Snippet #2790908

located in Fódlan, a part of Fire Emblem: Apotheosis, one of the many universes on RPG.

Fódlan

A continent divided into three different factions: The Adrestian Empire, The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senka Rinaldi Character Portrait: Amalthea von Kreuz Character Portrait: Mercer von Riegan Character Portrait: Cyril Eisner Character Portrait: Vridel von Hresvelg Character Portrait: Sorcha Blaiddyd Character Portrait: Jeralt's Journal
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I.Y. 1186 - Harpstring Moon - Friday the 16th
Alliance Territory - Early Evening - Windy
Senka Rinaldi


Senka sighed softly, closing her eyes to enjoy the cool breeze that passed through. They were still several days out from Gronder, but they had at least liberated one village from Empire occupation. It was there that Danae and Reynard were finally able to make contact with Bergliez. He'd sent them a message, telling them that he had important information, but had to tell them in person. The skeptical part of Senka didn't quite believe it, but the more rational side of her believed him. They were supposed to meet him in the next village they passed. Sauin Village, if she remembered correctly.

They were close by, however; when Senka opened her eyes, she could see a small line of smoke coming from over the trees. She pursed her lips together, a feeling of dread settling over her. Perhaps they were making a bonfire of sorts? Shaking her head softly, she nudged Liev a little faster to catch up with Mercer and the others at the front. When she arrived, she could see Mercer's lips pursed into a fine line. He wasn't on Sir today, and instead, was mounted on a horse. Something about letting Sir stretch his wings before the upcoming battle. He glanced in her direction, though.

“We don't know what we'll be walking into. It's best if everyone is prepared for anything," he stated, causing Senka to nod her head. “Did any of the scouts report anything about Sauin being occupied or targeted?" he asked. Senka shook her head, though.

“None. The only information that they received was that Bergliez was supposed to be meeting us there," she replied. Mercer sighed heavily.

“What about you, Rey? Anything?" he asked. Senka understood, really. Reynard was the best scout they had. He would have likely found something out that the others might have missed.

Reynard's mouth pulled down into a frown. "Nothing since the initial message," he said simply. "We avoided sending scouts too far ahead for fear that Bergliez was being watched. We didn't want to spook the imperials into going after him if they spotted us, but it means we've got next to no idea what's going on down that way."

Vridel, also mounted for travel, shook his head faintly. “Then I suggest we get down there, quick and careful," he said. “Because I don't think that's recreational fire."

Mercer nodded his head, and urged his horse forward. Senka followed behind. She was tempted to have Liev take to the air, but that was a risk they couldn't afford. If she were spotted, she'd give away their position, and that was the last thing she wanted to do.

They were able to reach the village within a few minutes, and Senka's eyes widened. It was clear from the rubble and debris strewn about that something had happened here. Something on the level of, perhaps, a demonic beast rampaging or even one of the golems. She couldn't be too sure. To her side, she could hear Thea take in a sharp breath, a soft gasp if anything, as Senka focused at the scene in front of her. There were people who were struggling to pull dead bodies from the rubble, and others were injured greatly.

“Have the healers do what they can for those that are injured," Mercer stated, causing one of the soldiers to nod their head and head towards the back. His expression was grim as he glanced towards Reynard. “See what you can find out. The rest of us are going to do the same, as well," he stated, sliding off of his horse. Senka followed suit. She could at least treat some of the injured, too, while Mercer and the others asked around.

Grim-faced, Sorcha took to the air, probably to look quickly for any other survivors in need of assistance. Ordinarily, the black-armored figure on the dark-winged pegasus might have looked ominous herself, but in a context like this, any possible chance of help was probably welcome. Reynard disappeared in the way he did, and the others fanned out to assist, either using magic to help put out fires or helping to move pieces of rubble away.

The town was in utter ruins, more of its residents dead than alive, it seemed. Those few that did remain were in poor shape, many huddled together with expressions of dull shock on their dirt-streaked faces.

A sharp shot drew much of the attention not far from where Senka was. There, a small child was scrabbling away from Vridel, who'd leaned down to help her up, it seemed. “N-no! Stay away! Go away!" Tears streamed down her face, carving swaths through soot and ash.

Vridel froze, eyes wide, then took a large step back. “I'm not going to—"

Whatever reassurance he was trying to give was cut off by another shrill scream; the girl covered her ears and turned her face away, cowering as though she expected him to strike her down at any moment.

Senka made her way towards the young girl about the same time as Thea did. She had been closer, though, and was already kneeling down towards the girl, holding out a hand towards her. “Hey, it's alright. We're here to help you. He's not going to hurt you, alright?" Thea spoke softly. Before she could say anything further, though, another villager appeared, and pulled the young girl into his arms. He was staring wide-eyed in Vridel's direction, though, as if he were seeing a ghost of some sort.

“You've done enough damage! Go away!" the man shouted as he held the young girl closer to him.

“Sir, please, we're just trying to help," Thea continued, trying to seem less threatening, it seemed. It wasn't hard for her to do, really, but Senka took a step next to Thea.

“What happened?" Senka decided to ask. It was, perhaps, not a delicate way to approach the situation, and the man and child were rightly fearful. But that didn't explain why they were being hostile towards Vridel.

“That man right there! He destroyed our village! He's a monster!" he shouted, causing some attention to shift towards them. A small group of villagers were surrounding them, too, and were seemingly agreeing with the man.

“That's not true. How could he have done that if we've all been with him this entire time?" Thea stated, but Senka placed a hand on her shoulder. She could tell that the accusation was making her upset, but they needed to be the ones with level heads.

Vridel looked stunned to be accused of as much. “I assure you, I may not be of the Alliance, but I—"

“Liar! I don't know why you came back here, but we know what to expect this time!" A teenage boy hurled a brick for Vridel, who grimaced. Clearly they didn't want to alarm these people, but the brick would probably hit one of the other villagers if he just got out of the way, so he took the hit instead, letting it collide with his armor with a thunk.

“What's going on here?" Cyril approached, and as people tended to do, the gathering crowd parted for him.

Apparently, something about him was recognizable enough, because another villager addressed him. “You've a traitor on your army," the man holding the child snarled, pointing at Vridel. “That's him what led the attack on this village!"

Cyril's eyes narrowed. “How are you so sure?"

“You ever seen white hair like that on a young man?"

Vridel's eyes rounded. “Impossible."

Senka furrowed her brows. It was a known fact that Vridel had signature white hair; no one else had ever had that before, but Senka didn't think it meant anything in particular. Maybe it was a fault in his genetics or something that caused his hair to be white, she couldn't be too sure. She narrowed her eyes at the villagers, though. They were accusing her friend of something she knew he would never do.

“Are you certain it was him? Take a good look, and I mean a good look at him. Are. You. Certain?" Senka was never really the type to be a threatening figure, but these people needed to know that Vridel would never do that. And if their current state of fear was going to make them irrational, then Senka felt she really had no choice but to be a little... well, harsh.

“Of course we are! It was a young man with bone white hair that destroyed our village. How could we forget?!" another villager shouted.

“How could we ever forget those cold blue eyes!" they continued shouting, turning their attention towards Vridel. Senka furrowed her brows. It was a lot of information, but that statement struck out the most. She glanced towards Vridel and stared at him.

“His eyes are violet; they're not blue," she stated, turning her attention back towards the villagers. It was at this point that Mercer appeared, his face pulled into a grimace.

“Bergliez is dead; we just found his body," he muttered softly. He turned his attention towards the villagers though, a handful of them seemed to recognize him. “Vridel is not the one who did this," he stated, trying to help defuse the situation, it seemed. Maybe they would listen to their Leader?

A collective frisson of doubt seemed to go through those assembled at the mention of the wrong eye color, but blue and violet were not so far from one another, and there was some discontent murmuring, too. A few people clearly recognized Mercer, backing off when he added his support into the discussion, but there were still those who held their places, glaring at Vridel with the pain of grieving family members.

He sighed softly, and opened his arms, as if in invitation.

“Then take your satisfaction," he said quietly. “If you really believe I am the one who hurt the ones you love, then I understand. In your position, I would want revenge, too. But make sure you're certain—blood never really washes off."

The words were met with a thick silence. The teenager looked about ready to throw another brick, but the quiet was cut by the child's sobbing, her face buried into the man's shoulder. Vridel's face contorted; he sighed quietly. “She has a cut on her leg," he informed the man. “I understand she doesn't trust me, but please at least let my fiancée look at her." He set a hand on Thea's shoulder and nudged her a little forward.

“If anyone would be willing to let me treat them, I'll be over there." He pointed to a spot just outside the bounds of the village, and took his leave.

Thea looked a little torn when Vridel left, and Senka didn't blame her. She couldn't really blame the villagers, either. They were frightened, and a collective group of frightened people were more dangerous than any of them could be. At least not intentionally. She sighed softly, though, as Thea took a look at the girl's leg, using her magic to heal it. Senka narrowed her eyes slightly at the group, before taking her leave with Mercer. It seemed they were both concerned about Vridel. For different reasons, maybe, but concerned still the same.

When they managed to find Vridel, it was Mercer who spoke first. “Hey, you alright?" he asked, grimacing slightly at his own words, it seemed. “We all know you didn't do it, but they're scared, Vi. They don't mean anything by it. You know how people get when they're scared."

“I do, and it's fine." Vridel shrugged, affecting an unconcerned demeanor, but it was at least partially just that: an affectation.

Senka knew that; she was certain almost everyone did, really. “It's concerning, though, because the only thing linking you to this is the color of your hair. Who else could have white hair and still be considered young?" she asked. She knew Vridel was innocent, but there was another person out there who seemed to either be trying to tarnish Vridel's name, somehow, or trying to make others fearful of Vridel and their group.

Vridel exchanged a significant look with Mercer, then, pursing his lips. “IT is entirely possible that Volkhard has had Those Who Slither in the Dark do to someone else what they did to me," he said simply. “The premature white hair was a side-effect of that, not something that is naturally mine."

Mercer sighed heavily, while Senka furrowed her brows. They did something to Vridel that caused his hair to turn white? Is that why... she pushed the thought from her mind, for now. They had other things to worry about at the moment.

“If that's the case, then someone is running around with two Crests. Who would be stupid enough, though, to get that procedure? Desperate enough?" Mercer questioned. Senka was confused by the information. Two Crests? Procedure? It was... a lot to take in, really.

“What does that mean? Having Two Crests? Is it supposed to make whomever has them, stronger?" she decided to ask. Mercer glanced towards Vridel, though, and pursed his lips together.

“Well it means they have the powers of two Crests, so... yes." Vridel shrugged. “I, for example, have my family's usual Crest, but also a Major Crest of Noa. Handy for spellcasting." He was playing something down, but shook his head without much of a pause.

“As to who would do it... who do we know that's insane and flames-bent on revenge at all costs?" It was obvious he was leading them to a specific answer.

“That idiot," Mercer muttered softly, placing an open palm on his forehead and shaking his head. “Of course he'd do something that stupid. After all, what has he to lose, now? If he can use that advantage, I'm sure he thinks it was worth it," he continued, causing Senka to furrow her brows. She was being left out of something, she knew that, but that wasn't important.

“So... Gloucester has two Crests," she began, sighing softly. “That means he has an advantage as far as power goes, but... why attack the village? Isn't he Leicester, as well? Why attack his own people?" she continued. Mercer heaved his shoulders, and slumped a bit.

“Well, firstly, it's obvious that it was a recent acquisition. He probably wanted to test it out. Given that we found Bergliez dead, it was likely that he set us up, here. Destroy a village, make the people hate Vridel, and in turn, try and give us low morale."

“Might've also found out about Bergliez," Vridel added, rubbing his nose. “Two birds, one stone. Either way, it's worked. We don't have whatever information he wanted to give us, and I don't think anyone's taking this especially well."

Senka supposed he had a point. They didn't have whatever Bergliez was going to take them, and she knew that those who were witnessing the village still burn, still pull its dead from the rubble, wasn't exactly heartening. Even she could feel it tugging at her heart, but she couldn't afford to become emotional about it. A casualty of war, unfortunate as it may be. She pulled in a breath, though, and shook her head.

“This sucks," Mercer stated, shaking his head as well. “We were doing so well, too," he continued, causing Senka to huff lightly.

“While I will agree that it does suck, we're still doing well enough, Mercer. None of us are dead, yet," she stated, narrowing her eyes softly in his direction. “Just because we hit a bit of a snag, doesn't mean we're not doing well. We're still here; still trying. That's enough, right?" Mercer huffed slightly.

“Well, there's no point in really saying otherwise. We'll just have to be more careful from here on out. Even if we don't have the information Bergliez was going to give us, at least we know that Gloucester has two Crests and is potentially more dangerous. I'll take that as a win, I guess. What about you, Vi?"

“I'd feel more like we were winning if the village wasn't on fire," he replied flatly. “But the sooner we put it out and move on, the sooner we can get rid of the root cause."

Mercer snorted softly. “Good point. Sen, care to go give them a hand with that? You might be able to make use of your blizzard and wind spells to help on that," he stated, glancing in her direction. She huffed lightly, and nodded her head.

“You take care of him, then, while I go help them. Thea would be quite upset if you let something happen to her fiancé, even if he's quite capable on his own," she replied, shooting Vridel a small smile. Mercer chuckled lightly.

“Yeah, sure thing. I'll take care of his highness," Mercer replied, arching a brow at Vridel.

“Oh good. A babysitter."