How to Speak Honestly
The curtain swayed in the cold night breeze as I stared into the fireplace. I watched it flicker in a complete daze. After a long day of studying, I know it started to take a toll on me. I felt completely drained, and I couldn’t find the strength to get up from the comfy chair I sat on. A book full of tactical exercises began to slip out of my hand, but I did nothing to stop it. I could hear Emm humming softly to herself as she worked on her small cross-stitching project she decided to do not too long ago. It kind of amazed me that she found time to do such a thing (well, when you think about how she was the Exalt of Ylisse). I felt the book finally slip out of my hands and land on the floor with a loud thump!
Emm’s humming suddenly stopped with a sharp gasp. I heard her heave a sigh as I imagined the look of surprise on her face (not that I was trying to surprise her) melt into relief. I didn’t bother to move and just allowed my eyes to close drowsily. The soft footsteps of the Exalt told me that she no longer worked on her cross-stitching. I felt a hand rest on my wrist and gave it a tiny shake.
“Robin,” came Emm’s gentle voice, “Robin, you shouldn’t sleep here.”
I pretended to sleep on, not wanting to get up. I heard her sigh and felt her other hand rest on my shoulder.
“Robin, I won’t hesitate to get Chrom here to carry you to bed again,” she threatened me. I mentally rolled my eyes. Oh, let him come. I didn’t care. I was too tired to even care. Emm laughed lightly and I could hear her hair sway back and forth as she shook her head, “Oh, Robin, what am I going to do with you? I swear Lissa’s stubbornness is rubbing off of you.”
I wanted to give her a pointed look, but my eyes refused to open. Was I really that tired? I didn’t use any of my magic today, nor did I have any form of sparring with Chrom today, so why?
“Emm, have you seen Robin? He wasn’t in his roo-Oh. There he is,” said a new voice. I recognized the voice in a flash. I heard that voice so many times for the past eight years that I could never forget it. The voice was low baritone full of a reassurance that many never really seemed to notice. It was the voice of a person who always managed to break something while swinging a practice sword around.
Slowly, I forced myself to open my eyes. My vision was blurred at first, but it cleared up in a few seconds. Emmeryn was standing next to me, her hands still on my wrist and shoulder. She wasn’t looking at me though. I shifted my gaze to the open doorway of the room and breathed a small sigh.
A tall teenager in his late teens stood there with his hands on his hips. He had a smirk on his face as our eyes caught each other. I tried to offer a small smile, but I could tell it didn’t work.
“Robin? You okay?” Chrom asked, moving away from the door. Emm frowned a little and squeezed my shoulder a little bit.
“Chrom, I think it’s happening again. Can you help him to his room?” she asked him. Chrom’s smile faltered for a moment, but he was quick to recover.
“Yeah, I can do that.” he said. Darn Chrom. I rolled my eyes and finally found the strength to move. I pulled my wrist away from Emm’s grip and politely pushed the hand on my shoulder away.
“I’m fine, Emm. Just tired.” I told her as she gave me her worried look. Ugh, how I hated seeing that look in her eyes! Why did I always make her worry? Shouldn’t Chrom scare her more because of his bad habit of getting caught up in something weird? I gave her a smile to help her ease her worry.
“Really, stop worrying, Emm. I’ll be fine after a good night’s rest.” I promised her. Chrom placed a hand on Emm’s shoulder to help me out (or maybe not?).
“Don’t worry, Emm, I got him.” he said. The Exalt thanked Chrom with a pat on his hand and took a couple steps back to give me some room. I felt a small amount of my strength return and I was able to get up with just a hint of difficulty. My legs felt like jelly, but Chrom had a hand on my shoulder to steady me before I could stumble over. I gave him a thankful glance as I bowed slightly to Emm.
“I’ll see you tomorrow?” I asked her. Emm nodded.
“Of course.” She said with a smile. She turned to Chrom, “Take care of yourself and Lissa, alright? I know Frederick and Sully will keep the both of you safe, but I want you to be careful, Chrom.”
“I hear you, Emm. You’ve been saying that all day that even Lissa won’t forget,” he said. Emm shook her head.
“It never hurts to repeat something more than once,” she said as she placed a hand on her hip. The Prince of Ylisse grimaced slightly. For a moment there, I was reminded of a day when we were younger. Chrom and I were constantly warned by his - excuse me, our - older sister, but we never bothered to actually listen to her until Lissa got hurt.
“I got it, Emm! You don’t have to worry about a thing. Besides, Robin-” he gave my shoulder a slight squeeze, “-will be here the whole time.”
“Chrom...” I sighed. He just laughed it off as Emm tilted her head a little. With a small sigh, she gave up.
“Well, I’ve held you two for too long. Good night, Chrom, Robin,” she said as she waved.
“G’night, Emm!” Chrom and I said at the same time as he led me out of the room. Once we were out of earshot, I gave him a look of curiosity.
“Tell me, again,” I began as I felt my body loosen up. I stretched and gripped Chrom’s arm, “just where are you guys going again?”
“Around the smaller towns near the border. I want see how things are doing with the trouble that’s been going on,” he answered. Chrom paused and allowed my body to adjust to reduce any addition strain. I tapped his arm after a moment and we began moving again. It seemed a little odd, but it worked. We came up with this little routine a couple years ago to help with my ridiculously weak body. Most of the time just standing around and waiting the pain out worked the best.
“You mean the bandits?” I asked.
“Yeah, they say that the bandits are trained Plegian soldiers in disguise,” he answered with a sigh. I bit back a frown as he gave me a questioning look, “Has anyone been throwing any insults at you lately? I mean, I know it doesn’t happen when I’m around, but-”
“Chrom,” I said, cutting him off before he could say anymore, “I’m doing fine. No one made any jabs or insults about my ‘filthy’ heritage recently. So, stop worrying about me and focus on other things. I should be the last thing on your mind.”
Chrom and I shared a glance. He knew I was lying, but I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want to come right out and say it. It was true that many Nobles and Council Members that I ran into or just passed by gave me some pretty nasty looks and started nasty rumors about me. I nearly laughed when someone accused me of plotting a scheme to assassinate Chrom.
HAH. As if I had the heart to kill him. Even if someone used him against me, I wouldn’t dare. It would like killing my older brother or something. And...I didn’t think I could handle something like that again. Losing one family was bad enough for a lifetime of nightmares, thank you very much.
“You seriously suck at lying,” Chrom stated rather bluntly, pulling me out of my thoughts. I pushed him slightly with an annoyed look on my face.
“I’m not the only one,” I told him. He only laughed as we continued down the hall. We finally reached my room on the other side of the castle. It was funny how Chrom and I used to share the same room when we were younger. Although, as soon as I turned seventeen, I asked to have my own room. Sure, Emm wasn’t happy, but I didn’t want to accidentally wake up Chrom in the middle of the night... like I had been for four years. Emm eventually gave in and just placed me in a room right across from Chrom’s room. In all honesty, I have no idea if I could even call that a win, but I took it.
Chrom guided me to my bed and I just allowed him to.
Usually, I wasn’t this...wimpy, but just for today I was. Over the last eight years I have lived in this castle, I managed to grow a little stronger. My magic was easy to control, and it was only tiring when I went over my limit. With a mock battle with Chrom, I was able to last a good three minutes before I couldn’t cast another spell.
Which was a good thing, right?
“Hey, I can get my own night clothes,” I said as Chrom moved to my dresser. He hmphed and pulled out a set anyway, tossing them to me.
“Hah, I know for a fact that if I leave you now, you wouldn’t change at all,” Chrom said, turning to leave. “I’ll be back in a bit.”
I rolled my eyes and picked up the clothes. Chrom was a man of his word, so I was pretty damn sure he was going to come back. So, I shrugged off my mother’s coat, kicked off my boots and changed, albeit sluggishly. In fact, if Chrom didn’t hand me the clothes and tell me to change, I really would’ve just slept in my attire.
By the time I finished changing, Chrom walked in, dressed in his own night clothes. He didn’t look at me as he took my mother’s coat and hung it in on a hook on the wall. I would’ve done it myself, but he didn’t let me. Times like these really got on my nerves. Chrom was a prince, and I was a Plegian P-... I mean, a random orphan. Yet, Chrom would lower himself down just go the extra mile for me.
I really hated that.
“I’ll be leaving early tomorrow, so you don’t need to wake up just to see us off,” Chrom said, finally looking at me. I could tell right away that something was bothering him. I already knew what the problem was.
“Chrom,” I said, fully gaining his attention. Chrom tensed, as if preparing himself for something. I smiled.
“Don’t worry about me,” I told him, “Everything is going to be fine, alright? I can handle myself. I’m a Plegian, for Naga’s sake.”
Chrom sighed and plopped himself at the edge of my bed. “But that’s exactly it, Robin. We’re getting older and the tensions with Plegia are getting worse. You live in the Royal Castle with me. If a war breaks out, there’s no telling what would happen to you with or without our protection!”
I rolled my eyes as I stood before him. I placed a hand on my hip and flicked his forehead with my other. “I can’t always let the Royal family stand up for me. You said it yourself, we’re getting older. Look, I know it’s hard, but I’m not that important right now. You need to focus on what a Prince of Ylisse should do.”
Chrom sat silently for a minute, avoiding eye contact with me, “But I-” He stopped, finally looking at me before sighing. “Never mind. You’re right. I’m worrying over something pretty useless, aren’t I?”
I nodded firmly, “Damn right, you are.”
We shared a short laugh as Chrom got up, shaking his head, “You take care of yourself, alright?”
I watched him head to my door. “You, too, brother.”
He finally smiled, “Good night, Robin.”
Chrom left without another word and I sat down the edge of my bed, staring at the door.
“It’s cold!” I complained as I stepped into the river shore with my bare feet. My sister was ahead of me, already knee deep in the water. She laughed and splashed a wave of cold water at me. I squeaked, shielding myself from the onslaught. “Hey!”
“Ahaha! Come on, Robin! The water’s not that bad!” she laughed. I shook my head to dry my hair a little.
“That’s not fair! You got in first,” I said, rubbing my arms as I inched my way to her. My sister moved deeper into the river, reaching to her hips. I shivered as the water crawled up my legs. Strangely enough, I noticed the water’s current was getting faster, and yet the level was getting lower. I looked up to see my sister still smiling without a care in the world, even with the water flowing by her ankles.
Then I saw it.
The waters behind her twisted for a moment before dark shadows emerged from the surface. My sister didn’t notice.
“Ravina!” I yelled, throwing my body into motion. My hand reached for her as my legs splashed across the water. She was there, still smiling, still laughing toward me, unaware of the shadows reaching for her.
“What’s wrong, Robin? You’re-” she couldn’t finish the sentence as the shadows wrapped itself around my sister’s chest. Her eyes widened and her smile dropped. She didn’t dare to look back, throwing a hand toward me instead. The very look in her eyes told me all I needed to know.
Disbelief, refusal, despair, fear... even determination.
“No! I can’t! I can’t leave you! I don’t want to lose you!”
Everything seemed to move slower all of a sudden. My body was sluggish as I reached for her outstretched hand.
“I don’t want to lose you!” my sister yelled, struggling against the binds with a hand.
I was close, so close that I could touch the very tips of our fingers together.
“I don’t want to leave you,” I heard her whisper.
“Ravina!” I gasped, throwing the blankets off of me and reaching for that non existent hand. I sat there for a moment, only to realize that it was all a dream. I was drenched in sweat and I was panting like I ran across the castle gardens. My arm dropped on top of my blanket, and I cringed at the terrible ache in my joints. It was a definite sign that I needed to calm down soon. I clamped my hands together and held them to my chest, silently counting every shuddering breath I took.
I didn’t know how much time passed until I was finally able to really breathe. A wave of dizziness passed over me a few times before settling into a dull headache. I breathed a sigh of relief and fell back into the soft mattress of my bed.
Looking out the window, I took note that the moon had nearly set and the first rays of sunlight were beginning to show at the horizon. Dawn.
I blinked to get my bearings, trying to remember if there was anything important going on today. The memory of the dream flashed across my eyes and I squeezed them shut.
“It’s just a dream. Just a dream...” I muttered to myself. I laid there, letting drowsiness to take me. I nearly fell asleep, something I wanted to do.
Then a horse neighed. My eyes snapped open. I knew that neigh anywhere.
“Chrom!” I remembered. Immediately, I slipped out of bed, practically crumpling to the freezing floor. I cursed silently and picked myself up haphazardly, grabbing my mother’s coat and fumbling with the doorknob. It would’ve been embarrassing if someone was watching, but then I have to remind myself that this was my room. I didn’t share Chrom anymore.
I finally got the door open and rushed into the hall. A few servants were out and about, no doubt trying to get things started before Emm woke up. I somehow managed to make it to the entrance, just in time to see Lissa, Frederick, and Chrom standing there.
“Why do we have to leave so early, Chrom? You said we’d leave after breakfast, not dawn,” Lissa said, clutching her staff as she rubbed her eye. I stopped for a moment and decided to hide a little.
“Sorry, Lissa, but those bandits don’t wait for anyone.” Chrom said as he patted his sister’s head. Lissa brushed him off.
“I know, I know,” she said, “but I wanted to say bye to Robin.” she said, pouting a little. Frederick blinked in understanding.
“Ah, I see, milord,” he said. Chrom looked at him.
“It would be best to leave without bothering Sir Robin, am I correct?” Frederick asked. Chrom nodded.
“Exactly. It would be better to leave before he gets worried. It’s not good for him.” he said. I had enough.
I walked out of my hiding place and approached them casually, “Then get going! The sun will be fully up if you dwindle any longer.”
Lissa’s eyes widened, “Robin! What are you doing so early?”
I smiled at her as she gave me a quick, sibling hug, “Nothing really, just seeing you off.”
Chrom had a small frown on his face while Frederick nodded to me.
“Thank you, Sir Robin,” Frederick said, “We will return here safely in a week.”
I returned the nod, “Of course. Take care of Chrom and Lissa for me.”
Gesturing to Frederick, I grabbed Chrom’s arm and pulled him with me, “Let me borrow him for a minute actually.”
Lissa shook her head, “Of course! Take my dense brother.”
“Wait, what?! But we need to leave-” Chrom began, but Frederick interrupted him, “Don’t worry, Milord, we’ll meet Sully at the entrance and wait for you there.”
“Bye, Robin!” Lissa said, giving me one last hug, “Take care of Emm for us!”
“I will,” I told her as she followed Frederick toward the castle gates. I waited for them to be out of range before turning on Chrom.
“Okay. That’s it. What’s bothering you this time?” I said, not really asking and rather just stating. Chrom spluttered for a moment, his eyes wide. I grinned mentally. I had definitely caught him off guard. He took a moment to recollect himself a bit, but the smile he had on his face was replaced with a slight frown. I crossed my arms and shifted my weight on my left leg.
“Chrom... I know you have something to say again. You just couldn’t say it in front of Lissa.” I said, trying to get him to talk. He sighed and scratched the back of his head.
“Look, I wanted to bring you along, but Emm was completely against it. I mean, I really... don’t want to leave you here,” he said. The memory of my dream suddenly flashed in the back of my head, but I pushed it to the side.
“Chrom, I told you, I’ll be fine. We’ve been over this.” I said.
“Even so. Just talking it over and you claiming that you’ll be fine doesn’t work. Even Lissa is starting to worry, and she’s a cleric,” he said. I bit my lip.
“Well, then what do you want me to do? I can’t...” -go back to Plegia. I trailed off.
He finally sighed in defeat. “I’m just worried, alright? I mean, are you sure no one is insulting you or anything? Because if someone is, you could always go to Emm, and she’ll do something about it.”
“You know I can’t always depend on Emm, Chrom. I’ll just prove that I’m too weak to handle things on my own. Trust me, I’ll be fine. Just worry about Lissa and Frederick, alright?” I said, patting his shoulder with a convincing smile. Chrom frowned in worry.
“Are you sure? I mean, I heard this can get pretty bad when no one’s arou-” I cut him off because I really didn’t want to hear the end of it.
“Just trust me! I’ll be fine. Besides, I have Ricken to worry about since you know how curious he can get. Who knows? I might as well be stuck with him all day.” I said. It was true. Ricken was a thirteen year old boy who had one neck of a huge interest in magic and tomes, he would practically flutter over to me and pester me for half the day about it. He usually appeared when Chrom, Lissa, Emm, or even Frederick weren’t around. Brutally honest, he was annoying, but his gift in magic made up for it. So, in a way, he was like me.
“Alright... I’m only worried because I see you as a brother, Robin. I want to be able to protect all of my siblings - blood related or not,” Chrom said, placing a hand on my shoulder. I laughed a little.
“I see you as a brother, too, Chrom,” I told him. I looked to the sky and brush Chrom’s hand away politely.
“Well! I think it’s about time you get going. The sooner you go, the faster you can get back.” I said with a smile on my face. He laughed.
“You sound like you don’t want to see me,” he said.
“Hey, you were the one who was going to leave without even saying good bye to Emm” I said, placing a hand on my hip.
“Heh, point taken,” Chrom said, “I’ll see you soon.”
I waved as he dashed past me and heading to the entrance. Knowing Lissa’s impatience, Chrom wouldn’t be able hear the end of her complaining about it until the next day.
“Be careful!” I called after Chrom. He hollered an answer over his shoulder.
“You too, Robin!”
I shook my head and began to head back inside. Once I made it to the Grand Hall, I took a moment to breathe. Then, out of no where, a sudden stab of pain flashed through my right hand. It felt like hot lamp oil burning my skin.
“What the-” I cut myself off when I looked at the back of my hand.
There, in dark purple lines, were three eyes staring back at me.
My stomach suddenly dropped and a wave of fear crashed into me. I fell to my knees ungracefully with the sudden overwhelming pressure I felt. My hands shook as I stared at the eyes in horror.
I knew those eyes. Half or not, I knew it. I would recognize them anywhere. I pulled my sleeve over my hand and held it to my chest.
“No...” I breathed, seeing flashes of the girl in my dreams coming back to haunt me, “Ravina...”