Rebirth Chapter 11

Hero's Grove

By Annie Felis

Strago Magus was laid to rest the next day, in the same grove that housed the grave of General Leo. The whole town was in attendance, all to show respect for what possibly was their greatest hero. He had given his life for his friends, and so that another's soul could be freed. On the other side of the grove another new grave stood, the grave of the man known as Shadow. On the tombstone, it listed his name as Clyde Arrowny, the father of Relm.

Locke stood and read Clyde's tombstone. "Clyde Arrowny, 3968 (34 BK) - 4001 (2 PA). Father, husband, and man strong of spirit." He sighed, taking the knife, Striker, and laying it in its embroidered sheath against the grave. "Sleep well." He stood, and Celes rested herself against him, both the only ones visiting the grave. All others were at the opposite end of the grove of poplars, at Strago's.

Celes sighed. "Do you think any of them really understand the implications of these two? ...of Clyde and Strago?"

The treasure hunter shook his head. "Even if they don't, they're still offering their respects. If anything, it's something."

She nodded. "Yes, it is. The Elder proclaimed this place the "Hero's Grove", and from henceforth it'll be a sacred place where only the valiant are buried." She sighed. "It's sad, but very fitting."

Locke gave the small smile that people use when attending funerals. "I don't think the three of them deserved anything less." He looked over to where Terra was standing. She was neither at Strago's or Shadow's graves, but at her customary spot by Leo's. Locke gently took Celes' hand. "Come on...let's give her some time to herself." He led her to follow the others that filed out of the grove, and towards the Elder's house.

Terra, garbed in black, looked at the gold-hilted sword rising out of the grave, the only tombstone Leo would ever get...the only one he would of wanted. She sighed.

"Leo, I'm sorry. But I'm letting go. Is that all right?"

A faint breeze blew through the grove, rustling the leaves on the poplars gently, as if answering her.

When she responded, it was in a faint voice, a voice of somebody who finally can accept who they are; the sound of somebody who now knew what road they were set to take:

"...thank you."

Terra then turned, and walked along the white limestone pathways, to the Elder's house.

The Hero's Grove was rustled by another breeze that sang through the poplars, and then fell silent.

* * *

The remnants of The Returners sat around Relm's home, all talking quietly. Many hours had passed; like people generally do at funeral lunches, they talked gaily, and laughed quite a bit, some having a bit too much to drink as well. Now, all the laughter was gone, and they gathered to talk in tired tones.

Edgar sat with a glass of wine in his hand, listening as Celes, Terra and Locke talked. It was only one week, but it was a long one. So many things had happened, and so many things still needed to be explored. For one, the material issue. Granted, it could give anybody the ability to cast magic, but is that what they wanted? It seemed that every time magic reared its ugly head, the world was thrust into turmoil. The king sighed, sipped his wine, and looked over at Terra.

"We're all reborn." She was saying. "The same souls are always intertwined, destined to be brought back for the purpose of saving the world. Even as the world changes, it always stays the same for us. Sure, we might change gender or alignment when reborn, but inside, we're the same person."

Celes wrinkled her nose. "So you're saying that I can be reborn as an evil man?"

Terra smiled. "Well, not evil...but at least a man that doesn't always fly with the good guys."

Locke smiled stupidly, long past drunk. "'S right, Celes. You can still be a good bad guy. And I mean guy...heheh."

She sighed, and removed the drink from his hand. "Sorry dear, but I think your bedtime is coming up soon."

"Aww." The thief actually pouted.

Terra looked up wistfully. "I wonder who I'll be if I'm reborn?"

Edgar looked at her, and jumping into the conversation, smiled. "The same person, but several generations from now."

She laughed. "Thanks for ruining the image for me, Edgar." She stood, and stretched. "I need to get some air. Want to come, Edgar?"

The king looked over to where his twin was snoring noisily in a nearby chair. "No, I think I should get my brother to bed. I think I probably should go to sleep soon, myself." He stood, and then bowed to her. "My lady," Then he went over to Sabin, and roughly started to shake him awake.

Terra headed outside, and almost immediately looked up at the stars. She always found herself staring at the sky; she would look at the stars, at the clouds, or even at the sapphire dome of the daytime sky. For some reason, it always gave her comfort.

Somebody came up beside her. She didn't even have to look; the familiar smell of his musky cologne filled her nostrils, and she knew that Setzer had come to stand near her.

"If it wasn't for all the damn gloomy circumstances, I'd say it's a nice night." He said.

She nodded, and continued looking at the stars. "I would too." She sighed. "Why is it these things always surround my life, Setzer? For once, I would like to go out into the world from someplace and not risk heaven and hell in the process." She felt his arm slip around her shoulders. He had taken to that habit since her return yesterday. Not that she particularly minded.

"I think you can, Terra. It's just that you always notice something is up, or something that's wrong, and you always want to fix it. I think you need to stop caring about everybody and everything, and just care about yourself for a while."

The Esper looked up at him. "That's awfully selfish, Setzer."

He smiled his wolflike grin. "Yes, isn't it? It's part of being human. If we don't indulge ourselves from time to time, then what the hell is this thing called "life"? Why do we bother living it if we don't have a little fun?"

Just seeing his smile, she had to smile too. "I think you're right. I keep worrying about my kids in Mobliz, but in truth most of them are old enough to take care of themselves. I worry about the strangers I see on the street." She laughed. "I worry about some small birds I see near a hawk's nest. I guess I do worry to much."

"Told you so."

She laughed again. "All right, I'm for it. I'll get out and go...someplace." She frowned, her thin eyebrows creasing in thought. "...but I don't know where I want to go."

"Come with me, then."

Terra looked at him. "With you?"

The gambler's gray eyes twinkled. "Why not? You know we'd have fun. We'd see the world in all its beauty from the deck of the Falcon. I'd show you the lighter side of life, Terra...which I know you need to see." His scarred face broke into another grin, but this one was a bit softer. "C'mon Terra...just for a week. Just so you can see..."

She smiled, and shrugged. "Sure, why not? I don't think a little fun will kill me."

Setzer smiled, and gave her a squeeze, his arm still around her shoulders. "Nope. It'll do you wonders."

* * *

The next day, they departed. There were the standard goodbyes, and the women all got a little teary. Cyan and his stepson agreed to stay with Relm for a while, at least until she recovered.

"Her wounds are deep, but I believe that Gau and I can help relieve some of her pain." He said as the group got ready to depart.

Gau nodded. "It's the least we can do, after all."

Edgar, Sabin, and Mog boarded a ship to South Figaro. Edgar, of course, had to say goodbye to Terra one last time.

"I hear you're going on a journey, my lady." He said with a smile.

"Just a small one...only a week. Setzer told me that a vacation would do me some good, so he offered to take me around to see the world."

Edgar felt a pang of jealousy, but didn't show it on his face. "What will you do after that?"

Terra shrugged. "I don't know. I think I'll go back to Mobliz for a while, maybe. My kids--"

"Bring them and come to Figaro."

Terra blinked. "You want me to bring them to Figaro?"

The king nodded. "It's your call, but you know that they're welcome there. I can find families for each and every one of them, if you would like. Either that, or I could send people to Mobliz, and rebuild the town."

Her eyes lit up, and she suddenly hugged him. "Edgar, that would be wonderful!"

He smiled. "As I said, I would do anything for you, my lady." He kissed her on the cheek, somewhat satisfied to see her face flush with color. "Write to me, Terra. I'll miss you terribly."

Terra watched as the boat pulled away, as Edgar stood on deck and watched the port of Thamasa pull away. Then she sighed and headed to the Falcon where Locke, Celes and Setzer were waiting. As she boarded the ship, she wondered where her life was going. For once, she had felt happy with those children. But yet, something inside herself was changing again. She felt the need for something, but what it was, Terra didn't know. She walked up on deck, where Setzer was waiting by the wheel.

"So, after we take those two lovers back to Koligen, where are we headed?" Setzer fired up the engines, the blades of the propellers whirring to life.

Terra smiled, and pointed off to the early evening sky, where the first stars were winking into view. "Second star to the right, and straight off towards morning."

The gambler laughed, and they took off.


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