Part 89: Saleh - Eirika, Myrrh, EwanGot the next couple floors done. It occurs to me that I might want to update the roster up front, just so everyone's up to speed on where my characters are right now.
In the meantime, it's time for Saleh. Say hi to the fans, Saleh!
Supports - Saleh
Starting Points: 5
Points per Turn: 2
Turns to A Rank: 118
Critical Evade: +2.5
: Master Saleh!
: ...Oh, I'm sorry, Princess Eirika.
: It's all right. Were you...praying?
: Not exactly. It's called Valega.
: What is it? Is it something to do with Caer Pelyn's cultural history?
: Yes, in a sense. Think of it as a kind of wish. A very pure wish. It is a wish that expands far beyond individual desire.
: I see. I don't claim to understand, but it sounds very interesting. If you don't mind, I'd like to hear more about it later.
: If you like.
: Yes, I would.
: Master Saleh.
: What you were telling me about Valega was most enlightening. It sounds as though you align your desires with the world around you. By knowing the vastness of creation around you, you come to know yourself. And then, by transcending your selfish needs, you wish for a better world. What you told me, it helped me rediscover the importance of that unselfish wish. It's the reason for the war we fight now... The dream of a better world. Because of your Valega, my own conviction was renewed.
: Ahhh. I'm glad to hear that. ... Princess Eirika, you remind me of the warrior princess, Nada Kuya.
: Nada Kuya?
: She's one of Caer Pelyn's ancient heroes.
: I'd like to hear about her.
: I've been told she was a strong woman, beautiful and proud. She spoke with the voice of nature, and she lived at one with the earth.
: But you called her a battle princess...?
: Well, in ancient times, Caer Pelyn was invaded by a foreign nation.
: And leading the charge against the invaders was Nada Kuya. She carried a narrow sword made from a fang gifted to her by the dragonkin. With her dragon blade in her hand, she drove Caer Pelyn's enemies away.
: Wow... Quite a story. And you think I--
: Yes. You remind me of her.
: No, no... When Grado invaded Renais, I was paralyzed. I couldn't do anything. It is only because of the sacrifices of others that I could even escape.
: But now, you are here. With your strength, courage, and dignity.
: Master Saleh...
: If you achieve victory, the legend will become reality. You will become the Nada Kuya of this age.
: I see... Yes, I see! I have a reason to fight. I have things to protect. I fight for the future. The future of Renais, the future of my people. Thank you, Master Saleh. Your stories always give me the courage to fight on.
: I'm glad to hear that.
: I pray your wisdom guides us through this war.
: I will do what I can.
: ... What troubles you, Princess Eirika?
: Oh, Master Saleh. No, nothing. My mind was somewhere else... Oh, and in the middle of a battle... I'm sorry.
: Don't be sorry. I am not going to judge you for how you think or act.
: Thank you. ... I was just remembering my home. I was thinking about the last time Renais was at peace.
: There were the most beautiful mountains, the clearest rivers... The scent of wildflowers filled the air. The sky was clear and bright. This was before war scarred the hills and scorched the skies. It was a wonderful place. Every day was filled with hope and possibility. My brother and I would go hunting with Prince Lyon. ...I would make lunches for us. Ephraim would tease, but Lyon was happy. I... I miss that time so very much.
: Princess Eirika... I give you my word that you will once again see the Renais you love restored.
: Master Saleh... I do hope so. But first, you and I must concentrate on the battle at hand. We must win. Thank you, Master Saleh. Your homeland, Caer Pelyn, was also a most beautiful place.
: We had nothing special. But, because of that, we had...everything.
: I didn't understand that before. Now, I think I know what you mean.
: I am glad.
: When we have to fight no more, please, let me visit you in Caer Pelyn. I would like to know more about your home. About Valega and Nada Kuya.
: You are welcome anytime. Caer Pelyn and I will welcome you with open arms.
(It's amazing how much there is to Saleh that you have to dig into the supports to find. With Caer Pelyn's spiritualism and his ties to nature, he's a lot more of a traditional druid or shaman than a wizard.)
Starting Points: 30
Points per Turn: 3
Turns to A Rank: 70
Critical Evade: +5
: ...... Um...
: May I help you?
: Saleh, wherever we go, you're always at my side. Don't you ever do anything YOU want to do?
: I came from Caer Pelyn. I have been entrusted with the honor of being your escort. Protecting you, Great Dragon, gives my life meaning.
: Great Dragon? Please, there's no need to call me that. My father is the great one. I've done nothing. I'm not great at all.
: It is true, Great Dragon, that your exalted father once saved mankind. On that day so long ago, he shielded us from evil. He is our true savior. However, mankind has forgotten that most sacred debt we owe him. I do, as we all must, what I can to atone for that crime of neglect.
: Great Dragon, does my presence bother you? If it does, please do not hesitate to tell me. I would remove myself at once and not bother you again until needed.
: ... It's fine. Do whatever pleases you.
: ...Thank you.
: There's something I wanted to ask. You're from Caer Pelyn. Do you know if my father has ever visited your village?
: He has. I myself have never seen his noble personage. However, I have heard that Dara met him once when she was young. Some monsters had wandered into Caer Pelyn, and the Great Dragon saved us.
: Really? I wonder why my father chose to help you.
: That, I cannot guess. We poor humans cannot hope to grasp the thinking of the Great Dragon.
: ... My father has dedicated his life to protecting humans. For the longest time, I could not fathom why he would do this. But now, after spending time with all of you... I begin to understand how he felt.
: Great Dragon...
: I'm sure that I-- that I will continue to fight, as he did, for all humanity.
: I am truly grateful that you feel that way, Great Dragon.
: Great Dragon... I know I'm being rude, but I've a favor to ask.
: What is it?
: Would you please come to our village?
: To Caer Pelyn? But...
: Dara and the other villagers would be overjoyed to see you. The village is quite spare, but we would do our best to entertain you. You could stay for as long as you wanted...
: ... Saleh, you made that request on my behalf, didn't you?
: No, not at all. I apologize. I have been disrespectful.
: No, I'm pleased. However... I doubt I should stay too long.
: Why is that?
: It's because I'm a dragon. My father explained it to me. We are both human and monster. And because we are both, we are also neither.
: We have the power of dragons; therefore, we cannot live together with humans... We have the hearts of humans; therefore, we do not belong with monsters. We are outcasts in this world, never a part of either community. And so we live our lives alone, never to be understood by anyone.
: But there are humans whose actions make them monsters in the eyes of others. I do not think of you as such when there are many worse monsters among my own kind. Regardless, I believe the villagers would be most pleased to have you visit.
: Saleh... Thank you. Your words have cheered me up a little. Please wait for my answer. When all of this is finished... When peace returns, I'll give you my answer then.
: I understand.
: And when I do return to Darkling Woods, I will not be sad. Because of the time I've spent with you, the memories you've given me, I shall not be lonely. I shall never feel like an outcast again.
: Lady Myrrh...
(These supports are also the only time you'd learn Grandmother's real name. I'm kind of surprised at that, but she is more of an exposition device than a character.)
Starting Points: 15
Points per Turn: 3
Turns to A Rank: 75
Critical Evade: +2.5
: ...... Oh, Ewan!
: You were practicing Valega, weren't you? "To know the harmony of heaven and earth, body and spirit"...right?
: Yes, you are correct.
: Um..."To contemplate oneself"... And...what was the rest?
: "To contemplate the world and to envision all creation. Thus, to be enlightened."
: Oh, that's right. Doesn't it get to be a bother finding a quiet place like this, though?
: Contemplation takes time, Ewan. It doesn't matter where, so long as you do it.
: Oh... Well, if Valega is an important part of Caer Pelyn's culture and history, I think I might give it a try.
: Really? And I wonder how many days you'll last at that.
: Heh. I guess you're right. Knowing the harmony of the heavens sounds tough. Do you have anything easier I could practice in the meantime?
: Hm. Let me think. Your skill level is still quite low, but...
: Thanks, Teacher. I remember when you first decided to teach me some magic. I was so excited that I went out and practiced over and over again.
: You must pace yourself. Using too much magic can drain both body and soul.
: Yeah. Boy, I know that. After that time, I was so tired that I couldn't stay awake. I was so tired that I slept for a full day. I woke up in bed...
: Technically, it was two days.
: Oh, so that was you who carried me home?
: Now that I think about it, no one else would have bothered! Thank you.
: Ewan, don't push yourself too hard. Magic is no game.
: I know, and don't worry!
: What is it, Ewan?
: Do you remember a few years ago when you went to visit Commander Gerik? That was when I met you and followed you back to Caer Pelyn. I never said thank you for taking me in, Teacher. I've never regretted it.
: I remember it clearly. I kept thinking, "What have I gotten myself into"?
: If that's the way you felt about it, why did you let me be your student?
: Your eyes.
: My eyes?
: You had a spark in your eyes. I knew that I saw an exceptional talent for magic in those eyes.
: Wow. That's really something. I would never have guessed.
: I'm sure, as your training progresses, that you will feel your power grow.
: I'll train even harder, then! Back when I first started, I... thought you were kinda scary.
: Well, you don't really talk much. I always thought you were angry with me, and I didn't know why.
: All that because I was so silent all the time?
: Yep. But after a while, I figured out it was just the way you were.
: Ewan, you can never find truth in words, spoken or unspoken. Truth lives within the heart.
: But other people can't see what's inside your heart, can they?
: If you can trust one another, you can see. And you will understand.
: Oh! Is that how it works? I think I get it now. But talking is so important in building friendships, isn't it? We use words to communicate things like feelings and ideas. But all that stuff, it's just on the surface. Does that mean that if people use their hearts, they can communicate without using words?
: That's right.
: You really are great, Teacher. You teach me by making me teach myself, and I mean more than just magic... ...Remember how angry you were at me that one time? Back when I took out that magic tome?
: ...I wasn't angry that you took the tome out with you. It's that you took it with you without asking and went for a stroll. And then you stopped to play in the river...
: That's right. Then I dropped it and SPLASH!! Right in it went... It wasn't in the water long, but those pages were totally illegible...
: That utter carelessness-- No, your lack of consideration. That's what made me angry.
: I'm s-sorry. But I never took any books with me when I went to the river after that.
: And there were other things, as well.
: Oh, you don't mean...that? Oh, yeah. Ha ha ha.
: Unbelievable... I've never had a student so troublesome as you.
: But I promise to be much more careful in the future!
: Is there even a shred of truth in those words?
: You rascal...
: Oh, Teacher.
: Ewan... If something happens to me, take all my scrolls and magical items, and... keep them for your own.
: What? Why would you say that?
: This conflict has grown bitter. I'm not sure I'll see it to its end. And...if something does happen, I want you to care for Dara. Watch over her and Caer Pelyn.
: Oh, come on! There is no way anything is going to happen to you, Teacher! And besides, if you weren't around, I would have no clue what to do.
: Ewan... Don't underestimate yourself. One day, you will surpass me.
: Huh? Really? Do you mean that, Teacher?
: It all hinges on your own efforts.
: I won't let you down!
: Only those who choose magic can handle it. And you are special even among them... Be confident. You have a rare gift that others can never duplicate.
: Teacher... If you really mean that, then there's no way I'm going to let you die.
: I'll be at your side protecting you. If the two of us combine our power, we can get through anything that arises!
: Whew... Protect...me? I had no idea until this moment how dependable you've become.
: Right! That's because I'm the great sage Saleh's number-one student!
: Well spoken, Ewan. Come on, follow me. I'll use this war to teach you every last bit of the magic I know. My dear, sweet student.
: Sounds good, Teach!
(It's also interesting seeing Saleh portrayed as a kind of wizened, surly teacher, since traditional story conventions would place him more into the 30-40 year old bracket, or perhaps even more. And yet, he and Eirika get married in their ending. Maybe he's in his late 20's, then?)