The fire crackled. It was the only sound in the small haven; one step outside would have brought the shrieks, moans, and cackles of the daemons.
But here in the haven, it was just the fire, like it used to be. And yet not at all.
None of them were even pretending to sleep. Ignis sat at the edge of the stones; his sightless eye stared out into a darkness so thick, so absolute, it made sighted men blind. Prompto and Noctis were talking quietly in the tent, catching up while they still could.
Gladio sat down next to Ignis. He didn’t need to announce his presence; the little things gave it away. His footfalls. The smell of leather and sweat. The deep, unhurried rhythm of his breathing. There was no sneaking up on Ignis anymore. Hadn’t been possible for a long time now.
“Would that I could save his life,” Ignis said, gaze unmoved, the wind tousling his already messy hair. Gladio grunted in agreement.
Silence. The crackling of the fire.
“If I could…trade his life for mine,” Ignis continued in a hushed tone, his voice nearly breaking on the words. Gladio hesitated, and he shifted to look at Ignis, really look at him.
Ignis hadn’t been able to cry since he lost his sight, but Gladio knew the look of a man who was screaming inside, pleading with the Six in rapt, stifled silence. The twitch of fingers into fists, the tightening of the jaw, the way the body was held stiff and nearly statuesque.
“You’ve done everything you can. You’ve given- given until your life is all you have left to give,” Gladio finally said, and he reached across the chasm between them and took hold of Ignis’ hand.
Ignis jumped, and his head jerked down in surprise. Gladio squeezed his hand.
“We don’t have anything to trade worth the sacrifice of a king.”
The firelight danced across their backs, the chill of the eternal night against their fronts. From the tent, laughter.
How long had it been since any of them laughed like that?
Gladio swallowed down the lump in his throat. “We’ll see him again. You’ll…you’ll /see/ him again, Iggy. After. Once we’re done here.”
Ignis lifted his head again. His hand relaxed in Gladio’s grip, even as he intertwined their fingers.
“Then I have something to look forward to, I suppose.”
Another fit of laughter from the tent. Something shifted and popped in the fire. In the distance, a red iron giant lifted its flaming broadsword from the ground, the blade like a swathe of flames cut into the pitch black of night.
“One more time,” Gladio said. “We protect our king one more time before the dawn breaks.”
The glow of the runes pulsed underneath them. The smell of their last meal still hung in the air, almost as strong as the smoke from the fire.
“We walk tall,” Gladio finally said. “We walk tall, for him.”
1) He is not like his father. Actually, he is quite the opposite: doesn’t think that a blood shed can solve anything and always try to find another pacific way to unravel the current mess.
2) He is actually a humble Sun King. We see him in his ceremonial outfit just once, and because there are people in line for official hearing and petitions, then he dress like many other Carja, except for that thing that is probably HZD equivalent of a crown and that Itamen himself is wearing in the game. Avad is also kind with everyone, and pretty down to earth, when his status in game is the equivalent of potus in our world.
3) His personal history is sad, hard, but tinged with hope. He lived under Red Raids insanity knowing that his own father was responsible for that madness. He killed his father but just after trying for the last time to convince him to stop. He became 14th sun king and started a long list of good changes in his reign, abolishing slavery and human sacrifices, and promoting peaceful integration with other tribes. He then started a relationship with Ersa, an Oseram woman chief of Vanguards, but couldn’t openly be with her because his role as sun king didn’t permit it. Then he mourned that woman twice but still didn’t killed her murderer when he had the occasion to have revenge and simply hand Dervahl to Oseram tribes for judgment. In the end we know that he welcome his little brother Itamen in Meridian where he is still doing his best to bring peace and establish a good governance.
4) He does a big mistake in game: asking Aloy to stay with him in Meridian just after Ersa’s death Avad brings cringe level to stars. Aloy has three options, kind, brilliant or hard, to bring back sense to the sun king. It’s pretty obvious that Avad is only trying to overcome his loss searching for strenght outside him. This foot in mouth episode is good because it show us two things about Avad that we didn’t know before: he is actually a really very open and sensible dude, and he is really clumsy despite his sun king status. Someone tend to see presumption in his request to Aloy, but I disagree because he actually hopes that she will stay and asks about it, doesn’t simply take for granted Aloy’s desire to stay in Meridian.
5) He is able to apologize and do it twice along the story: first time with Nora tribe and Oseram for past Red Raids, and then directly, face to face, with Aloy. This is such a big thing for me, used to this world where power people often do whatever they want, and men can’t accept a no from a girl without making a fuss.
6) He is different from most of the characters in the game. Where people are always taking their revenge, of talking about pride, or seeking power, he just does his mess of a job using his good sense and promoting peace in every way possible. Erend wanted revenge over Dervahl, Avad justice.
7) He is actually a cinnamon roll. Hugging his soldier in the end, out of joy for Aloy’s victory is such a lovely thing to do.
Feel free to add your reasons (and no, sorry, I din’t check my grammar and spelling because it’s summer and now I’m going out!)
Dawn jumps to conclusions. Marianne doesn’t help. One dialogue, two conversations.
This fanfic is dedicated as a very belated birthday present to the lovely dainesanddaffodils - Happy Birthday, dear! It was due to her brilliant little post here that this fanfic was even thought of at all. Thank you, ma’am!
This happens very early in the relationship, so Marianne is still easily flustered over what she has with Bog.
Dawn wasn’t sure if tossing berries at one’s sister could beconsidered a normal form of sisterly bonding, but it was what Marianne had