Disclaimer: I do not own Fire Emblem. No profit is being made from this story.
The Dread Isle was supposed to be a place that no man returned from alive. No ships would go there. But when Hector's quest to help his best friend involved going there, it was up to their tactician to figure out a way to not only get there, but survive. It wasn't just this, though. It was everything that Hector had to go through, and right there, right at his side, stood the tactician. Every time a problem arose, that lady had a plan. She had insight no one could possibly have, and all without any answers as to how or why. So it came as no surprise to anyone in Hector's entire entourage that eventually, her body could carry on no longer. The group immediately set up camp right where she slumped over.
Hector had a hard time holding still. He helped fix fires up around the camp for those who needed it, and kept pacing back and forth. He knew that time was of the essence, and that he needed to get back to Lycia as quickly as possible to report to his brother. At one point, he pondered carrying her over his shoulder. He was strong enough to carry her, for sure.
"Calm yourself, milord," Hector's loyal knight, Oswin, said from close by. "Worry will only kill your own nerves."
"How can I be calm?" Hector asked. "The one person who has had enough damn sense to lead this army has passed out cold. We could be attacked at any moment, and I fear that-"
"That without Lady Aurora's piercing clarity, you will not be able to achieve victory?" Oswin asked calmly.
Hector reached back and scratched his short, dark blue hair. He didn't even need to answer that question. Oswin had been his faithful retainer for practically all his life, serving Ostia's royal family dutifully. He looked back at the heavily-armored spearman with an expression of frustrated helplessness, then went back to pacing back and forth.
"You have relied on her all-seeing eyes too much, milord," Oswin said. "No one knows where her power comes from, and no one knows how long it will last. Lady Lyndis told us of how she met Lady Aurora, and the events around it are very mysterious." Oswin took in a deep breath. He wasn't sure of how to say his next thought. The hesitation caught Hector's attention enough to make him stop walking back and forth to give him a sharp glare. "Sire, we may have to press on without her."
"And leave her to the Black Fang?! We've only escaped the wolves' den, but you know they have power out here!" Hector said. He wanted to shout at Oswin. He wanted to shout at the world. Hector wasn't sure what to feel. "I refuse! She's a part of the army as much as anyone else."
"You wouldn't set up camp if any other person in this army passed out cold," Oswin thought aloud. His voice did not sound snarky. He was a wise middle-aged man, and yet, Hector felt like those words were challenging him somehow. "Come now, milord. I've not seen this sort of nervousness since milord's day of birth. Your father had that same expression you wear right now. The same gleam in those same deep, dark pools of blue. And imagine, at the time, I was only a squire."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Hector barely sounded like he was asking a question. He sounded so dejected that it was barely a mutter. His heavy footsteps were loud, even in just long grass. "That I look like my father?" He didn't remember his father much anymore. Both his parents died when he was fairly young due to tuberculosis.
Oswin shrugged and turned away. "I will go back on patrol, milord. If you do not know what I speak of, I suppose I'll have to leave you to your thoughts." He picked up his spear again and headed off to the outskirts of camp, where he traded the positions with Marcus, a knight in the service of Phaerae.
Hector crossed his arms and before he could get back to pacing, he was approached by a young woman with pink hair holding a healing staff. "Serra?" he asked. "What's the news?"
Serra pushed her pink pigtails back behind her shoulder. "Not a single staff in the whole convoy has any effect," she said, "Even in my marvelous hands." She winked at him.
He wasn't in the mood to handle her flirting. "Thank you, Serra," he said, heading in the direction of Lyn's tent. He knew that Aurora was staying there with the Princess of Caelin, as they had been sharing quarters since they helped free Caelin from Marquess Lous, be it on the pirate ship or at camp.
Right outside Lyn's tent, the redhead Kent sat next to a pot which was releasing steam. Kent looked somber every day of his life, being a knight in the service of Caelin since becoming a squire at a tender age, and even he seemed a bit down. Hector glanced at him him. Normally Lowen would be cooking. This struck Hector as odd, but he didn't stop to think about it at all. Before Hector had the chance to enter the tent, Kent pulled the ladle from the pot and held it out in front of the entrance flap.
"My lady Lyndis has asked for no visitors," Kent said quietly. "I can't let you in, Lord Hector."
Hector tried to stare Kent down. Kent stood up and silently insisted right then and there that Hector not try to pass him. If there was one thing that Hector knew about Kent, it was that he regarded Lyn's words as law, and there was no going against them in Kent's presence.
"You're here to check on our lady tactician," Kent added.
"Of course I am," Hector said, his annoyance finally starting to come out.
"…and here I thought you were going to just wait until things got better," a woman's voice came from inside the tent. The flap opened and there stood Lady Lyn, princess of Caelin. She was resoundingly beautiful from her long emerald hair to her clear blue eyes. "But it is good that you stopped by, oh noble leader." She smiled at him.
Hector put his hands on his hips. "Why… do people always get this impression that I don't care?" he asked, looking directly at Lyn.
"Because," Lyn said gently, "You're the brutish Lord Hector, that's why."
"How is Aurora?" Hector asked, not even giving Lyn the chance to tease him any further. He wasn't coming to make idle chatter. He was concerned, and the loyalty that he swore to live by when he was a child led him this way.
"Come see for yourself," Lyn said, nodding to Kent so that he would let Hector inside her tent.
Inside, it smelled like all sorts of herbs. On one side was an empty cot, and on the other was a cot where a small woman with light brown hair lay under a blanket. She seemed like she was sleeping, but nothing could wake her up. There were all sorts of medicines and magical healing staves lying about the tent, leftover from the ones who tried to use magic to wake the lady.
Hector let out a sigh. "No difference," he muttered.
"No," Lyn said weakly. "Though now I believe I have an idea as to why Aurora was on the Sacae Plains…"
"What do you mean?" Hector asked.
"I found Aurora on the plains. That's how we met," Lyn replied.
"Yes, I know of that story," he said.
"Well, when I found her, she was just like this," Lyn added, walking over to Aurora's side. "She slept an entire two days in my home before she woke up. It leads me to believe that… it might be some sort of sickness."
Hector felt his eyes widen in shock from hearing such a theory.
Sickness, he thought. Why was it that everyone he grew close to got sick? The thought left him feeling empty. Everyone has a sickness. Mother, Father… even my Lord Brother has a sickness… Wait!
He turned to look down at the team's tactician, and put his gloved hand onto her shoulder. "It's all right, Aurora," he said. "My brother has a team of doctors. Rest as long as you need. I will carry you to Ostia if I must." He tried to smile, but he couldn't bring himself to. "Even if you have to sit the rest of this war out, we all still owe you a great debt. We will take care of you like you have taken care of us." He closed his eyes.
"Ah, Lord Hector, you don't have to go such great lengths for me."
When Hector opened his eyes, he saw that Aurora's were open, too. She looked a little weak, but she was awake again. He ran his hand through her hair a few times. "Damn it," he said, "You had me scared there."
"Not just Hector," Lyn said. "We were all worried for you."
"Worried for me?" Aurora asked, pushing herself up with her hands. She sat up, but it was obvious to both Hector and Lyn that she was not ready to stand yet. "And here I felt like I wasn't important at all."
"You're our tactician," Lyn said, crossing her arms. "Of course we were worried about you!"
"Bah," Aurora said, looking up at Hector. "I only give advice. I don't actually lead this group or anything. It's amazing you stopped and waited for me. I wouldn't have stopped and waited for me. With camp set up, we have to wait until morning to get going again." She pointed up at Hector. "Dumb decision."
"That's why I- …I mean, that's why we need you," Hector replied gently. He wasn't used to being like this, but it wasn't something he had to try to do. He was naturally being soft, and it really caught him off guard. "Because I know you're more logical than I can ever be."
Aurora smiled. "You have the bigger heart," she said.
Lyn looked at the both of them and sat down on her cot. "I suppose I should leave the two of you alone, then," she grunted.
"Oh, oh no," Aurora said, blushing, "I'm not, err, that is, we're not…"
"Now that I know you're all right, I think I can clear out easily enough," Hector said, turning to leave. "If you're feeling up to it, let's go take a walk later."
"I'd like that." Aurora let herself slump back into the cot. She might have been awake, but she was still very tired. She yawned a few times. "I… I'm feeling a bit dizzy now."
Lyn watched Hector walk out of the tent, and Aurora slip into a nap again. Lyn wondered what exactly it was she felt when she noticed that Hector and Aurora were staring into each other's eyes like lovebirds and why it made her want to walk away. She didn't think she was jealous of Aurora, after all, Lyn had absolutely no interest in Hector whatsoever. If Aurora wanted Hector like that, who was Lyn to stop her? Especially when Hector looked like he could sweep her off her feet at a moment's notice?
Lyn did her best to lock those feelings away. When her beloved Grandfather was to pass, she was going back to Sacae. That was it, plain and simple. That was her home, period. That was her home.
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