Python would never say it. He claimed the phrase was cursed. It was how his father would drag his mother back after a beating, after all. What goodness could come out of a phrase like that?
He would show it, in the extra portion left at Forsyth’s bed on his bad days, when Forsyth's armor would be mysteriously scrubbed clean of blood, by even staying in the army. On the worst nights Lukas would find him standing on the outskirts of camp, or draped in tree branches, or facedown in a shoddy bar. Every time, Lukas politely asked him to come back and get some rest. Every time as they walked back, Lukas asked if Python was leaving. Every time, Python said, “not yet.” Lukas used to wonder when "yet" was. What would push Python to the brink and leave him hanging from a tree. As it turned out, nothing would. Even Forsyth's death was not enough. After the war, Lukas asked him why he accepted the knighthood from the One Kingdom. He could have turned it down, after all. Python said nothing, then, only looked him in the eyes and quirked an eyebrow. Lukas already knew the answer. What else could Python do, but follow the dream Forsyth could not?
Mae whispered, desperately, as the white magic flowed from her fingertips to Boey’s paling skin. He had to live, he had to, because she loved him. She loved him and by Mila’s bounty he would not die. He wouldn't die, not before her words could be said, before they could go back to Novis, before she could use her magic for good like she dreamed.
When Boey’s eyes flew open, his brown eyes twinkling with zips of magic, white hair standing on end, she kissed him. What else was she supposed to do? He was there. He was alive. His heart was beating rapidly under her hand still on his chest. Never again would Boey become so close to dying, not on her watch.
Leon knew he was wrapping himself in falsehoods, but what did he care? Love made him happy. It also made him stupid, but that was less important. He would dance around in the world in a fittering dream. Fighting for Valbar gave him a certain kind of joy nothing else could bring. After Jonas had died, he needed something to fill the gap. Anything. So maybe he became overly attached to a clearly disinterested man. So be it. It soothed the pain.
And it wasn't as if he didn't love Valbar, no, he did. He wanted only the best for the man. Leon knew, though, that his love was unrequited. He knew love could only be so true if it weren't returned.
Tatiana was noisy like a songbird. She declared herself, for all to see. Zeke would be embarrassed, sometimes, as she fluttered around the camp, discussing her latest exploits with anyone willing to listen. She gained a name as the absentminded lovebird, one she accepted with glee.
When his memories returned, so too did thoughts of a thin woman with pale blonde hair and the saddest expression Tatiana had ever seen. When Zeke asked her if she would let him go, what else was she supposed to say but "yes"? She knew just as well as he that he had to go. He had to. Tatiana, for her part, made herself busy, and joined with an old friend in traveling across Rigel. Together they healed the wounded as Tatiana ignored her own scars. Zeke returned with yet another mask in his bag and a great weight off his chest.
When she was young and foolish, Celica did not believe in love. Love, after all, was what her father had pretended to have. She had realized, slowly, what love was. It wasn’t the decadent gardens or golden hairpieces. It was the ability to believe. To know you would stand by that person, no matter the odds, no matter if they love another. Love was to love.
Celica professed at the worst time that she loved him. Duma was deeper into the cavern, though his massive tremors shook the floor all the same. In a break from the killing, as the healers rushed to seal wounds and magic away broken limbs, Celica took Alm’s hand. “I’ll stand beside you till the day I die.” It was enough. When the wedding came, there would be extravagant vows and elegant dresses; until then, a bloodstained promise was enough.