The Former Princess
After the war with True Dragon Medb is won, the representatives of Alster Island hold parliament to decide how best to celebrate the occasion. With talks leading only to a standstill, Heles wonders whether or not she should speak. Elisheba convinces her to follow her instincts and lead her people.
Heles: When the Astrals brought war upon the skydwellers, the citizens of Alster Island aligned themselves with True Dragon Deirdre in rebellion.
Heles: Deirdre's pact with the first king of a flourishing Irestill brought peace between the island's monsters and mortals that was everlasting.
Heles: Until that pact was forgotten, and a knight brought Deirdre to death's door as commanded by his mortal king.
Heles: Monsters, unfettered, destroyed the Irestill Kingdom. Only Prince Seruel and Princess Heles of the Irestill lineage realized what their family had done.
Heles: Through the siblings' effort, Deirdre was brought back from the brink of death, and she found it in her heart to forgive the Irestill house for their transgressions.
Heles: The knight Naoise bestowed True Dragon Deirdre with a new name, Scathacha, and the dragon once again blessed the island with her protection.
Heles: But not all would accept Scathacha's decision.
Heles: True Dragon Medb was bitter at Scathacha's fraternizations with mortals.
Heles: Medb instilled madness in the monsters of Alster Island and sent her own dragons to attack the people, bringing great strife to the land.
Heles: Scathacha, inhabitants of the island, and (Captain) did everything in their power to bring an end to Medb's terror.
Heles: But no person, nor monster, nor being was spared the deep scars that Medb inflicted.
Elisheba: I've come due to the strong winds. Are you not a bit chilly?
Scathacha: This breeze doesn't bother me. But thank you for the concern.
Scathacha: I wonder how tough this must be on mortals. So many homes have been lost.
Elisheba: The houses that remain are being shared to keep the people warm. In these times, helping one another is all we can do.
Elisheba: If those houses become full, the capital is prepared to make accommodations. You need not worry.
Scathacha: I see...
Elisheba: We will survive. As long as we have one another to lean on, this too shall pass.
Elisheba: And don't forget we the people are not alone. The monsters are also lending their strength. There is nothing our combined efforts cannot accomplish.
Scathacha: You are all truly strong when united.
Elisheba: It is your protection that makes it so. Please find rest soon.
Scathacha: (Worrying only causes others to worry...
What a wretch I am...)
Scathacha: (I'm meant to be their protector, but how can I in this state? I shame the true dragon legacy.)
Scathacha: (Medb, what would you think of me...)
Heles, Seruel, and Naoise led the citizens to stop the wave of Medb's attacks.
They have asked (Captain) if they may stay in Alster and help the parliament and the citizens.
Heles: Scathacha seems preoccupied. I suppose we all are in some way or another...
Seruel: No one holds her responsible for what happened, so I would hope she doesn't succumb to the sadness in her heart.
Seruel: Otherwise her grief will infect the people...
Naoise: Those of the parliament and the Great Court are putting up a brave front.
Naoise: Seeing their bravado is a painful sight to bear witness to.
Heles: If only we had something that would offer solace.
Seruel: For her... And for the people...
Heles: Yes. Rejecting pain or dwelling on it for too long both shatter the heart.
Elisheba: Excuse me, Seruel, Heles.
Heles: Elisheba? What troubles you?
Elisheba: The parliament would like to have a word with the two of you if possible.
Seruel: Hm? I was under the impression our help was unnecessary. What could they possibly need us for?
Elisheba: They want to hold a ceremony for those who perished in the recent conflict.
Naoise: A ceremony...
Heles: Something to commemorate this victory and pay respect...
Naoise: An excellent idea... but for what purpose do they require Seruel and Heles?
Heles: These are no ordinary times. At present there may be many a thing which the parliament cannot handle alone.
Heles: Let us hear their plea. What say you, Seruel?
Seruel: Yes, Sister... We mustn't give them more to worry over by refusing.
Seruel and Heles make their way to the meeting room, intent on listening to whatever the parliament has to say.
After more pressing matters such as how resources will be distributed are discussed, talk of the memorial begins.
Imperial Council: Next I would like to discuss how we should conduct the memorial...
Town Council: I had no objection to the idea when it was discussed earlier, and I still don't.
Town Council: However, while we must mourn for the lost, is that the right thing for our people at this time?
Town Council: Must we force them to confront their sadness at the present moment?
Village Council: It does not seem reasonable to parade around happily. This is a time to recognize our sadness.
Town Council: But we cannot just sit and wallow!
Town Council: The parliament's responsibility is not to force a confrontation with grief, but to give our people hope, is it not?
Village Council: Confrontation? No! I'm talking about release! You deeply misunderstand our purpose!
Imperial Council: During times of suffering, the island of Alster must come together as one.
Imperial Council: We must think of a way to make that possible.
Village Council: I am well aware of that! Which is why we need a moment of silence with our people in the form of a memo—
Town Council: That will not help anyone!
Imperial Council: What if we instead go ahead with Deirdre Fest and give the public reason to smile?
Village Council: Who do you think can muster a smile at a time like this! Deirdre Fest must be conducted at a later time...
The parliament is at odds, and time only wastes away.
Heles: (Each are only trying to do what's best for the good of the people. But pride blinds them...)
Heles: (Under normal circumstances, such differences of opinion would be acknowledged and compromises would be made...)
Heles: (But the trauma of the invasion riddles them with anxiety that distorts their views.)
Heles: (Their unease is replacing what used to be compassion.)
Heles: (I have no choice...)
Seruel knows that Heles intends to take control of the parliament, and he tries to stop her.
Seruel: It is not our place. We have entrusted this land to them.
Seruel: So long as they ask for us former royals to be present, we shall oblige.
Seruel: But doing anything beyond listening is unwelcome. We must stand by and watch.
Heles: Stand by...
Seruel: This is not only about the parliament. The Irestill Kingdom is gone, and their home has suffered another serious loss.
Seruel: Should they decide to distance themselves from this island, we must accept that decision too.
Heles: I... I understand. I would have it no other way.
Heles: They must live for themselves. Though the prospect of leaving home is painful, they must choose how to survive...
Seruel: We must allow them to make that choice without causing them undue guilt. We must concern ourselves only with keeping watch.
Heles: I... Yes, I agree. That is what we have chosen...
Seruel nods, and Heles looks upon the heated argument with sadness in her eyes.
Tragically, talks of the ceremony end in a standstill.
Heles: We are allowed to help, but not offer it.
Heles: I can appreciate that, but still... it leaves a bitter taste.
Heles: (This is my one and only home.)
Heles: (I only wish everyone would come together and lead this island to prosperity.)
Heles: (But is compounding their recent suffering really what's best for the island?)
Heles: Perhaps it's time for them to choose a new tomorrow.
Elisheba: Heles, the tailor has arrived. Are you ready for him to take your measurements?
Heles: Oh, that's right. I am in need of new attire for the ceremony.
Elisheba: Though the particulars of the ceremony are yet to be determined, it may be too late if you wait for everything to be set in stone.
Elisheba: I understand your reluctance to play dress-up, but I ask that you choose what is best for the island.
Heles: Yes, I know. Let's begin the fitting.
Elisheba: How long has it been since I last fussed over you like this?
Heles: Elisheba, you have taken my brother and I under your kind wing for so long.
Heles: When Mother passed, Naoise was but a baby. Oh, how difficult it must have been for you.
Heles: I cannot fathom the difficulty of raising your own baby and two children torn from another's cloth. I owe you my life.
Elisheba: I carry with me only fondness of that time.
Elisheba: It is almost sinful that I alone hold such dear memories, while Queen Mugain...
Heles: Elisheba, I heard that you were sent from my father's estate to the castle to learn etiquette.
Elisheba: That's quite right. My own father demanded I act more like a proper lady. He believed that it was unbecoming of me to act like a knight and tomboy.
Elisheba: But Mugain found me most entertaining for precisely those reasons and kept me by her side.
Heles: And the courtiers also told me that my mother was a polite, modest person.
Elisheba: She very much was! And just like my lady, she too was in possession of a strong will.
Elisheba: She was of the mind that the purpose of the royal family is to better the lives of the people. She would even visit them on a regular basis...
Elisheba: Oh, Mugain would always ignore King Connor's hyperbole, and together she and I would ride off into the village to take a look around.
Heles: Hehe. I heard the stories when I was little. Father was yet to be made king. He'd get so angry from worry.
Elisheba: His staunch adherence to the rules never failed to make her laugh even as she took a scolding.
Elisheba: Heles, you are your mother's daughter.
Elisheba: I can see the worry in your eyes. You wonder what you should do for your people and for your island, do you not?
Elisheba: You must believe in yourself now more than ever.
Heles: Believe in myself?
Elisheba: Doubt is a necessary ingredient for growth, but knowing when to trust your own instincts is yet another way to make progress.
Elisheba: I am sure you know what must be done. You have only to bring your will to the surface.
Heles: I could never hide a secret from you, Elisheba.
Elisheba: After all we've been through? Of course not! Rearing a child bestows many gifts.
Hearing Elisheba's words, Heles's hesitation fades.
After the tailor has taken his measurements, Heles makes her way to the parliament the next day.
Imperial Council: Your Grace, do you have something to share about what you will don for the ceremony? Or was there a problem with the tailor?
Heles: The ideas for my gown were marvelous. But that isn't the dress I should be wearing.
Town Council: It is not? Whatever do you mean?
Heles: We must pay our respects to those who gave their lives protecting this island.
Heles: We must give thanks for the tomorrow they sacrificed themselves for. Together with Deirdre, we must protect our great nation.
Heles: More than another dress, I require dress armor for the battles to come.
Village Council: Armor? How gallant!
Town Council: Armor is a splendid idea for Your Grace, defender of our land.
Heles: I will show hope to the people of Alster!
Heles: But to do that, I require your help. All of you.
Heles: For a better tomorrow, I ask that you consider how the ceremony is to be held. You must unify your spirits and decide what is best for the citizens.
Heles: I am aware it is not my place to meddle, but...
Town Council: There is no need for further word, Your Grace. I am truly ashamed of the incompetence you have laid witness to.
Imperial Council: Please give us your blessing. Lend us your strength! For our people!
Heles shows every intent to listen to the parliament.
The gathering of angry cries and distant echoes unify into one clear voice under Heles's leadership.
Those from the capital, towns, villages, and even a former member of the crown stand on equal footing, ready to lead their people to newfound hope.
But Still They March On
Heles convinces Seruel to help her guide parliament, but Seruel wonders if sharing their opinions robs the people of their free will. Naoise counters that without a crown, the former prince and princess are just like any other citizen and should voice their concerns for the well-being of the island and its people.
Ceremony talks had ended at an impasse as members of the parliament couldn't come to an agreement.
It was then that Heles decided to take the helm to end the political imbroglio.
Seruel: Sister, did we not agree to hold our tongues?
Heles: I am well aware of your position. But I have my own thoughts on the matter.
Heles: I do apologize for not seeking your counsel before reaching a decision...
Seruel: I do believe my words would have fallen on deaf ears regardless. Just as when we were children.
Seruel: Honestly I was counting on it.
Heles: That is why I can depend on you, Seruel. You know me as well as I know you.
Seruel: Aside from being dragged into their sisters' affairs, for what other purpose do little brothers exist?
Heles: Aren't you cheeky...
Seruel shrugs and watches as Heles heads off to speak with the parliament.
Naoise: Seruel, the tea has been prepared.
Seruel: Thank you, Naoise.
Seruel: I believe that the nature of the people of Alster Island gravitates toward honesty and trustworthiness.
Seruel: As such, they are a trusting kind, and should I or my sister share our thoughts with them, they would most likely follow us blindly.
Seruel: Our actions, then, would be tantamount to treason... A theft of the will of the people.
Naoise: I must concur that the people place much trust in you and Heles.
Naoise: But it is of their own volition that they trust you both.
Naoise: Because they choose to follow your lead is not reason enough to believe that you bear the full weight of whatever may befall them.
Seruel: Be that as it may...
Naoise: As you have already acknowledged, you are no longer the prince of Irestill.
Naoise: Without a crown, you are no different from any other citizen. You are a soul wanting only what is best for this island.
Naoise: There is no need to keep your thoughts bottled up.
Seruel: Is that... really so?
Naoise: It is. I can see no other truth.
Seruel: Thank you.
Imperial Council: So... you propose we use the decorations prepared for Deirdre Fest?
Town Council: But won't those be reminders of the battle we only just fought? I believe we'd best avoid those.
Imperial Council: There is no budget for creating new ornaments. You must understand that...
Town Council: What say we do away with decorations all together? We can use food stalls to liven the mood, yes?
Village Council: But wouldn't the streets lined with stalls be a bit too festive?
Town Council: Merriment is a necessity. Especially for the children. They must laugh, and—
Many decisions must be made for the ceremony, but opinions flood the ears of all ad nauseam.
Heles: (With this many ideas, there is no way we can reach a consensus. What a fortunate problem to have.)
Imperial Council: As I said! It would be best if—
Town Council: And as I was saying—
Heles: (They let their ideals cloud their thoughts and see very little of what others say.)
Heles: (There must something I can do to end this...)
Heles: If I may...
Imperial Council: Your Grace... Apologies... We have lost ourselves to passion once again...
Heles: Passion is what this island needs. That and the ability to listen calmly as others speak.
Town Council: We disgrace ourselves...
Heles: Perhaps it is direct conversation that causes you to lose yourselves.
Village Council: Even so, how can we communicate otherwise?
Heles: What if I were to hear each of your ideas and write them down?
Heles: It is often the case that before a speaker has finished their last word, the listener has already formed an opinion and attempts to speak their own thoughts.
Town Council: But who are we to ask you to take notes while we speak...
Heles: I do everything for the good of this island.
Heles: However, time is of the essence. I will implore Seruel to help me.
Heles: If... that is all right...
Village Council: We would have it no other way. A record of these proceedings will serve us well.
Heles: Then let us begin. Time is not our friend, so we will need to move quickly.
Imperial Council: Yes, Your Grace! As you please.
But Still They March On: Scene 2
The former royals lead the parliament masterfully but face the issue of how to make sure even citizens furthest from the capital can participate in the ceremony. Luckily with the help of Naoise, everyone is able to agree on a solution: a group of soldiers and monsters will ban together to show their solidarity as allies and embark on a pilgrimage to collect wooden tags with the names of departed loved ones written on them from every corner of the island.
Heles and Seruel take down the opinions of each of the members of parliament.
Each member then reads the ideas at their own pace and reflects.
Imperial Council: Reading offers such a unique perspective. It allows me to even see the flaws in my own ideas.
Heles: And with new eyes, we can approach the ceremony once again.
Village Council: Perhaps a ceremony that at once pays respect to the departed and celebrates their victory...
Village Council: Is not something we can do in one fell swoop.
Heles: Yes... It may be that we are trying to fire two arrows with one bow...
Town Council: Then what if we fire two arrows with two bows?
Town Council: We can split the ceremony into two days instead of one. The first half will be a memorial and the second a celebration.
Imperial Council: That is plausible. I had imagined that a toll would be placed on the citizens to hold a ceremony even for a day, let alone two...
Village Council: While we are on the subject of burdens, are you aware that not everyone lives so close to the royal capital?
Village Council: There are many whose farms have been scorched to the ground. They have little time to spare beyond their repairs.
Village Council: Even so, they too would like to participate in our ceremony were it at all possible.
Imperial Council: Hm... I had not considered the distance...
Naoise: Forgive me. I am here in regards to the soldiers' request for the ceremony.
Imperial Council: The soldiers' request? Would this have anything to do with their parade?
Imperial Council: They have spent much time preparing for Deirdre Fest, but I think it is not appropriate to hold a parade for the memorial.
Naoise: As you wish. I believe they will readily understand, but...
Naoise: They have asked that the citizens see them walking with monsters in amity.
Naoise: They wish to pay respects to the fallen monsters and show that skydwellers and surviving monsters can become friends.
Heles: How honorable. Many were harmed by the maddened monsters during the struggle. It is important that the masses understand that not all monsters mean us ill.
Heles: Monsters, the people, Deirdre... All are equal on this island. No one must forget that.
Heles: All hatred must be purified from the hearts of those that live here.
Town Council: A ceremony which the villagers can attend and showcases harmony between people and monsters... A difficult problem, indeed...
Naoise: They do not wish to impose their will unilaterally. May I make a suggestion?
Heles: By all means speak freely.
Naoise: As you all know, Alster funerals involve sending coffins to the bottom of the sky. The deceased's name is written on a wooden tag and burned along with flowers.
Heles: Thus the soul is returned to the skies. I believe there are already fires burning as we speak.
Naoise: There are. What if the soldiers and monsters went around collecting these tags?
Naoise: And what if they burned them all together in honor of the dearly departed?
Naoise: A prayer to the skies as they watch the smoke rise would help some find solace, I believe...
Village Council: A pilgrimage with our soldiers and allied monsters... Then anyone could feel as if they were participating in the ceremony without having to come to the capital.
Imperial Council: Let us determine the required amount of rupies it would take for such an excursion. I would like to see this plan come to fruition.
Naoise: You have my gratitude. The soldiers will rejoice.
Heles: Two days instead of one, a pilgrimage... There is much to be decided.
Heles: For the island and its people, we must devote all our resources.
Heles: Let us waste no time in preparations.
Town Council: As you will it, Your Grace!
But Still They March On: Scene 3
When the day of the ceremony finally arrives, the beautiful pilgrimage draws to an end, lifting the spirits of all participants and onlookers. Afterward Heles visits her mother and father's mausoleum to pray for what has been lost and what is to come.
The parliament discusses the finer details of the pilgrimage portion of the memorial.
They decide to arrange music and stalls for after the tags are burned.
All parts of the island converge and quickly put together the necessary items for the pilgrimage.
Seruel: The soldiers are ready. What of the monsters?
Naoise: Sentries especially attuned to the monsters appear to have a pacifying effect on the beasts.
Seruel: Everyone is elated, yet their hearts are calm... How fitting for the memorial.
Naoise: I hope this will go a long way in lifting their spirits.
Quiet footsteps mark the beginning of the procession. The monsters and soldiers walk in perfect unison.
Heles: The time has come.
Heles: Let us offer a silent prayer for the departed and for the living.
Heles: After the collapse of the old kingdom, the animosity between people and monsters brought destruction to our land.
Heles: Those hurt by that strife stand before us.
Heles: Even so, now those two entities come together, brothers in arms. My heart swells with pride.
Heles looks out into the crowds and begins to speak.
Heles: For those who died so that we may live, we march!
Heles: For the glory of our land and our people, we march!
Heles: For their memory, we march!
Soldiers and monsters alike are silent. They begin their solemn journey.
Those in the towns and villages wait to present the wooden tags engraved with the names of their fallen loved ones.
The soldiers carry a large coffin on their shoulders. The citizens offer their symbols of the dead as they pass.
Child: Oh no... I can't reach...
Seruel: What's the matter? Why does grief strike you?
Child: I... I'm too short... I can't reach the box...
Seruel: Oh... That won't stand. Come here, kiddo.
Seruel takes the boy and puts him onto his shoulders.
Child: Thank you...
Seruel: Think nothing of it. You lost your father?
Child: He got hurt... and then never got better...
Seruel: Forgive me...
Seruel: What sort of man was he?
Child: He... was big and could lift heavy things... And...
As the coffin grows heavy with tags, the living mourn the loss of their brethren with tears and talks of fond memories.
Days pass as the procession walks from one end of the island to the other until the pilgrimage comes to its conclusion.
Scathacha: Hear me. You've all done well in collecting the tags of the people.
Before the burning of the tags, Scathacha takes a moment to praise the soldiers and monsters in front of the nearly overflowing coffin.
She then shifts her attention and begins speaking to the people gathered in the capital.
Scathacha: People of the island! I will protect all of you. Every person and every monster.
Scathacha: But remember a true dragon is not omnipotent. I was unable to stop the tragedy that befell Alster. For that I am sorry.
Scathacha: If you should remain here on this island, I promise to keep you all under my watchful eye, and...
Scathacha: Together we'll move forward.
Scathacha: While we lament the loss of so many today, we will hold hope in our hearts for tomorrow!
With that, Scathacha lights the coffin on fire.
The people face the fire and put their hands together in prayer. Suddenly an unexpected sound is heard.
Heles: Those are—
Seruel: Fireworks... But there was no discussion of such a thing...
The night sky is lit with an array of fleeting, beautiful lights amid wisps of smoke from the funeral pyre.
Scathacha: Now, live! Enjoy yourselves in this ceremony celebrating those you loved and those you love!
Scathacha's words resonate with the citizens, and they begin their patronage of the various stalls.
As the music begins, the people slowly disperse.
Scathacha: Yup. Perfect.
Naoise: Scathacha! Where did the fireworks come from?
Vyrn: Heh heh! Good job, everybody!
Lyria: I'm so glad we pulled the fireworks off! Aren't you, (Captain)?
Seruel: So we have you to thank for the fires in the night sky, (Captain)?
Lyria: Hehe... Actually Scathacha asked us to gather the materials.
Heles: I knew that it was possible to set them off from such heights, but that was something else...
Vyrn: Thanks! We had some specialists help out, and we lit them on the Grandcypher.
Scathacha: Even people who couldn't come to the capital could enjoy that spectacle.
Scathacha: Plus fireworks lit up the mood in addition to the darkness. Two birds.
Seruel: Sigh... It would have been preferable for you to have consulted the parliament first.
Seruel: But I suppose thanks are in order. To you and the crew.
Vyrn: Dude! Don't worry. Thanks is where you start and end the conversation!
Scathacha: (Captain)... You saved so many lives when you helped us fight against Medb.
Scathacha: I'm sure the people of this island extend their appreciation to you and your crew as well. Enjoy our ceremony.
Lyria: We will! Let's go, (Captain)!
(Captain) requests a tour guide.
Choose: I choose you, Seruel.
- I choose you, Seruel.
- I choose you, Naoise.
Seruel: (Captain), you require an escort?
Seruel: It would be disgraceful of me to ignore the request of a lady such as yourself.
Your hand, please.
Seruel: Shall we?
Seruel takes (Captain) by the hand, and they begin walking into the capital.Choose: I choose you, Naoise.
Naoise: As you wish, (Captain). I shall walk with you.
Naoise: Those who run shops on the island have come to sell various goods.
Naoise: I am privy to a few which the soldiers hold in high regard. Let me guide you to them.
(Captain) is led through the hustle and bustle of the ceremony by Naoise.
(Captain) requests a tour guide.
Choose: I choose you, Heles.
- I choose you, Heles.
- I choose you, Scathacha.
Heles: Hehe. Lucky me. I will take you wherever you wish.
Heles: I hear some are gathering in the plaza to dance.
Heles: Would you care to partake in the festivities with me?
Heles smiles, and together they head for the heart of the ceremony.Choose: I choose you, Scathacha.
Scathacha: I was just thinking I'd like to go see everyone enjoying themselves.
Scathacha: If I can see one smiling face, all of this work will not have been in vain.
Scathacha: Come on. Let's go peruse the stalls, (Captain)!
Scathacha takes her place by (Captain)'s side, and together they leave for the closest stall.Continue 1
As the ceremony comes to an end, natural fatigue sets in.
But (Captain) spots Heles leaving a crowd of people.
Interest piqued, (Captain) makes for Heles in the direction of the castle.
(Captain) respectfully calls out to Heles, who is standing in front of a white shrine.
Heles: Thank you for your consideration. I do not mean to ruin the spirit of this night.
Heles: This shrine is actually a mausoleum for members of the Irestill royal family.
Heles: Their names are engraved on the stones here.
Heles: So many names... including my father's, the final king...
Heles's eyes scream sadness as she silently looks on. (Captain) holds her.
Heles: I know that not everything goes well. But still... I have my regrets.
Heles: The soldiers, the monsters, my kingdom, my mother and father...
Heles: What if I could have saved more of them? What if there were something more I could have done?
Heles: But I and everyone on this island have to carry this burden with us...
Heles: From this day forward, I will do everything in my power not to lose anyone to senseless tragedy.
Heles: It is when pain fills a heart that it especially resonates with the hurt of another. And the want to spare anyone else the same fate is born...
Heles: Or perhaps I just want to believe that all these scars upon my heart have meaning...
Heles: Even so... I will reach out to anyone who asks for my help.
Heles: For as long as I shall live...
Although tragedy holds her heart in its cold grip...
Heles burns with resolution, chasing away the icy touch into the dark night.