Disclaimer: These characters are the property of Game Arts/Working Designs. I receive no money from this, and am doing it for my own amusement.
Kyle, Nash, and Jessica turned in shock, upon hearing Mia's scream. They all had been watching their leader, Alex, locked in battle with the Magic Emperor called Ghaleon, a man who had once carried the title of one of Althena's heroes. It was at this time that Alex struck, taking advantage of a feint, and slamming the sword of Althena through Ghaleon's chest. Mia's scream distracted them all from the sight of the Magic Emperor, falling back into his throne; hands clutched at the sword, sticking out of his chest.
"No," Mia mumbled as they turned back to the sight, his helmet had fallen off, and you could see a trickle of blood coming from his mouth. Mia knew how much evil he had caused, all the suffering, what he had done to Luna, Mel, and her own mother. But seeing him now, she felt her heart break. She ran up to the throne, and stood silently before his almost lifeless body. Her comrades talking quietly in the background.
"What did she call him?" said Jessica.
"Father. She called him father," Kyle mumbled.
"Nash?" Alex asked, looking over at his shocked friend. Nash regained a little of his composure and spoke.
"Well... There where rumors and..." Nash mumbled off, as Kyle's eyes opened wider, and looked over at the now visibly weeping Mia. She had fallen to her knees; her head laid down on Ghaleon's lap. Jessica felt a small tinge of sadness, mixed with shock going through her, as she watched her friend. Alex silently stepped forward; leading the rest of the team out to the back, where they hoped Luna was, leaving Mia alone. Mia sat there, crying until a very weak hand placed on the back of her head. She looked up.
"Father? You're still alive?" she said, as she felt a small joy rise up.
"Only... barely... Mia... why do... you weep...?"
"You... you're dying." Mia, said, as if it was the most simple thing to see in the world. Ghaleon merely chuckled slightly, along with a grunt of pain.
"My dear Mia... Do not cry over me... I have done... many horrible things... I deserve... to die."
"No! You can change. I know you can," Mia spoke, ignoring the sounds of lightning outside.
"I am a fool... Dyne lived... I was foolish to ever try something... like this... I have destroyed Vane, and I have caused you great pain... I am a fool."
"But you don't have to die. Mom will forgive you, they'll all forgive you in time." Ghaleon merely shook his head.
"No, they won't... I will forever be seen as this monster... Believe me Mia... when I found out Dyne lived... I wanted to stop, but I... couldn't."
"Why? Why couldn't you?" Came Mia's anguished voice.
"...You will understand... in time... Farewell my daughter... I will see you again... someday..." With that, Ghaleon's head fell, and his eyes closed. Mia's crying started again. She didn't even notice her friends return, smiles on their faces, Alex carrying Luna. They all turned and saw her, still crying, her head on Ghaleon's lap. Alex came over, and pulled the sword out of his chest, placing it back in its sheath. Nash came over and tried to gently pull her away from him. Mia resisted, not wanting to leave. Finally she relented, and fell from her seat, lying on the floor. It broke Nash's heart to see her like this. Kyle, walked up and picked her up.
"Come on, let's take her home."
That was two days ago. Now Mia walks through the square of the now earthbound village of Vane. She had been completely silent ever since they got back. Tonight, her mother was holding a celebratory dinner for them. The, once again, un-cursed Mel would be there, Alex's parents, Kyle's cousin, his last surviving relative, and many others. It was one of the few times non-magic users had been allowed in Vane, Her mother said that would change soon. She shut out other thought as her mind wondered.
"What is this letter Mia?" said Ghaleon as he held the book before the small girl who sat on his lap.
"That's... an... A," she said.
"Yes. This one?"
"Excellent, you're remembering much faster now." Ghaleon calmly spoke to her as they went through the rest of the list. Lemia was supposed to be helping Mia learn the alphabet, but, as usual, she was off on some diplomatic mission, or in another class. So Ghaleon had taken it upon himself to train their little girl in the basic things.
"Have you been studying your math?"
"Yes. But it's so hard." Ghaleon placed a hand on her head.
"You'll get better. Math is a very important subject. It will help you well in the future, it is especially important in learning magic. You do want to be a great sorceress don't you?"
"Then you have to learn math," he said, calmly.
"Aahh." Ghaleon felt a small chuckle rise up in his throat, which he forced back down.
"How about this. I'll take you for a walk in the garden before we start on your math?"
"Okay," she said, getting off his lap. Mia took her father's hand and they went to the garden.
"Lemia. I know this is probably not the time to ask this, what with Vane's restotoration and all, but there's a question we need to ask you." Alex, Kyle, Jessica, and Nash stood before Lemia Ausa, herself sitting behind her desk.
"Of course, Alex. Tonight's banquet shall be a nice rest from the work of the last few days, what is your question?"
"Who was Mia's father?" Lemia's eyes rose in shock, and her body seemed to deflate slightly.
"Why do you want to know?" Alex was unsure if they should tell her about the final moments of the battle with Ghaleon, he decided against it.
"Consider it honest curiousity."
"Please don't lie to me, Alex. It doesn't become you," Lemia said, her confidence returned. "I suppose you'd find out eventually." Lemia exhaled, and steadied herself. After the war with Zophar, the war in which I, Mel, Dyne and Ghaelon received our title, I and Ghaleon would often train together. In doing so we helped each other reach new heights of magical skill. But despite this, we where both very lonely. Together we went to Vane, and joined the Magic Guild could cure our loneliness. Eventually Ghaleon was named Premier, and I was given the title of head of the Guild. But our loneliness remained. Eventually we sought solace in each other's arms, and soon Mia was created. She was born the same month that Dyne died."
Nash's eyes rose in shock, and he felt the breath leave his lungs. The girl he loved was the daughter of that... thing?
"I remember sitting outside the door, watching as he taught her the alphabet. I was supposed to do it, but she looked so happy there, sitting on his lap," said Lemia, a smile of remembrance rising in her. "I never thought that this would happen. So Ghaleon and I made a deal, we would tell no one of Mia's real father, Mia would know. Despite his power, Ghaleon was not well liked. He was cold to many, and seemed unusual. But Mia, didn't care, I think deep down she didn't care, and she loved him."
"Thank you Lemia. You've more than answered the question," said Alex, leading his group away from the office. Nash's mind was in a constant state of confusion suddenly. This almost completely changed his relationship with Mia. He had thought that despite his betrayal of the team when they got the Dragon Helmet, they had forgiven him, but now he was feeling rather unusual about Mia. This completely changed their relationship.
He had loved her from afar for along time. Had never questioned her honesty or purity. But now that he knew the truth of her parentage...
"Perhaps we should go speak with Mia?" said Jessica, her words snapping Nash out of his thoughts. To his utter surprise, and slight horror, these words exited his mouth.
"I think she should handle this alone."
"...What? Do you know what you just said Nash?" came Jessica's shocked voice.
"He was her father. We didn't know him like her. I think only she can do it," said Nash.
"But she's our friend Nash, ever since the fight, all she does is wonder around Vane. Has she even spoken?" asked Kyle.
"She'll be all right. Trust me on this." They knew that Nash had known Mia longer than any of them, maybe he had a point. They reluctantly agreed.
"Ghaleon?" asked the now seven year old Mia.
"What kind of flower is that?" Mia pointed to an exotic white flower. They had been strolling the garden that day. Mia had grown to love the garden Ghaleon kept behind the guild. She asked him to bring her here everyday. Ghaleon had not been to busy today, so he had relented.
"That is called Althena's Soul," he said, picking the flower and handing it to her.
"I can keep it?"
"Of course. We'll put it in some water when we get back," said Ghaleon, taking her hand as they walked back to the Guild.
"Can I ever leave Vane?" That had been a problem ever since she was old enough to walk. Lemia had forbid her to ever leave Vane. Some thing Ghaleon was dead set against since the beginning. The magicians of Vane where supposed to be protectors of the world, how could she do that if she never sees it? It was a problem between them ever since Ghaleon agreed to keep the secret of her father, just that... a secret. He did have some influence over his daughter's growth, but it seemed like he had to pass everything by Lemia.
"Someday you will be free to travel the world as you see fit," he said. "I will make sure of it." He wasn't sure about that, but he knew it was what she wanted to hear, perhaps it would be true some day. Mia dreamed of flying free of Vane and seeing all the wonders of the world. He remembered the first time he had left the forests of Caldor Isle with Dyne, he was shocked at what there was on the mainland, it had filled him with what you could call a sense of wonder. He would have loved to see such a look on Mia's face, but it seemed unlikely.
"Come along, its time for dinner," Ghaleon said, noticing the sun's placement. He took Mia's hand and headed her back to the Guild.
'Look at them.' Mia thought to herself, as she walked through the alleys, and walkways of Vane. Vane was still on the ground, after her father had blasted it there, but now that the shock was going away, everyone seemed to be adapting well.
"I always knew Ghaleon was evil," came a voice from the side. She turned her head, and saw a few people talking by the weapon shop.
"Man freaked me out. Whenever he came through town, you could just see how he felt superior to all of us! I'm surprised he didn't do this sooner," another said. Mia felt her anger rising. Who where these people to judge!? They didn't know him! None of these people did!
Mia turned her gaze away, and opted to just continued walking. She hadn't said a word since her father was killed, she didn't want to say anything, for fear she would break down in tears. She even seemed to be struggling to breathe. She put those thoughts away and looked to see just where she had wondered too. She felt shock go through her as she recognized the garden behind the Guild. Ghaleon had brought her here many times, to soothe her when she was upset, or just when she wanted to go look at the pretty flowers. She felt the tears starting to stream down her eyes. No! She wouldn't give in to her grief, She wanted to be strong.
For a second her thoughts went to her friends. Surely they would have noticed how she was reacting to all this. Why weren't they trying to help her? She wished her father was here. She could talk with him about anything.
"Ghaleon?" came a small voice from his door. Ghaleon turned and saw Mia standing there. She had a confused look on her face as he beckoned her inside.
"Can I talk with you?" she said.
"Of course, is something wrong?"
"It's that new boy, Nash." Ghaleon, searched his mind, and remembered the young boy who had joined the Guild recently. Ghaleon had noticed how Nash had been staring at Mia secretly ever since. Nash obviously had a large crush on his daughter, Ghaleon wasn't so sure what he thought about that yet.
"I know he's been staring at you," Ghaleon said, he could feel a small smile creep on his face.
"I hate it! It makes me stop thinking about whatever spell I'm working on. I keep getting afraid that I'll screw up a spell and hurt someone, just because he's making me nervous," Mia said. She could see the small smile on his face then.
"You are a very attractive girl Mia, as you get older, you'll find that men are staring at you more and more."
"Isn't there anyway to stop it?" she said with a pleading look.
"Sadly no. Eventually you may get used to it, perhaps even like it."
"I won't ever like it."
"Many girls have said that at your age, don't worry. You're growing up, and this is a natural part of growing up," he said, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Have you spoken with your mother about it?"
"No, I wanted to talk with you first."
Ghaleon felt a tinge of guilt run through him. Mia trusted him implicitly, a trust that he would be forced to break in the future. Even now he was building his plan, a plan for vengeance against Althena. Mia would be hurt horrible by it. She shouldn't have to be hurt, not someone as... pure as her. For the thousandth time he asked himself, just why he was going through with this. The actual plan wouldn't be launched for several years, but he knew what he was going to do, he looked down at his beautiful daughter, and was afraid he was going to collapse at that moment. He could see the love in her eyes, and his guilt rose incredibly.
"That... that's very nice Mia, perhaps you should talk with your mother about it?"
"Okay," she said, and walked away. Ghaleon put his head in his hand, and felt the guilt flow through his body.
Mia sat down on a bench in the garden, looking down at an Althena's soul, the same type of flower her father had given her all those year ago. All of a sudden she felt tears come down her cheeks, she tried to hold them back, but they where to strong, finally she collapsed on the bench, sobbing. She finally got herself back under control, and sat up. There was a dinner tonight to celebrate her father's defeat, and she was supposed to be there. It was her duty as the daughter of the head of Vane. She braced herself, and walked towards the entrance to the Guild.
"Hello Mia," said Jessica, as she pulled a seat out for her friend. They all sat around a huge table in Vane. She looked down and could see all her friends, Alex, Jessica, Luna, Tempest, Fresca, Kyle... Nash. After them she could see Mel, and Lemia at the head. Across from them where many wizards and diplomats, and all around important people. She looked down and saw a man sitting to the right of her mother. That was her father's seat. She felt the anger rising in her again, but forced it back. It wouldn't do any good to break down here. Her mother stood up, and pinged her fork against her glass, everyone turned to attention.
"May I have your attention? We are here today for a reason. We are here to celebrate, not for any holiday, but for a great achievement, survival. We have survived the onslaught of the man known as the Magic Emperor, he who you once knew as Ghaleon. But he is now dead," Mia felt a small tear roll down her face, "thanks to these young people here." Lemia motioned towards Alex and his party. Kyle got up and made a dramatic bow. Jessica cringed in embarrassment, wondering again why Kyle couldn't have dressed a bit nicer for this dinner. Alex, and Luna chuckled a bit, and Nash looked very embarrassed. Jessica looked over at Mia and saw how forlorn she looked. Jessica felt her spirits drop a bit, she hated seeing Mia like this. "Do any of you have any words for the people gathered here?" Lemia's voice cut through. Kyle got up then and started to talk.
"Well, I just have to say that I had no doubts that we would win in the end. And even though I did all of the work, I am more than willing to hand over credit to the rest of the team in this situation." A round of laughs went around the table. Alex and Luna continued to laugh, while Nash looked insulted. Jessica was still looking at Mia, neither of them hearing Kyle. Alex got up and said something about all the hard work being worth it in the end. Luna, and Nash remained silent. Alex sat down as the food was passed out.
"Excuse me, Miss Ausa?"
"Yes Luna?" Lemia asked.
"What's a matter with Mia?" Lemia gazed down the table to see the unusually melancholy form of her daughter. A troubled look entered her face.
"Mia?" She called down the table. Mia looked up. "Are you all right dear?"
"I... I'm fine mother," she said with a forced smile. Lemia's troubled look did not leave her face, She glanced over at Mel, who had the same look on his face. The next hour passed without incident, Mia solemnly picked at her food, listening to the people around her.
"I wonder how long it will take to start Vane floating again?"
"I can't believe we are stuck here on the ground!"
"I always knew Ghaleon was crazy."
"You could see it in his eyes."
"I still can't believe that he would do something like this."
"I knew that Ghaleon was evil, you could always tell."
"Man always did think he was so high and mighty. Glad he's dead, that's all I can say."
The sound around the table came to an abrupt stop as Mia's plate went flying across the room, and she herself stood up, tears streaming from her face.
"How dare you!! You think you knew anything about him!!!?? You knew nothing!!!! You knew nothing!!!" Mia ran from the room then. A stream of sobs behind her.
"Mia!" Lemia cried out, as her daughter ran from the guild. No one tried to stop her as she ran through the square and into the transmission spring. Mia looked up in shock for a moment as she realized she was down on the ground. She hadn't even realize where she was running. She looked around and walked out of the grotto. She came out upon the road to Meribia. Might as well go there. Right now, all she wanted was to get as far away as possible. She ran and ran through the darkness, not even sure she was going the right way. She finally came upon the huge gates of Meribia. She went in, and made her way to the docks.
"Excuse me. Where is this ship going?" she asked a sailor.
"This one? It's going to Caldor Isle."
"Thank you." Mia got on the ship. Caldor was definitely far enough away.
"Land Ho!" came a sailor's voice over the din of the ship. Mia awoke from the small cot she had been sleeping on, and got out. She could see the island now. It was a very small and simple place. It looked like the type of place Alex and Luna would live. She got off, and found herself in the town of Saith. She quickly made her way out and into a forest, which, according to a sign was "The Weird Woods."
"It's so dark in here," she said to herself, with no one else around she had no choice but to talk with herself. The woods were very dark, and musty, and filled with monsters, but thankfully they were small monsters, and not very dangerous. Her flame circle spell got rid of most of them easily. She continued to run, farther and farther away from the floating city. Until she came out of the woods into Burg. Alex and Luna's hometown. Mia ran into the town. It was already dark, and everyone was asleep.
Mia ran through the town, but as far as she ran, those insensitive bastard's words continued to filter into her mind. She finally came to a stop, and found herself on a cliff. There was a stone monument there, with the words "In honor of the great Dragonmaster Dyne." Mia collapsed in front of the shrine, either from her tears or fatigue, she was unsure.
"Dyne's memorial," she said. "Father, no one will ever build a memorial for you. He was your best friend, father. Y... you said you wanted to stop... but couldn't... why... why couldn't you stop? P... p... please tell me why..."
"He didn't have any choice, dear." Mia turned in shock, and could make out a large man's silhouette in the darkness, as he walked closer she could make out the sword at his side, the cloak, and beret that decorated his head. He had a beard and brown hair.
"Laike?" She whispered.
"Aye lass. I see you've been crying, what's the matter?"
"H... how are you here?"
"I was on the ship you were on. I saw you, but decided to hold back. You ran off so fast, I was sure something was wrong, so I followed you." The man who was once Dyne sat down next to her in front of the memorial. "Tell me, Mia, what's the matter?"
"It's... it's... it's those stupid insensitive jerks! They think they knew him! But they didn't! They never will!" Laike put his arm around the crying girl's shoulders, and tried his best to comfort her. "And... He said he wanted to stop... he really did, why didn't he?"
Laike had come to the conclusion that this was about Ghaleon back in the Weird Woods. "Ghaleon had made a deal with the Vile Tribe, Mia. He would lead them out of the Frontier, and into the green Earth. But he realized that he was destined to fail. The reason he challenged Althena was to avenge me, he thought I was dead. It's all partially my fault as well. Of course, I lived past the Black Dragon, and he realized the extent of the evil he had done. But he couldn't go back. The Vile Tribe would have killed him, of course, you all were coming to kill him already, perhaps he preferred to die by your hands, instead of a demons?"
"Maybe... I... I know I should be strong, especially since mom still hasn't fully recovered completely, but it's so hard... I always see his face in my mind. I helped kill my father."
"Ghaleon made his choice, dear, and you made yours. There's little we can do about it. Losing people we care about is never easy. I've lost more than my fair share of loved ones in the past. I know what you're going through." Mia gently nodded, her tears finally stopped. "I know that Ghaleon had lost a good share of people he loved as well. This is your first major loss, isn't it?"
"Yes. I didn't get to leave Vane ever, when I went to help Alex, it was the first time I'd left Vane. In the city, everyone tried to make my life perfect. I always thought that nothing bad could happen. If it did, my mom, or Ghaleon would have stopped it."
"I know. Perhaps being one of the Four Heroes, the pressure that role put on him, was one of the reasons he did what he did."
"Maybe," Mia whispered.
"Listen to me Mia. I know you're in pain, but it all gets easier from here. Ghaleon, despite what he did, loved you, and he would never want you to be like this."
"What should I do?"
"I have a suggestion," Mia listened to the man talk into the night.
"You haven't found her?" came Lemia Ausa's voice from behind her desk. The guard shivered slightly, and lowered his head.
"Try harder." Lemia didn't have the strength to be intimidating right now. The guard left, and Lemia turned her chair around to look out the window. It was all going so well. She thought. But then, Ghaleon kidnapped her, and replaced her with Xenobia. Vane fell, and Ghaleon was killed. Mia had not taken her father's death well. She couldn't bring herself to hate the dark wizard though. He was Mia's father, and the only person who knew him better was Dyne. Ghaleon loved justice, he believed in it more than anything else. In a way, that was what he was trying to achieve, but on a much larger scale.
"Mother." Lemia turned in shock, to see her daughter standing in the doorway. Her pink dress messed up with dirt, and her hair slightly disheveled.
"Mia!" Lemia ran up and embraced her daughter. "I was so worried. Are you hurt? What happened? Where did you go?" Mia wrapped her arms around her mother.
"I... went to Caldor Isle."
"You crossed the sea!?"
"Yes, and I went to Dyne's memorial. And I talked with a friend there."
"Mia... why did you do this? Do you know how worried I was?" Mai fought back the tears, resigning not to break down in front of her mother. She said one word.
"...Father." Lemia felt her gaze drop.
"I see. I know what you're going through, Mia. He was dear to me, too. Despite his cold exterior, he was important to me. Don't worry, we'll get through this together."
Laike looked through the crack in the door, and saw the mother and daughter still embracing each other. He smiled to himself, and walked away, as he did so, he heard some muttering down the hall.
"Nothing! We search every place she could go, and we don't find her!" Kyle's voice echoed down towards him.
"We'll just need to keep looking, Kyle," said Alex. Laike looked down the hall to see Nash, Alex, Kyle and Jessica, all looking rather tired, walk towards him.
"Alex my boy!"
"Laike! What are you doing here?" asked Alex
"Hail Laike!" said Kyle, greeting the man once called Dyne.
"Nothing, just providing some escort."
"Escort? For who?" Laike pointed, to Lemia's office. Alex and the rest of them walked down, and peaked in seeing mother and daughter embracing. Alex looked up at Laike, questioning.
"She'll be needing her friends help in the coming weeks. No one can get through losing a parent alone. But she's a strong girl, with friends like you, she'll make it." Laike grinned at them, and walked away. Jessica moved forward and opened the door. Mia turned, and saw her friends standing there.
"Hi... I'm sorry I ran like that," she stuttered out.
"It's okay," said Jessica. She put a hand on her friend's shoulder. "You know we're here for you if you need us."
"I know. Thank you."
"We know how important friends can be, despite what some people think." Nash grimaced as Jessica spoke. He was already incredibly sorry for suggesting they stay out of it, hopefully he could make up for that mistake.
"Hey do you guys feel up for a walk?" Mia asked.
"Sure Mia, where to?" Alex asked.
"A little place behind the Guild, a garden actually. I'd like to get a few things off my chest."
Back to the Library of Vane.
Back to the Shrine to Ghaleon.