SPOILER WARNING!!!!! If you've never gotten Boris in your party, READ NO FURTHER! There are SPOILERS to that section of the game contained in here, so I advise everyone who has never recruited Boris to PLEASE ignore this chapter! This means YOU!! For those of you who have him, you're free to read on! Oh, by the way, Boris is Ridley Wizen's son. I won't say how you get him in the party because that's a spoiler too!!!
The Good Son
By Al Kristopher
A dilemma: can they empathize with me? I know how many people have sympathy for me, even though I make sure not to feel saddened or at a loss--I know that they all feel sad for me, but do any of them really know what I'm going through? Can any one of them really understand? Believe me, I tried to find people that could relate to my problems, and even though we were in the middle of a violent war, I had a hard time finding empathetic people.
Oh, I'm sorry. I really should introduce myself. My name is Boris Wizen, son of the great late Kobold chief Ridley Wizen. For most of my years, I have happily been following in my father's footsteps: learning how to govern a town, studying in the art of strategic war and of politics and the economy, and I took special great care in learning the language of humans and other non-Kobolds. You could say that I received a classical education in every field, and I daresay that if my studies hadn't been cut so short, I might have surpassed my father in a few years.
Sometimes, it's not easy living in the shadow of a great General like Ridley. I know that it's better than being a common mongrel who has no great lineage, and oftentimes my father's fame gets donated to me as well. "Why, look at you, Boris!" they'd say. "You're darn near as good a commander as your father!" Or how about this one: "That Boris, he's going to run circles around that Ridley one of these days!" Or how about, "Boris, you really should stop looking in the mirror all day! Ridley isn't concerned about looks!"
Don't get me wrong. I love and respect my father very deeply. My dream has always been to follow in his footsteps and to make him proud of me, and I think--I think I accomplished this, but I can never be too certain. When he perished in that massacre (I'll call it what it was), I practically exploded with every single emotion ever known to exist, and then some. Once I heard the news, I went straight to Dunan with all speed, in hopes of receiving more information about his death.
What I got was something so heart-wrenching, even a Kobold such as I had to cry. My father's death was a complete waste of a good soldier--in other words, it could have been prevented. The source of his untimely demise could be found in none other than (surprise!) the leader of the Stupid Army, Riou! From what I heard, Riou simply lost the nerve to fight one day, and ran away from his duties with his adopted sister, Nanami. He made it as far as Drakemoth village before he was discovered again.
While he was away, terrible forces working under a powerful entity called Neclord had invaded the Tinto region, killing its residents or else sending them into a fleeing frenzy. Not even Muse's forces could help fight them back, and in the confusion of it all, the leader runs away?!?!?!?! And my father was working for him?!?!?! I wasn't just outraged, I was enraged at the boy's selfishness!! The minor slap of pain he received from his strategist was nothing compared to the pain I felt when I discovered that my father had died for this coward!!!
Regrettably, now was not the time to be holding grudges. Neclord was still on the loose and there were other threats to the land as well. I was forced to hide my feelings of sadness and anger for the time, and decided to contribute what I could to the Stupid Army's cause. Since I had been studying all my life, mostly under my father, I could perform with as much competence as he could (at best), so in a sense, it was like he never left.
But I could tell the difference. Every time I looked out the window, I imagined what things would be like if he were still alive. Every time I led our courageous Kobolds into battle, I wondered if they felt any different being ordered by me, or if they were just honored to fight for "the son of Ridley". Hmph...... the son of Ridley...... I hate that title. That's all I'll ever be to these people. Just... "the son", and not my own person.
I was notably relieved to find that many people empathized with me, but a few of these people I would rather not speak to. There was this little girl named Millie who used to talk my ear off about how she lost her father, and at first I liked being with her, but after the next 18 hours of listening to her jabber on, I could take no more and have since been successful in finding "other business to attend to" instead of listening to her. I was also approached by a young mage named Viki, who had forgotten who her parents were. Needless to say, after five minutes with her, I was ready to go back to Millie.
But more often than not, the people of Stupid Castle were supportive and caring. There were the survivors from North Window who each had a tale to tell (Sir Viktor talked too much), then there was the castle's chef, who had also lost a loved one. The aimless wanderer Hanna opened up to me when I mentioned losing Ridley, the circus performers told how their father had died, Lady Teresa had parental problems, General Valeria provided a welcome earpiece, Lady Ayda was a refreshing voice of reason, Miss Annalee opened up to me...... All right, so I was definitely not alone in this battle.
Deep into the war, I quickly befriended Sir Klaus, and for good reason. Right around the time we invaded Matilda, he had gotten word that General Kiba died in battle. The poor young boy was inconsolable by everyone in the army except for myself and another person whom I think liked him. When I heard the news, I invited Klaus to my room, where we stayed up all night talking about our deceased fathers, and how much we loved and respected them, and how we both secretly sought to make a name for ourselves.
After that moment, Klaus and I became very good friends, and would often hold friendly debates about the latest tactical strategies we had concocted. Sometimes, there would be other people who joined in our discussion, mostly Lord Shu and Miss Apple, though from time to time I had the pleasure of listening to Miss Emilia speak, or perhaps the youthful spark of Marlowe. But it was mostly just Klaus and myself, and I daresay that after that moment, all our strategies were usually a mixture of both our ideas (and were almost always successful).
The war eventually ended, and peace seemed to return to our land. At first, I was still doubtful about Lord Riou's ability to lead this new nation--after all, he had been indirectly responsible for the death of my father--but after I heard him say that he was leaving again, my questions were all answered. The foolish boy never wanted anything to do with this army, nor this land! He wanted to run away from it all, just like he ran in Tinto! The young man disgusted me, and although I had been successful in hiding my feelings up until that point, I could no longer keep them bottled up.
I beat him outside and confronted him just before he left the castle. I was enraged at him for so many reasons, and I don't think that even he, the "hero" of the war, could stop me. However, the tired look in his eyes caused me to at least listen to him.
"And where do you think you're going, Lord Riou?" I growled (Kobolds have a hard time speaking without uttering so much as a growl or a woof, but this time it came as natural as breathing). "Are you running away yet again? Have you learned nothing from your grave errors at Tinto? Will other people have to suffer for your selfishness??" He merely looked back at me, a little sadly, and slowly walked past me.
"...Boris... I know you can never forgive me for what I did to you... but hear me out." He was right at my side, his eyes staring ahead, whereas I was still glaring at the castle. I turned around to face him and growled.
"What is it?"
"......This is so painful for me," he whispered. "First, I... I lost Jowy to that horrible Kingdom, then... then... N-Nanami...... she... she..." Riou paused, covered his face with his hand, and sat down to weep on the grass. The only comfort I offered him was a sliver of shade from my shadow.
"...Yes, I heard about your sister," I said. "And in a way, you now feel the pain that I have been feeling ever since I joined you. But...... nobody was responsible for your sister's death except for Gordo. She died honorably, defending you and your friend from death, whereas my father's demise could have been prevented!!!"
"...I know," he moaned, his body so weak that it had nearly turned to jelly. "And... I know you can never forgive me for what I did. Nanami wanted me to... to leave so that I... I... I could... maybe... find Jowy... Or at least I could escape from all this pain, forever, until I was strong enough to go on. But... I never was strong enough... And now I've lost both Jowy and Nanami! I went through all that pain in Tinto for nothing! Yes, Ridley died for no good reason--but my sister did as well!!!" By this time, his face was flushed with a mix of anger and sadness, but the only thing I could give him was a civil sniffle.
"Then go, and do as you see fit," I muttered. "Leave this country to those that deserve to rule it! Take your bags and leave this land, and may the Creator help you if I ever see you in this land again!!!" Riou sadly looked at me, and without another word, he left. Sure enough, I never saw him again.
Father... did I do the right thing by joining the Stupid Army?
I... I hope you're proud of me, father.
Just... watch me from up there, father. I swear, I won't let your sacrifice be in vain.
And perhaps, one day, with your blessings, I might be able to forgive Lord Riou.
But I must never forget.