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Chapter 2: Band of Mercenaries

Narration:
Six months ago, Lyn lost her family and her home in a raid by the ruthless Taliver Bandits. She, along with a handful of others, escaped, but had scattered to the winds, unlikely to find each other again. For six months, Lyn was sure she was all alone in the world, until specters from her past returned in the form of two knights from Ryerde, and the tactician they escorted. On a new quest to meet her grandfather, Lyn heads southwest, to Lycia. To get there, she must pass the mountain range that separates the Sacae Plains from Bern, where bandit savagery is the way of life.

{Ruined village. Lyn steps in}
Lyn: This place… It’s…

Sain: The entire area is in ruins. Why doesn’t their marquess do anything to help?

Lyn: Taliver Mountain is home to a gang of vicious, ruthless bandits. No marquess holds power here. My village was near here, on the other side of the mountain. (Lyn looks melancholy) My people were… The Taliver bandits came at night. It took only one night. The survivors numbered less than ten, including me. (Lyn lifts her head) They’re soulless beasts. I will never forgive them. Never.

Sain: Lyndis…

Kent:

Lyn: I am not running away. I will be back someday. I’ll be stronger. I will break their swords beneath me like twigs beneath a stallion’s hooves. I will avenge my people! I’ll do everything in my power.

Sain: When the time comes, bring me with you!

Kent: I, as well. As the royal family, and our friend, we are your knights, after all.

Lyn: Sain, Kent…

Wren: Heh. All of you, so reckless and eager. It’ll take more than three impassioned youths to take on a full bandit camp. Perhaps you could use me for some strategic master plan.

Lyn: Wren? You too? I… You’re… Thank you. Thank you, all.

Natalie: (from off screen) Your pardon, sirs and ladies…

Lyn: Huh? Who’s there?

{Natalie enters}

Natalie: I… Forgive my intrusion. My name’s Natalie. I’m from a village not far from here–ah! Ow…

Sain: Easy now.

Lyn: Are you alright? Your leg…

Natalie: It’s fine. Don’t worry. It’s from a childhood sickness. I can’t travel far on it, but it doesn’t trouble me much.

Lyn: What are you doing here all by yourself?

Natalie: I’m looking for my husband… I heard he was in this area. He said he was going to raise money to have my leg mended. He left the village and hasn’t returned. He’s a kindhearted man, but I think he might be involved in something dangerous. I got so worried… His name is Dorcas. Do you know of him? Hang on, I have a sketch of him. It’s a poor likeness at best, but…

Lyn: I’m sorry. I don’t believe I’ve seen or heard of him.

Kent: We haven’t encountered a man like him on our journey here, either.

Natalie: I see… If you do meet him, please give him a message. Tell him that Natalie is looking for him.

Lyn: I will tell him. I promise.

Wren: So what will you do now?

Natalie: Me? I guess I’ll keep looking. Good ‘morrow to you.

Sain: Wait a minute, where are you off to? This area’s crawling with bandits; we’re standing right in some of their handiwork.

Natalie: Well, I figured that.

Kent: Just where is your village, anyway?

Natalie: I told you, not far. Just a few miles that way.

Sain: But that’s through the pass and into Bern!

Wren: Which is still technically just a few miles in a straight line…

Sain: No, no, we cannot let you go off on your own. At least let us take you back to your village.

Natalie: If it’s not a bother… Then, I thank you.

{scene fade out. Fade back in on another village, not in good shape. The party’s map sprites, accompanied by Wren and Natalie, enter}

Lyn: Oh no…

Kent: This was an outpost when we passed through it. Now… Thank goodness it’s not as bad as the last one.

Sain: I hope there are still some water troughs nearby. Our horses need a break before we hit the pass.

Wren: And I think Natalie and I could use a rest.

Natalie: Nonsense, I’m fine, I’m fine…

Lyn: Hold on, do you hear that? There’s someone arguing nearby. Could there be survivors?

{scene shift to Florina and some bandits}

Migal: Wait right there, little lady! What are you going to do to apologize? Huh?

Florina: Uh… I…That is, I…

Bandit: Hey, she’s quite a catch, eh, buddy? I bet we could get a pretty penny for her.

Migal: Yeah. She roughed you up a bit, so I figure fair’s fair. It’s no more’n she deserves.

Florina: I… I…

Bandit: What are we gonna do with her flying mule that kicked me in the face?

Florina: Don’t you dare touch him!

Bandit: What? You just watch your mouth, girlie!

Florina: Do what you will with me, just… Let him go! Please, I beg of you!

Migal: Ha! Silly twit! Pegasi can only be found in Ilia. They’re rare beasts, worth more than you by far! We can sell it for a mountain of gold. Let it go? HA!

Florina: No, you can’t…!

Migal: C’mon! Let’s move!

Florina: Get OFF of me!

{Florina shoves Migal away, and she takes off to run into the party}

Lyn: That’s…a pegasus. Could it–Florina!? Florina, is that you?

Florina: Ah! Lyn?

{Lyn and Florina rush to meet}

Lyn: Florina! What are you doing in a place such as this?

Florina: Lyn! Is it really you? I…I…

Lyn: (smiling) Hey, come on now, no crying!

Florina: I’m sorry.

Kent: You know each other?

Lyn: She’s my best friend. This is Florina, a pegasus knight in training from Ilia.

Florina: (stepping back) Mmph…

Lyn: She’s a little uncomfortable around men. Tell me, Florina, what happened here?

Florina: Well…um…I went to Bulgar to see you, but they told me you left on a journey, so I…I decided to follow you. Then I saw this village… I flew down to ask if they had news of you. I didn’t see these two, and…well…”

Kent: Did your pegasus land on them?

Florina: Well, I… A little…

Bandit: (from offscreen) Aha! You heard her!

{Migal and the Bandit rush in}

Bandit: She admitted it! She stepped on my face, and now she’s got to pay!

Lyn: Did you apologize, Florina?

Florina: Yes. I told them I was sorry many times over. They just wouldn’t listen…

Lyn: Don’t cry. It’s all right.

Florina: Lyn…

Lyn: Listen, she’s obviously sorry. Can’t we just let this pass? You don’t appear to be injured or anything.

Migal: Lyn, huh… And those men… Oh ho! Hey, you jerk, that pegasus landing on you is turning out to be the best thing that could’ve happened to us!

Bandit: Did it have to land on me, though…?

{Migal and the Bandit leave}

Migal: C'mon out now, boys! For the men, kill'em! For the women, slap 'em in chains! And for the Sacaen…we take her to Lundgren!

Lyn: Lundgren?

Wren: Oh no…

Lyn: No matter. We’ve got to fight back!

Florina: Lyn… I…

Lyn: You’re a pegasus knight, aren’t you? You can fight, can’t you?

Florina: …Yes!

Lyn: Listen carefully, We’re facing bandits. They’re small time, but we can’t take them too lightly. Let’s clear them out of here. Are you ready?

{The battle begins}

Lyn: The layout around here might make it difficult to fight. The same holds true for our foe, too. If we use these walls just so, they may ensure our victory. Wren, Natalie, stay safe. If they were to slip through and get to you…

Wren: Don’t have to tell me, twice.

Natalie: Good luck!

{Someone visits the Village}

Visitor: Is anyone there?

Villager A: (offscreen) Leave us alone, you thugs!

Villager B: (offscreen) Go away! Go away! We’ve no more gold for you!

Visitor: No, wait! Please! We’re not bandits! We want to help the village. Please listen!

Wil: (offscreen). …Remain inside, everyone. I’ll go see what’s happening. (onscreen) Not bandits, huh? So, who are you?

Visitor: My name is [Lyn/Kent/Sain]. My colleagues and I are just traveling through here. We saw some bandits about. We’re going to deal with them, but we need you to go and warn the villagers.
or…
Florina: H…Hello… My name is Florina. I was meeting with a friend…it really doesn’t matter. There are bandits, and we…we have to fight! So could you, um…c-could you warn the villagers, keep them safe? Okay thanks goodbye. (tries to leave)

Wil: Hey! Wait! The name’s Wil. I’m a traveler of sorts, too. Listen, these villagers have been kind to me. Mind if I fight with you? That’s how I can keep them safe.

Lyn/Kent: Not at all. We need all the help we can get! Welcome aboard, Wil!
or…
Sain: Of course I don’t mind! You’re a man of noble heart and stalwart conviction, just like me! Come, brother! Together, we ride!

or…
Florina: Ah, really? Then, um…okay–YEEK! Put that down, or, at least, don’t point it at me!

Wil: Huh? Oh, my bow? Ah, I’m sorry. You’re a pegasus knight, right?

Florina: Yes… Sorry, I didn’t mean to shout.

Wil: No, no, it’s okay. Archery’s the weakness of any pegasus rider, I know. I’ll take care not to aim up!

Florina: Ehe…thank you.

{Visit the northern village}
Villager: You came to help the village? That’s good. With so many bandits, I wasn’t sure what to do. It’s not much, but please, take this money. There is an armory at the southeast end of the village. Equip yourself as you see fit, and help us, please.
{Receive 2000 gold}

{Start of enemy turn}

Migal: Hey, wait a minute, where’s the new guy? …Hey! Dorcas! Get out here!

Dorcas:

Migal: Don’t give me that “strong silent type” act. You want a cut of the profits, you’re gonna actually have to do some work! Now, listen, we’re about to bust some heads with some chumps. While we’re doing that, I want you to get around to their back lines and capture the women. We want them alive, but, if you can’t do that for the Sacaen, at least leave something we can give to Lundgren.

Dorcas: … (leaves to get into position) Oh, how low have I sunk… Natalie, please forgive me…

{Start of player’s next turn, if Florina didn’t visit the village that recruited Wil}

Florina: Lyn! What should I do? There’s an archer!!!

Lyn: What? Where!? Oh, that’s Wil.

Wil: Hi! You’re one of Lyn’s friends?

Florina: Um…

Wil: Uh…? Are you alright?

Lyn: I’m sorry, Wil. Her name is Florina. She’s timid around men, and you… well, you’ve got a bow.”

Wil: Oh! I see! You must be a pegasus knight! I’m sorry I frightened you; I do understand your fear of bows.

Florina: I, um… I’m sorry… Even looking at a bow…frightens me ever so much.

Wil: Of course, I understand. But you should really only fear the enemy’s archers, not your own.

Florina: Yes…of course…

Wil: Don’t worry, I’ll take special care not to aim up.

Florina: Ah…thank you.

{Lyn talks to Dorcas}

Lyn: Wait, that man, he looks like… You! Tell me, are you Dorcas?

Dorcas: …How do you know my name?

Lyn: Natalie told me. What are you doing with these rogues?

Dorcas: I need money…

Lyn: That may be, but…bandits?

Dorcas: It’s the only way to earn gold in these parts. I’ll do anything… Even this.

Lyn: For gold? Anything? Would you hurt your wife? Natalie is here! We’re protecting her as we pass through!

Dorcas: What!? Natalie’s… She’s here!?

Lyn: She was so worried that she came looking for you. Think, Dorcas! Would your actions please your wife?

Dorcas: … …You’re right.

Lyn: Well?

Dorcas: I understand. I can’t do this. I’m done with these bandits. Here and now.

Lyn: Really?

Dorcas: Yes. And… I would repay you for your kindness toward Natalie. Allow me to fight for you.

{Dorcas joins the team}

{Dorcas talks to Natalie}
Dorcas: Natalie!

Natalie: Dorcas? Is it really you?

Dorcas: Natalie! Are you all right? What were you thinking, coming out all this way?

Natalie: I was worried about you. Please, don’t let my leg trouble you anymore. Besides, what were YOU thinking? Throwing yourself into danger like this!

Dorcas: I’m sorry. I must have been out of my head. I didn’t realize… That girl, Lyn, made me open my eyes.

Natalie: Lyndis brought you here?

Dorcas: I’ll explain later. We’ve got to drive back these bandits first. Listen, stay put. Don’t move from here.

Natalie: All right. Here, I brought this from home, in case I found you, or I needed to defend myself.

Dorcas: Natalie… Thank you.

Natalie: As long as you’re here, though, I know I’ll be safe.

{Dorcas receives a Steel Axe}

[Migal vs Wil, Sain]
Migal: Put 'em up! We’re not listening to any of your stinkin’ apologies!

[Migal vs Lyn]
Lyn: Hey, just a second! There’s something I wanted to ask you.

Migal: Begging for your life? You’re as good to us alive or dead.

Lyn: Are you… Taliver bandits?

Migal: Taliver? Those greedy monsters? We’re nothing like them!! Those fiends will even kill women and children! We’re Ganelon, and we know a little something of honour. We don’t harm women, for one thing. After all, why kill what you can sell? And we’re down to working with foreigners. It’s called pragmatism.

Lyn: If you’re not Taliver, then there’s no reason for you to die here today. If you would like to tuck your tails and flee, do so now.

Migal: … … Alright! Dead it is!

[Migal vs Florina]
Florina: Um… Excuse me…

Migal: Huh? It’s you! So, you changed your mind about coming with us, eh?

Florina: Well…no… But…this really is… my fault… Really… So, can we…

Migal: What? C'mon, lass, out with it!

Florina: I’m sorry. Can we… Can we just stop fighting now?

Migal: You’ve got to be kidding. After I’ve been made to look like a fool? No way!

Florina: Eeek!

Migal: You’re coming with us! I promise you that! Now, if you don’t want to get hurt, give yourself up!

[Migal vs Kent]
Kent: You there. You mentioned Lundgren. Do you work for him?

Migal: There’s a bounty on the Sacaen girl’s head, and we’re in the prime opportunity to collect. It’s a bit of a trip, but the price he’s paying…it’ll be worth it!

Kent: Damn, this…this complicates things immensely…

[Migal vs Dorcas]
Migal: You know, I figured you’d be the type to turn coat. Good thing I didn’t waste any money on you, yet.

Dorcas: I have only myself to blame for getting involved with the likes of you. For all your talk of honour, you’re worse than the Taliver. Compared to the life you doom innocent women to, killing them would be a kindness.

Migal: You little… I’m going to waste YOU, flat out!

[Migal death quote]

Migal: Damnit…this was…supposed to be…my lucky day…

[After battle]

Lyn: That’s finally taken care of.

Florina: Lyn!

Lyn: Florina… Why did you follow me? It’s so dangerous.

Florina: Do you remember the knighting ceremony of the Pegasus Knights of Ilia?

Lyn: Yes, you join a band of freelance soldiers to further your training. Is that what brought you here, Florina?

Florina: Uh-huh. I wanted to talk to you before I set out. But when I went to Sacae, I heard that you had left with some strangers, and…

Lyn: You were worried for me? Thank you, but I’m more worried about you.

Florina: Me?

Lyn: Listen, most mercenaries are men, right? Bands of men? I can’t imagine you being at all comfortable around them.

Florina: I know, I know. It’s just… I’ve always dreamt of being a pegasus knight. I imagined I would just…work it out. Somehow. After today, though, I’m not so sure. Maybe I should just…give up…”

Lyn: Florina… Don’t cry…

Sain: (offscreen) Yes! There’s no reason to give up your dream!

Lyn: Hm?

Sain: (onscreeen) Lovely Florina! I have the most brilliant idea!

Kent: Sain!

Sain: You should come with us! With the addition of Wil here, we’re a fine group of soldiers, and freelance to boot!

Wil: Wait, I’m involved in this?

Sain: Of course! We were destined to meet here! It’s fate! Come now, Lyndis’s band of mercenaries is as good a training group as you will find anywhere!

Kent: Sain, this is no joking matter!

Wren: Well, it is kind of funny.

Florina: Lyndis? Um, Lyn? Mercenaries?

Lyn: I can give you details later. This is all a bit rushed. However, Sain is right. Will you come with us, Florina?

Florina: Travel with you, Lyn? Truly? I would be so…so happy!

Sain: Fantastic! Beauteous Florina! I am Sir Sain, Knight of Ryerde–

Florina: Eeek! Not so close!

Sain: Ah… Beautiful, and yet so modest!

Kent: I beg your forgiveness. Calling us mercenaries…

Lyn: No, I approve. I…would very much like to travel with Florina. She requires special attention, though. Can I count on you?

Kent: You have but to ask.

Wil: So… I’m travelling with you guys, then?

Lyn: Oh, yes. Of course! If you’re willing, Wil.

Wil: Actually, I’m very grateful. Truth be told, all of my money was stolen, and I’m… at a bit of a crossroads. I would be honored to count myself one of Lyndis’s Legion!

{cutscene of the Lyndis Legion at their first and finest}

Lyn: “Lyndis’s Legion”? This is getting stranger with every day.

{scene fade to black, then fade in}

Lyn: Wren, about that name the bandit mentioned… Who is Lundgren?

Wren: I had hoped it wouldn’t have come to this, but… You don’t just have a grandfather, Lyndis. Lundgren is Lord Hausen’s younger brother. When Madelyn left, that made Lundgren heir to the throne, and his son, Earl, the heir, should Lundgren die before Hausen.

Sain: However, it is…not in Ryerde’s best interest if Lundgren were to take the throne. He’s been involved with some backdoor dealings with Laus that threaten to destabalize all of Lycia. It also involves vastly increasing Ryerde’s military spending, at the expense…well, everything else.

Wren: Lord Hausen realized this, as well, so he decided to name his own heir. He chose Lundgren’s grand-daughter, Eirwen, to succeed him when he dies. The only problem is, well…

Kent: Young Miss Eirwen is only 10 years old. So, unless Lord Hausen survives until her 16th birthday, Lundgren would still take the throne until such time as she is old enough to rule the kingdom.

Wren: And, believe me when I say that, Lundgren only needs one year to do major harm to Ryerde’s standing in Lycia. So…while we had hoped it would be a simple matter of just getting you and your grandfather to meet and mend old wounds, with Lundgren playing his hand…we need you to be Marquise of Ryerde.

Sain: Lundgren knows this, so…it seems like he’s going to try and keep it from happening.

Lyn: What!? But… But I’ve no interest in inheriting anything! And I…I wouldn’t be ready! I couldn’t possibly lead a nation!

Wren: It would only be until such time as Eirwen is old enough to inherit the title Hausen bequeathed her. And you would have advisers along the way. Besides, Lord Hausen’s a tough old man. So long as Lundgren doesn’t try anything, he could very well last until that time occurs. But, Lyndis, we need you.

Lyn: I… I don’t know…

Wren: Lyndis… I know this is a lot to take in. And I’m sorry. And I honestly don’t want to force you. But you should know: whether you agree to come with us or not, Lundgren will still want your head, and the mere act of coming to find you means Sir Kent, Sir Sain, and myself, are in danger as well. I’m sorry, but stopping now just isn’t an option.

Lyn: …You’re right. I have to press on. I need to see my family again. Even if one of them wants me dead. I’ll do my best to manage. But… You all will be there to help me, right?

Sain: We are forever at your service!

Kent: You needn’t even ask.

Wren: I promise.

Lyn: I’m counting on you. And… Thank you.

{scene fade to black, then fade in}

Wren: So, are you two going to be alright?

Dorcas: Our village is close. I’ll take Natalie home, and meet you on the other side of the pass.

Wren: Hm? Why can’t we just say our farewells now? We can’t really afford to make a stop at your village…

Dorcas: Well I…I was hoping to join you.

Wren: Join us? Well, if Lundgren is involved in this, we could certainly use some more muscle. But we’re going all the way to Lycia, and it will be a dangerous road…

Dorcas: I have to go somewhere to earn money. If you think I’ll be of use, I’d like to fight for you. You helped my wife… I owe you.

Wren: Dorcas…

Natalie: Please, Lady Wren. We are both in agreement on this. Watch over my husband.

Wren: Then…I gladly welcome you to our company, Dorcas. Or, I’ll gladly welcome you when we see you again after you take Nat–you understand.

{Fade out. End Chapter 2}
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