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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, '08, 6:38 am
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A Handful of Dust: A Grievance

(AW 2340, coordinates 55Nx37W, the Aridian Desert)

"Perhaps we should give him a little more time, Wren..."

"It's been nearly seventeen hours, Mieu. I'm quite surprised the local biomonsters and robots haven't investigated yet."

Two humanoid figures- one, a dark-haired male seven and a half feet tall, his body covered in metals and plastics, the other a beautiful red-haired woman in a red leotard- stood by the smoking remains of what their charge had called in his youth "the shuttle ship." The woman sighed, servos and motors whirring with the motion, as she told her companion, "I know, Wren. But with Prince Sean in this state, it's probably best if we let him grieve, you know? He's lost so much today."

Wren nodded, and stepped past Mieu into the shuttle's wreckage. "I understand. I shall continue to salvage what I can from our evacuation vessel."

Mieu sighed again. "He... oh, men can be so stubborn!" she grumbled as she walked over to a green-haired man. He was kneeling before two large stones set side-by-side a good distance away from the shuttle. "Prince Sean?" she asked. "How are you feeling?"

"....."

No answer. Not surprising, Mieu decided, as she read the inscriptions on the stones.

Ayn Landen - 2297~2340 - King of the Layans
Thea Landen - 2298~2340 - Queen of the Layans


"If you want to be alone with your feelings, Prince Sean, then I completely understand," Mieu continued, kneeling next to Sean. "This is part of your grieving process."

There was still no reply from Sean, aside from an inarticulate grumble when Mieu mentioned his title. His dark blue eyes remained closed, his prostrate form not moving from his vigil before the stones.

"If it helps, my Prince, your mother and father both lived full, happy lives- they found true love, united a kingdom, had a wonderful son, and-"

One eye opened. Sean's voice was a quiet grumble as he said, "Mieu, shut up."

"My Prince?" she asked, not used to being addressed in such a manner.

"I said, 'shut up.' Stop talking."

Confused, surprised, and just a little bit hurt, Mieu did as she was told, not even acknowledging Sean's order out loud. After a few uncomfortable minutes, Sean continued, "You know how Grandpa Rhys died? The same way Grandma Maia did. Hand-in-hand, in their sleep, of ripe old age. Grandma Luna, surrounded by her loved ones, in her sleep. What happened to my parents?"

He opened his other eye, and stood upright, his ponytail wavering with his harsh movement. "They died alone. Confused. Afraid. Young. And I should have been with them."

"Prince Sean-"

"Yes, that's right!" He took a step towards the android, anger growing in his voice and face. "The beloved King Ayn and Queen Thea, pride of the Layans! And their only begotten son, Sean- formerly Prince of the Layans, but now..." He scooped up a handful of the Aridian sand, then threw it at the shuttle. "Prince of a kingdom of dust! And this is my palace-" He scattered another handful of sand. "-and this can be that lovely little fountain that looks like Minina Landale-"

This time, he kicked some sand. Mieu stepped to her side to dodge the yellow cloud. "Oh, and this... this is the crown jewel of my kingdom..." Sean shouted as he reared his foot back. "For this, Mieu, is my queen!"

He gave the sand a mighty kick, then collapsed to his knees. "So, what do I have now, Mieu? Nothing! My parents, my subjects, my whole life... dust. Nothing but dust on the wind!"

"My Prince," Mieu said, kneeling down next to Sean. "You still have me and Wren. We're here for you."

"And I wish you weren't!" Sean shouted. "If it weren't for you two, I'd-"

"Be with your parents. Please, listen to me, Prince Sean. You know our duty is to protect the descendants of Orakio sa Riik-"

"Then bring them back! Bring my parents back!" This time, Sean's words were starting to become choked as tears brimmed at his eyes.

"I can't do that. Even if we had two vials of Lunar Dew, we'd..." Mieu started to say, not speaking the rest of her intended sentence: "We'd still need their bodies."

"So you can't bring back my parents. Some protectors."

"On the plus side, you're still alive, Prince Sean!" Mieu said cheerfully. Twin panels opened in her back, shooting small streams of confetti as she continued, "Though after Wren's crash landing-"

"I prefer the term 'emergency landing,' Mieu," Wren called from the wrecked shuttle.

"...Though after that less-than-stellar landing, I'm surprised any of us are still alive. Have you ever thought, my Prince, that maybe your parents sent you here for a reason?"

"No."

"They wanted to protect you, my Prince. It's the life of any parent, actually- they sacrifice so that their children can reap the benefit. Please understand that what they did, they did out of love for you."

Sean shifted his weight so he could sit against one of the makeshift gravestones, and he sighed, letting the tears come. "I know, Mieu, but... it's still not fair what happened to them!"

"Sometimes, life just isn't fair, my Prince. It's no fault of your own, as I kept telling your grandfather..."

Sean and Mieu talked for several hours as the sun rose over the horizon, their conversation only interrupted when Wren returned with what he could get from the crash site.

"-now, when your parents returned from their honeymoon, Wren took a look at your father and asked him, 'Prince Ayn? Were you and Princess Thea intimate during your time in Yaata, or did you decide to wear the same shade of lipstick as her?' The look on your parents' faces was truly priceless!"

"It was an honest inquiry," Wren said, setting a small parcel down between the two. "Salvage complete. The shuttle is a total loss."

Mieu and Sean both looked over Wren's shoulders at the wrecked shuttle. Sean gave a low whistle as Mieu said, "Yep. Total loss. Everything that was straight is bent, and everything that was bent is benter."

"That isn't very good grammar, Mieu. While the shuttle is completely worthless to us now, I did extract some supplies." He opened the bundle, revealing several Dimate injectors, a datapad displaying a map of Aridia, a bottle of Star Mist, and a sheathed sword. "My Prince," he added, offering the sword to Sean. "I believe you're capable of using this."

Sean nodded, unsheathing the sword and testing its weight in his hands. "Laconia," he said, inspecting the blue-tinged metal that comprised the sword's blade. The Royal Sapphire was imbedded in the sword's hilt, and a small etching at the base of the blade read, "For Ayn- all my love, Thea."

"This was Father's sword," Sean realized, sheathing the sword carefully. "I thought I left it when Azura-"

"I brought it with me," Wren said. "Along with these. I apologize for hiding these from you both."

Wren opened a compartment in his chest, revealing a small silver chain decorated with two intertwined rubies. He gave this to Mieu, along with an iridescent crystal attached to a gold stud.

"Wren! You mean this whole time, you had the Twins' Ruby and the Dragon's Tear?!" Mieu said. "That... that's so... so... devious of you!"

"Again, I apologize, but Queen Thea entrusted these jewels with me. Perhaps they could be of use to us."

Sean nodded. "Wren... Mieu... thanks. Both of you, thanks. Really."

"I am only performing my duties, Prince Sean," Wren replied.

"No... you'll understand someday," Sean said, taking one of the Dimates. He removed its cap, then jabbed the bottle into his thigh, injecting the medicine. He sighed with obvious relief as the Dimate quickly took effect.

"Are you feeling better, my Prince?" Mieu asked, gathering the salvaged supplies and distributing them as best as she could amongst themselves.

"I am- and not because of the Dimate." Sean turned towards his companions. "Just one request before we get moving: It's just 'Sean.' No 'my Prince' or 'Prince Sean.' Just my name. Sean."

"Fully advised and briefed, Sean." "You got it, Sean! ^_~x"

"Now, if Father's tales of adventures are right," Sean started, "And this map is accurate, there should be a town called Hazatak a few kilometers south of here..."
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