A Warrior's Legacy

NOTE: For the yearly Esca theme: Shifting Focus.

I had to choose to write about a character I've never or hardly written about before. Funnily, there weren't a lot to choose from since I've pretty much covered most of the cast and it took a while for me to choose which one I wanted to write about. In the end, in a rare stroke of inspiration, I wondered about Balgus. There's a whole part of his life where he just wanders around Gaea to learn more skills and that's so full of potential. (Also because I'm a sucker for stories about people traveling, probably because I haven't been doing much of that in my real life and I miss it terribly. So escapism through fan fiction is my best recourse for now.)

This is just a short piece to contribute to the theme for the past couple of months. But there's still so much that fascinates me about Balgus and I hope this isn't going to be the last time I write about him. He's played such a significant part in the lives of many of the show's main characters so it would be really cool to know more about him.

Just a short piece but I hope you like it!

. . . .

He didn't know how it had started. But by the time he grew aware of it, it was far too late to stop. And he had no intention of doing so.

For all his reputation as a fearsome warrior, Balgus had a soft spot for the lost. As much as he was incapable of backing down from a fight, he also could never resist the sight of a suffering child, whether a Fanelian prince burdened by duty, an Asturian boy haunted by loss or a brave, little cat-girl who has seen more horrors than she should have.

He saw them and he was filled with compassion and felt almost duty-bound to help them. He had seen much of the world's cruelty and the best way he knew how to confront this was to become stronger. So this was the knowledge he imparted to them, hoping that they would be able to face the world and their demons with greater skill than he.

Years he travelled across Gaea, gaining as much experience as he could, honing his fighting skills, and broadening his horizons. He was ever a restless soul, incessantly seeking something more, somewhere beyond what he could reach. And luckily for him, the world with two moons had much to offer in terms of interesting opportunities.

Despite his strength and knowledge, he was never content, and always strove for excellence. But though this was not outwardly evident, he had his limitations and he accepted them as well, which was what made him such a formidable opponent. He never overestimated himself and that's what made him dangerous.

He travelled in times of peace and in times of war, and during the latter, he would always find himself confronted by the lost and forlorn, victims of the violence in which he so excelled. He could face an enemy without flinching but when he saw a weeping child, he was always at a loss. He would always be wracked with some guilt for having contributed some way to the pain of so many. Even when he had not participated directly in a battle, at the back of his mind he knew that it was because of men like him who were too good at taking lives that such pain existed.

There were those foolish enough to call him weak because of this but he paid them no mind. He felt no shame, only pride that he was able to help those who needed it. Those too narrow-minded to see that were not worth anyone's time.

And if any of his proteges heard such criticism of their mentor, they were quick to defend him. But these critics were few. Not many knew that one of the greatest swordsmen in Gaea was also one of the most compassionate. Merle used to call him a hardened warrior with a soft, gooey core and he would look amused at such an accurate description of him.

As Balgus grew older he began to muse on what most men his age worried about: legacy. And as he looked back on his long and eventful life, he was grateful to not be burdened by so many regrets, unlike many warriors of his ilk. Not to say that there weren't some problematic decisions made along the way. There were things he certainly wished he could take back. But he did not dwell on what he could no longer change. Instead, he looked to the future and what he saw brought him comfort.

On balance, he had much to be proud of. Especially when he watched an angry young man grow up to be a knight, a quiet prince learn to face his duties with dignity (though this loss would later sting very much), another prince rise above his loss and become worthy of the throne, and a feisty cat-girl overcome a painful past to become a cheerful but determined protector of her family.

Balgus felt luckier than most. He still had his reputation intact as a fierce and formidable warrior, and all the skills he had acquired over the years would already have earned him a place in legend. But more than any duel he had won or battle he had survived, it was his humble role in the lives of these children that he was most proud of. And he would always consider it the most profound honor to have helped them all start their journeys to greatness.