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Ballads

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There are enough stories Eater could write about Garlot to fill an encyclopedia. The difficult part of writing ballads for him is limiting herself to the most interesting and worthy of record.

“Captain,” she calls, pen in hand hovering over her notebook of song ideas. “What would you say was your most heroic moment?”

“Hmm…” Garlot pauses letting his hair down as he replies. “I don’t really know how to answer that. Most of what I’ve done, I wouldn’t have been able to do without the rest of Gram Blaze… I’m proudest of reuniting Aegina with Yggdra peacefully.”

“Saying that is so like you,” she says, with a smile. “But that isn’t exactly your best ballad material.”

He frowns. “I don’t want ballads written about me.”

“That’s too bad, there’s nothing you can do-” When he grabs onto her notebook, she yanks it back. “Don’t you dare!”

They play tug of war for a minute before Medoute walks in and, taking stock of the situation, asks, “Are you two done being childish?”

Garlot lets go of the notebook, leaving Eater to hold it close to her chest. “...Yeah. Sorry.”

“It’s quite alright.” But she’s still going to sing about him.


Singing about Siskier is nearly as easy as singing about Garlot. It’s very similar, in fact: with almost every victory Garlot has had, Siskier has been there. It would not be a stretch to say she’s been essential to his success, and the success of Gram Blaze as a whole for more reasons than just stocking their supplies through thievery.

“Oh, that’s okay, you don’t have to write anything about me,” she says when Eater asks. “It’d be pretty weird to end up like one of those heroes everyone knows, and have people recognize me on the street. I’d rather just stay regular old Siskier.” She rubs the back of her neck, sheepish.

“You don’t have to worry about such a silly thing,” says Eater, with a bright smile. “Heroes only achieve that kind of fame long after they’ve died, so it wouldn’t bother you at all.”

“...That doesn’t make me feel a lot better, for some reason.” Siskier’s smile is significantly more forced now, to the point where even Eater notices. “Do you really have to?”

Eater doesn’t see the cause for her discomfort, but no matter. She can think of what to write about Siskier without her assistance.


Jenon, on the other hand, is far too willing to help Eater with recording his contributions to the cause and every instance where he was mildly heroic. He even tries his hand at waxing lyrical in a misguided attempt at assisting her.

“Jenon,” says Eater, in her opinion very patiently. “I would not rhyme ‘sword’ and ‘expired’ if someone had a knife to my throat and was threatening to kill me over it.”

He winces. “That bad, is it…?”

“Terrible. Please keep to your current profession and never become a minstrel.” Eater shuts her notebook. “This has been informative, but I believe I’ll go bother Medoute about her heroic deeds now.”

“Right, of course, Medoute was very heroic in many battles.” At least Jenon can’t deny that without sounding rude as well as stupid. “But you will mention me? At least once?”

She sighs, and pats him on the shoulder, much as she would pat a small child or pet on the head. “I will work you in somewhere, rest assured.”

A different person might have more sympathy for him, but Eater can only be herself. And one other person, of course, but even he would cringe at that rhyme.


Medoute is expecting her to show up in her tent, it seems. Eater doesn’t even get the chance to ask about heroic deeds before Medoute crosses her arms and says, “I don’t want to be written about. Especially by you.”

“That’s unfortunate,” Eater says, already planning what she’ll write. “Any particular reason?”

“I’m descended from a man with a hundred or more stories written about him,” says Medoute, not looking at her. “I always felt like I had something impossible to live up to, a destiny everyone expected of me because of that bloodline. It affected everything I did for years. I don’t want my descendants to live that kind of life because of me.”

That makes some amount of sense, more than Siskier’s objections did, but… “So you’re planning to have children?” Eater asks, a sly smile on her face. “With anyone in particular, perhaps?”

That gets Medoute to startle and jerk her head in Eater’s direction. “Maybe, but not right now,” she says, the slightest of flushes visible on her face.

Eater can’t resist teasing her even more. “Why, are you embarrassed, Medoute~?”

“This isn’t important. I’m leaving,” Medoute huffs.

“It’s your tent,” says Eater.

“I’m leaving anyway.”


“No,” says Nessiah, simply enough.

Eater smiles. “Oh, that’s quite alright. I had no intention of writing about you.”

That brings a small frown to his face. “Is that so? I thought you intended to sing the tales of everyone in Gram Blaze.”

“I did,” she says. “But you have enough stories about you already, and I know how you so hate them. Besides, what is directing the tactics of a few military battles compared to-”

“Enough,” he says, teeth gritted. It’s amazing to Eater how someone with half his face covered can show his emotions so clearly when he lets down his guard. “Whatever your reason for doing so, I’ll thank you to keep me out of your stories.”

“Of course, of course.” She giggles, light and airy. “But it is quite a shame, you know. I only sing the stories of those I admire. If it weren’t for your opinion on the subject, I’d be quite happy to pay you tribute.”

“You have strange ideas of who is worthy of admiration.” That fake smile of his is back.

“All of those fallen look up to you. The first to go must always be the bravest, isn’t that so?”