The Radiant Archer
(Fire Emblem Engage) Etie falls during the battle with Soren due to a strategic error. Yunaka is displeased.
"Got you!" Yunaka yelled, slinging a pair of throwing knives at Soren. He grimaced, staggering back, blood seeping out of his constructed body's wounds.
Etie came to a stop just behind her, pressing her hand to her chest and communing with Corrin. "Corrin, protect us!"
Soothing, cool mist hissed out from the cracks in the rock beneath them, surrounding them in a distracting layer of fog.
Soren clicked his tongue, disapproving. "Cowardice, Etie. Had you pressed the attack, you would have forced me to yield, and I wouldn't be able to do this."
"Soren, don't!" Alear yelled, rushing forward, her free hand outstretched. But it was too late. A flurry of magic sprayed from Soren's hands, showering down over the unprotected Etie. "No!"
When the smoke cleared, Etie was battered, bloodied... but still standing. "Nice try, Emblem Soren, but you'll have to try har-"
"Finish her," Soren instructed the fabricated mage to his right, and Etie's snark was cut off with a look of complete shock as a beam of Thoron pierced right through her chest, leaving an empty hole where her heart had previously been. She toppled back, her body hitting the ground in a flurry of dust. "I hope this has been instructive."
Pandreo's Bolganone tome was open before he even knew what had happened, dropping a massive fireball on Soren, then another. "Atone, sinner!"
Soren rolled his eyes, a faint shield of cool watery energy wrapping around him. "I warned you before you chose to fight me."
It didn't do him much good, though. Soren staggered back, suddenly feeling a knife at his throat.
"Look what you made me do," Yunaka breathed into his ear, voice cold as ice, and then Soren felt that sharp edge slash across his throat. It wasn't death, not really; this body was only a construct to inhabit in lieu of a wearer for his bracelet. But it sure felt like it. It sure hurt like it.
"All right! All right, enough," Soren said, raising his hands and letting the constructed body dissolve. "You have proven yourselves. Even if this is what it took. I will join your cause."
Alear bowed her head, wrestling with her emotions. "Emblem Soren, I am... grateful that you-"
"Give me the bracelet," Yunaka said harshly, voice still shiver-inducingly cold. She no longer cared enough to put on her mask. "I'll show you what I think of you joining our cause."
Soren regarded her emotionlessly. "Are you so bitter that I killed your friend? She was soft. She gave me the opportunity, and I took it. That kind of behavior would have gotten her killed in a real battle. Just think of it as me giving you the chance to get over your grief now."
"I loved her!" Yunaka yelled. "She was the one I loved - the only one I loved, the one who earned my love by forcing me to open up to her and showing me I could trust her... and you killed her just to prove your stupid smug self-satisfied point. I've killed for money, but you? You've killed just to show you were right. You're lower scum than I've ever spoken to before. Give me one good reason I shouldn't just throw your bracelet in the lava and erase your name from history."
Soren scoffed. "It would make that girl Etie's death completely meaningless. A total waste."
Incensed, Yunaka flew into a rage. "Like it had any meaning before? You certainly weren't worth her life! You should have died, not her!"
Panette gently pulled Yunaka away. "Yunaka, please. Emblem Soren is still a great hero, and-"
"No. No, there's nothing heroic about HIM! Etie was a hero! Soren is a parasite! And like all parasites, he deserves to die!" Yunaka strained against Panette's terribly strong grip. "Let go of me!"
Shaking her head, Panette led Yunaka away. "I will meet you back at the Somniel, Divine One," she said over her shoulder.
Alear breathed out a low sigh, picking up the bracelet. "Perhaps... it is best if we give Yunaka some time before we ask you to aid us."
"Fine by me. I didn't want to be bothered in the first place," Soren said, rolling his eyes.
Panette sat on her bed, watching Yunaka pace the room like a caged rat. "I'm going to kill him. I'm going to kill him somehow. Everything bleeds, everything dies. Even an Emblem."
"Yunaka," Panette murmured. "We are presently alone. No one is even on the Somniel right now. Would you take off the mask? For me?"
"What mask? This is who I am. A stone-hearted murderer, who solves her problems by killing. That other girl, she's the mask. She's not real. She's who I pretended to be when I thought I could somehow feel joy and love again, instead of just pretending to. I don't know why I bothered. This is always what happens. Eventually the truth comes out."
Yunaka continued pacing the room, not even looking up at Panette.
"You did feel joy and love," Panette said simply. "It is not your desire to kill that brings forth this anger. Rather, the anger is what brings forth the desire to kill."
Yunaka stopped pacing, her back to Panette. "You think you know me. You don't know a damned thing about me, you bitch," Yunaka growled. "So maybe stop talking out of your ass and shut the fuck up."
Panette ignored her, pressing on. "The anger is the cover for pain. And the pain is born of grief from a great loss. I think that you truly loved her," Panette suggested softly. "And seeing her die could break your heart only because it was not made of stone. Because it had softened a great deal, around Etie in particular."
There was no quippy comeback. Yunaka hunched forward.
"I cried with my brother when he told me Bunet, a man I had just met, had died. I wanted to kill Lyn for making him so sad, but I knew that wouldn't bring me any satisfaction even if it were possible. A death for a death only spreads pain, it can not soften or reduce it." Panette approached, gently embracing Yunaka from behind. "It is all right to cry, Yunaka. Etie deserves it for all the joy she brought you. And I will cry with you, because she made you so happy and I mourn her loss as well, even if I didn't know her as you did."
Yunaka's breathing was shallow, desperate to avoid crying. "It was drilled into me growing up that an assassin does not cry. I did not cry when I took my mentor's life with my own hands. Etie is just a comrade in arms."
"You are not an assassin anymore. You are just a girl whose heart broke when her beloved died in front of her." Panette squeezed Yunaka gently. "And you are my friend."
Yunaka drew in a shaky breath. "... No one hears about this."
Yunaka spun around, burying her face in Panette's chest and sobbing with reckless abandon, loud, wracking sobs that shook her whole body. Panette simply held her, letting them sink to the floor together.
They would have the space they needed. Pandreo would know to keep the others away until she opened the door again.