Sorrow and the Moon
“Ok, we set up camp here for tonight.”
Presea glanced around cautiously, “Lloyd, are you sure it’s safe?”
“It should be…” He replied as he began removing his gloves. “Besides, one of us will stay up and keep watch.”
The pink-haired girl nodded, her two ponytails bouncing slightly. “Ok.”
Lloyd gave her a quick grin and then turned to go help Zelos with the tent. As he walked he stuffed his gloves in his right pocket then waved his hands in front of him to cool them off. His gloves were made of studded leather, crafted by Dirk himself, and they were very thick. After a few hours of swordplay with monsters his hands were swimming in sweat.
“You need help?” He asked as he approached Zelos, who was digging through the equipment bag on the ground in front of the completed tent. The red haired Tethe'alla chosen frowned when he heard Lloyd’s voice and huffed.
“I can’t find the stakes.” He said as he started pulling out various pieces of camping gear. He pulled out a lantern and a few blankets followed by a couple of books. “They were in here before we went into that tower.”
“Not good.” Lloyd said, “If we lost something inside…ugh. I really don’t want to go back into that place.”
“I hear ya….” Zelos trailed off as he turned the bag over and emptied the last few things onto the ground: a book of matches, a pen and a couple Apple Gels. “But it looks like we might have to.”
Lloyd looked at the empty sack for a few minutes, then thought, “Hey…Zelos?”
“If we don’t have the stakes, what’s holding the tent down?”
“I put some rocks where the stakes would be. It’s doing the job, but it won’t really hold if a heavy wind picks up or if something or someone tries to get in.”
“Well…” Lloyd said, rubbing the back of his neck, “Are you sure you put them in this pack last time?”
Zelos stood up, “It wasn’t my job last time, it was Genis’”
“Ok, I’ll go ask him-“ Lloyd said as he turned around, but was cut short as he bumped into Sheena standing behind him.
Sheena looked down at Lloyd’s chest with a heartbreaking look on her face. She blinked a few times and then turned to the tent. With a lightning fast arm movement she tossed something at the base of the tent, and it hit with a few thumps into the ground. She took a few steps backwards and did the same thing to the other side of the tent. Lloyd bit his lip and looked down at where what she threw landed, and saw the metal tent stakes dug perfectly into the ground beside the rocks, holding the tent.
“Genis put them into my pack by mistake.” Sheena said in a low voice, a tremble of a whimper cutting through it.
“I…I see.” Lloyd said and smiled at her, “Thanks, Sheena.”
She nodded and turned away, walking off to sit near a large rock.
“My poor Honey…” Zelos said, “That Volt thing really put the hurt on her.”
“Hmm.” Lloyd agreed, “That whole lightning tower was really stressful on her. I mean… she lost Corrine and almost died herself. Not to mention that she had to deal with all that psychological stuff from her first visit here…”
Zelos nodded sympathetically, “Someone should talk to her…” He smiled a coy smile and took a step in her direction. Lloyd frowned and put his arm across his chest.
“No.” He said, “Leave her alone for now.”
Zelos opened his mouth to say something, then smiled and brushed his hair back. “As you wish.”
“Dinner’s up!” Genis said from beside the campfire. He grabbed at the sticks that had been propped up into the blaze, the fish skewered on them charred and toasted. From the other side of the fire, Regal inhaled through his nose, smiling.
“That smells good.” He said, “You seem like quite the cook.”
“Ehh…it’s really comes from having a sister that can’t cook at all. Necessity really makes you learn quickly, you know?”
“Hmm.” Regal said, “You seem to have natural talent as well.”
Genis blushed a little at the compliment, “Thanks, Regal.”
Regal smiled and leaned forward to take the fish skewer that Genis handed him, his steel handcuffs rattling softly.
Lloyd smiled a little at the aroma and at Genis’ greeting as he walked by.
“Fish, huh?” Lloyd asked, “It smells good.”
Genis smiled and took a large bite out of the side of one, “Sheena actually caught all of them, but I cooked them! You see, I used some spice I got back in Palmacosta and-“
“Where is Sheena?” Lloyd said, interrupting. Genis stopped short mid-sentence, looked hurt for a moment and then grinned and pointed towards the small fish pond behind him about fifteen feet.
“You should talk to her, Lloyd.” Regal said.
Lloyd nodded and quickly leaned down to grab two of the fish, “I plan to.”
And with that he started off towards the pond.
“Where’s he going?” Presea asked, walking up to the fire, a stack of firewood in her arms.
With his eyes closed, Regal swallowed his bite of fish and explained, “He’s off to see Sheena.”
From behind Genis, Raine’s voice came up, making him jump.
“That’s good. She needs someone to talk to.”
“Sis…ha…how long have you been back there?” Genis rubbed at the back of his neck.
“Long enough to hear the your conversation with Regal.” She sat down next to her brother and laid a solid smack into the back of his silver-haired head.
“And I can cook just fine, thank you.”
The sky was crystal clear that night, and the moon was full, hanging in the sky like a silver amulet hanging off a bright, starry cloak. It was sending it’s silvery light down to the earth, illuminating the small fish pond and the surrounding plants. It was a chilly night out and there was a crisp, chilly breeze floating around and drifting through Sheena’s black hair. She was biting her bottom lip, the only thing she could do to really avoid breaking into tears. She was sitting with her arms wrapped around her knees and her head resting on her knees. From behind her she could smell something nice-smelling and it made her stomach rumble a little bit.
Genis was cooking tonight… She thought. It was too bad that she wasn’t really up to eating, Genis’ cooking was really good. Everyone thought so…Lloyd, Raine, Regal, Presea and Corrine.
She bit her lip harder, so hard in fact that she was a little scared that it would puncture the skin.
No. I miss him, yes…but I can’t think about him…
Her fist started to clench tightly against her leg and she felt some tears starting to well. It was inevitable that she would cry, and she would have, but just then a roasted fish came down and floated in front of her face. Sheena opened her mouth in surprise and then looked up to see Lloyd at the end of the skewer, smiling.
“Thought you might be hungry.” He said. She looked at him for a few more seconds, then used her left hand to wipe away the few tears that had managed to leak out.
“You were right.” She said, and took the fish, smiling the best she could. She took a small bit and felt a wave of relief wash over her. The fish tasted great, and now there was someone sitting next to her.
“Sheena.” Lloyd said as he started in on his fish, “You must feel horrible now, I know…but..”
He looked over at her and grinned, “You know that you have friends, right?”
Sheena nodded, “I know.”
“But you know that Corrine died to save you…and that Volt didn’t really mean to kill him.”
The purple-clad summoner closed her eyes, “That’s not the only thing…”
“My village is now marked as traitors and the whole world of Tethe'alla is in danger. Also, I now have to really keep tabs on my actions to make sure that I don’t get Undine or Volt mad or break my pact. I’ve been doing everyone’s camp duties to keep my mind busy, like getting the fish and the stakes and the such…but…I still feel so sad…”
Lloyd nodded and took a few bites of his fish, his eyes fixated on the perfect crystal calm of the fish pond. On the mirrored surface, he could see the white moon perfectly.
“Look at the moon.” He said in a soft tone, “Isn’t it beautiful?”
Sheena looked at him and then followed his gaze to the pond. She looked at the pond and the moon.
“The moon here is the same as the moon in Sylvarant. It has the same silver lace and the same rough surface…people in both worlds look up at it and swoon at it’s wonder…”
“It’s in that way…” Sheena said, “That we’re all alike.”
Lloyd nodded, “Right.” He reached out his hand and put it on Sheena’s slender back, felling her shoulder bones as she tensed up as a reflex. “You’re strong, Sheena. I know it. You did a great deed today, and everyone is proud.”
Sheena frowned at the compliment and laid her forehead on her knees, stabbing the now-fishless skewer into the grass, “Lloyd?”
“Aren’t you scared?”
“Of dying…of failing at this quest…that Colette might be-“
“No. I’m not. I fight for what I believe in, therefore I have the courage to do so.”
Sheena turned her head so her right ear was on her kneecap and her eyes were on Lloyd.
“So you’re saying that you’ve never been scared?” She asked, biting her bottom lip again as soon as she got the question out.
“Well…no…I’m always a little scared.” He laughed, “More then a little, actually. When we where squaring off against Volt himself, I was scared that he was too powerful…that we would die. Hell, even right now I’m scared that Colette is…”
He was going to continue, but Sheena shot her hand up and pushed it against his mouth, silencing him. Lloyd took a breath through his nose, smelling the faint odor of whatever lotion Sheena used. Her skin was smooth and silky, and it surprised Lloyd. He would of thought that after all the fights she had been in, her hands would be a little bruised.
“Don’t say it.” She said in a serious tone, “Colette is alive. Don’t even say otherwise.”
Lloyd smiled under her and then slowly reached up and took hold of it in his, her warm skin sending a chill down his back.
“When I was a kid and just learning how to use my two swords, my Dad used to ask me, ‘Lloyd, why are you learning to fight?’”
Sheena was feeling a little uncomfortable with her hand in Lloyds, but she felt more soothed then uncomfortable, so she let it stay.
“What was your answer?” She asked.
Lloyd reached up her hand, still encased in his, and stretched out her fingers so that in their view it was reaching at the moon.
“I did this and said, ‘I want to fight to make sure everyone sees this…I want everyone to see the beauty of the world.’” He moved his hand away from Sheena’s and stretched out his fingers like hers, “I still say that to myself everyday…that’s why I fight and that’s why I never seem scared.”
Sheena looked up at the moon and her hand and then down at Lloyd, a warm smile on his face.
“So, Sheena…” He said, “You need to think of something to live by.”
It was then for a sudden instant, Sheena forgot everything that was going on, she forgot that Corrine was dead, she forgot that her village was a village of traitors and she forgot about Colette. Instead, she thought of everyone in her party, she thought of Regal and his handcuffs, she thought of Presea and her childlike innocence and she thought of Raine, with her ever-going pursuit of knowledge. Lastly she thought of Genis and his silver, flowing hair.
“What I’ll live by is…” She said, a large smile growing on her face, “Dwarven Vow Number 7: Peace and love will always win.”
Lloyd groaned, “I hate that saying…” He glared over at Sheena, a playfully angry look on his face, “You’ve been talking to Genis, haven’t you?”
Sheena looked at him and burst into a loud laughter, so loud that it echoed over the fish pond and into the plains beyond. Lloyd kept looking at her until laughter came to him and he exploded as well. The two of them laughed hard for a few minutes, and then calmed down.
“Lloyd…” Sheena said, “Thanks for coming to comfort me.”
Lloyd nodded, “Anytime.”
Sheena smiled at him, then yawned. She was tired, and she couldn’t hold it in any longer.
“Thanks…Lloyd…” She said and leaned her head on his shoulder. He jumped a little in surprise at first, then smiled and closed his eyes.
“It sure is a nice night out.” He said, “With such a pretty moon.”