(day 1: meetings/goodbyes)
The beginning of the end, Judith realizes, comes right after the not quite harrowing—considering that, frankly, none of the barely trained grunts that served as guards were any match for her and her new-found companion—but still not quite pleasant battle for freedom inside the tower.
From the very moment she saw that woman, her bright pink hair a dead giveaway for the Child of the Full Moon, rush up to him and embrace him in relief, she knew that the "friendship" she had formed with him in the tower was doomed to fall apart just as quickly as it began.
What a drag.
And just when she was starting to become fond of this man.
(at the very least, she found it funny, the way he blushed after she pointed out the ring on his finger. in her defense, though, it did look very similar to a wedding ring)
But, continuing to masquerade as friends for a while, though admittedly rather morally dubious, would bring her closer to her goal. And of course the mission had to come first, so that's what Judith resolves to do. Ba'ul might adonish her for that sort of cruelty, but what other choice did she have, really?
It's right as she concludes the thought, though, that the man reaches out for her hand, and finally tells her his name.
How delightful. The endearing look in his eye as he shakes her hand tells her that he's become a bit fond of her as well. It is here that she knew they would become great friends.
For the time they had left, anyway.
From there, Judith's memory begins to shift a little. Turns out she's been dragged into one hell of an adventure.
The following span of time between Ghasfarost and Nordopolica is a blur of dialogues and travel, but she could still remember the formation of Brave Vesperia.
The formation is nothing complex, really: it happened at a quickly set camp, between her, Yuri, and a child that had been following Yuri's ragtag group for a while, Karol. Apparently the two had been planning to form a guild for a while now, and since the Child—named Estelle, now—apparently had her own purposes for travelling, she'd need protection, and what's a better starting job than escorting the Princess? It's an unopposed decision. It is there that Brave Vesperia is born.
(...what a mess i've gotten myself into.)
To say that Nordopolica ended up becoming a disaster was to understate the events that happened that day.
For starters, Belius... died.
She died because of the Child. Because of Estelle.
Pity for her seeps into Judith's heart, she knows that nobody was more horrified at the event than Estelle herself, but that's no excuse for the crime, or at least that's what Judith tries to tell herself.
And then, of course, the Knights lead a full assault on the city, because the Empire will never be content with what it already took from others.
What it already took from her.
She can still remember that, as they made their escape, they were intercepted by the leader of the attack... the Captain's name wasn't important, she already forgot, but Yuri seemed familiar with him. Apparently, those mysterious murders at Dahngrest and Mantaic were Yuri's doing.
...Not that Judith cared. Human politics were meaningless to her, the events of the War assured her that the Empire would never care too much about people like her.
But everyone else seems a bit frightened. Perhaps that's a bit understandable.
Estelle clasps her hands in what appears to be prayer. Ever the noble, pious princess, it seemed.
Karol's eyes turn to her own, almost fearful of any further revelations that could come at any time, trying to seek some sort of solace from her.
Knowing what she'd have to do soon, Judith couldn't bear to return the gesture.
As if things couldn't get any worse. The Empire apparently had a whole armada ready for them.
That's not what concerns Judith now, though. She had consuled with Ba'ul shortly before this moment, and they had agreed: tonight would be the night she left Brave Vesperia behind. Blaze a new path, and disappear forever. She'd attend to Es— the Child later.
The Fiertia breaks through the formation of Knight fleets, and there's some errant cheering—mostly from Karol—but there's still chaos at the engine, Rita and Estelle seemed to be at a loss over the blastia.
Upon this, Judith readies herself, and grasps her spear tight.
It's time. She can delay it no longer than she already has.
As if moved less by her own actions and more by some unseen force, she motions to the engine, taking no effort to conceal herself from the other women, takes her spear and—
Rita's screaming, and a loud CRASH a second later, is what alerts the rest of the group to what's happening at the deck. In the haze of shock and uncertainty, one thing is clear: the blastia's been broken.
Estelle's still frozen, grasping at the crystal in her hands, not sure of what to do, let alone if she should do anything. It's a hard contrast with Rita, wide eyed and a bit more than simply disturbed, whose figure brims with life in the worst way possible.
Judith's still there. She's standing on the edge of the boat, still clutching her spear as tightly as she can, somehow in the outliers of the chaos she started.
For all the activity currently happening on the ship, from the hissing and crackling of the broken blastia, with Aer seeping out of the cracks like blood from a gash, to Rita stringing curse after horrible curse at Judith, none of it really registers to Yuri.
Everything that's happened over the past few days, the week, or possibly even longer than that, Yuri barely kept track of time anymore, has been sending him closer and closer to the edge. The only reason he hasn't lost himself to the stress is that he needs to be strong, because everyone is depending on him. If he can't be strong, then that just makes him a burden.
And the very notion of being thought if as a burden, and everything that entailed, terrified Yuri to his very core, more than the fear of death ever could.
And yet, for some reason unknowable to him, he can't resolve to rush to her, to end this madness once and for all...
Her name exits his throat, not as a powerful shout as he intended(?), but as a weak, almost pained whisper.
But apparently, it's enough to get her attention, because her eyes meet his for a second, and she can only hope that he, for the last time, can read her eyes and know the words she can't say.
(i'm sorry. don't forgive me.)
Judith leaves on the back of the Dragon after that.
Yuri's thoughts go to static, he knows she's gone forever, and he knew he saw it coming, though he sincerely hoped he would be wrong this time, that Judith would always be around with everyone else, with him—
yuri falls over the edge.
After the night's ordeal, Yuri can't sleep.
It's not due to a lack of trying, he's been buried in his bed below deck for God knows how long. Thankfully, though, everyone else is fast asleep, so there's nobody to be bothered by him slipping away above.
Physically speaking, nothing seems to have changed by now, but the mood of the Fiertia has changed from one of warmth and familiarity to the cold aftermath of a tremor. A gaping hole where something important used to be.
The boat rocks gently in the waves, and the air is heavy. It's thick with sea salt, which makes Yuri recall a faint memory of him getting awfully seasick the first few times he was aboard the ship. Understandable, given that he had never actually been on a boat or even seen the ocean in all it's splendor before his little "adventure" with Estelle began, but it's still a little embarassing.
(was judy here when that happened? god, i can't remember anything anymore.)
His entire body aches.
His eyes turn to the sky.
An endless ocean of stars lay in the expanse of the sky above him... Brave Vesperia lies close to the horizon, and the moon still hangs high in the night sky, the anchor to the rest of the stars.
When he was a kid, he was told stories about the moon. The moon was said to be home to a beautiful goddess, and men would fall madly in love with her, seeking her affection. But, of course, she never returned their love. She, from her heavenly throne, looked down upon her worshippers like ants scurrying across the ground, but knew of them no more.
...Now wasn't the time for that.
Somehow, Yuri felt even worse than before. So he goes back below deck without alerting anyone.
Ah, but when he got back into bed...
Damn. And just when he almost forgot what it was like to cry.