergy. You also had a brief stint at being the chorale master. Your most notable task, however, was being the all-around groundskeeper”, Father Bamph said, waiting before determining that the young woman really was stumped “such as the chores of gardening…interning and undertaking.”

 

Preparation for the rites of the dead? Yes, she had at least buried or cremated ninety, maybe a hundred, dead in the span of time she had been under sanctuary. It was the least she could do, but what did that have to do with anything?

 

“What I say in this room must not leave these very walls”, and so the Priest explained the entire event, the disappearances, the investigation, and the conclusions. With each passing sentence, Seirin’s face became graver with her flushed coloration becoming paler. Nevertheless, she absorbed it all in with a steady countenance. What caught her attention however, were his last words, “I feel that Sister Bonnie’s life is in danger, if it really is ‘them’ are perpetrating of this heinous crime. I didn’t worry about it before, but now I must.”

 

Feeling a bit withdrawn rather than scared, Seirin asked him, “why me?”

 

It was Father Bamph’s turn to sigh, and with serious lamentation, he told her the entire situation at hand. “Sister Bonnie and her family should have arrived back here in Prontera 3 weeks ago for resettlement. We were in correspondence, but she stopped answering letters the week before she was due to move back,” he paused then continued “I had thought she was only preoccupied with packing arrangements. Now we may have waited too long. I sent an Acolyte two days ago to check on Sister Bonnie’s old residence; I thought it safe since it was in a relatively populated part of the city, but he has since not returned. I don’t know if she is still alive, but only you would be able to find out due to your close involvement with the affair…and out of all the Crusaders and Paladins who became Royal Guards, you were the only one who remained within the fold of God than serve mortal men.”

 

A short brief pause, before his hand landed armor lay in waiting,“so I am now asking you, will you resume your duties as the arm of the Church, Marshal Leiden?”

 

Seirin didn’t hesitate for second and approached the altar, picking up the long forgotten Imperial Spear and Hallowed Long Horn. She waved each spear, trying to see if the feel was still the same as the day she “retired.” Here she was, safe inside the walls of the Sanctuary. Would she be willing to risk losing it all and then some for her love to the faith? She did not even have to ponder on such thoughts while her fingers grazed over the Imperial Shield. “I-”

 

“Father!”

 

The two were interrupted, shock on their faces as a gasping young Priest was leaning and grasping the doorway, out of breath and stricken with what could only be fright. Father Bamph walked over and steadied him, casting Heal and a few standard buff spells. “What is it?”

 

“There…there’s a…a commotion at the culverts! You…haah...need to see. Another one…an Acolyte…”

 

Drawing out the worst possibility, Father Bamph looked back at Seirin. The ex-adventurer stared back and spoke at last, “go. I’ll follow soon. I can’t resume my militant duties in civilian clothes, can I?”

 


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#11 Saralen

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 11:25 PM

Writer’s Commentary: In the previous chapter, the player of whom Cal is based from is pretty obvious, at least if you’re into the WoE scene. In reality, he’s somewhat more taciturn, but he can be a tad melodramatic if his hair isn’t pulled at once in a while to bring him back to reality. He and I are not as close as Seirin and Cal are, if you can call that “friendship” between those two fictional characters “close.”

 

I think I once wrote before how I tried to analyze the calendar system of the game, and stuck to the Gregorian Calendar model due to the existence of Zodiac items, and Kiel Hyre’s letters validating the existence of “August.” As for the year numbers, it’s more complicated than that. Midgard is a pretty big world, and not everyone is on the year 999. You’ll see what I mean in the future. Of course, being such a story where all the details aren’t there without the past, there are chapters which jump back and forth in time. In relation to episode, it’s basically “one episode=one month” to coincide with the manhwa (e.g. Episode III Comodo occurs for all of January 998). Sub-episodes can last from a week to fifteen days depending on length. The only exception is Episode I, which lasted longer.

 

First post has been edited to inform updating timetable.


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