Chapter 5

"Nights in Insomnia from here were once so beautiful," Regis remarked as he joined the Founder of their line on one of the many balconies of the Citadel. It offered what would have been a lovely view of Insomnia had it been lit up and full of life. But alas, their fair city was dark, empty and overrun by Daemons. Only small sections of the city and a partial outlines were visible from whatever few lights were still functioning across the city.

Somnus was leaning forward, his arms resting on the railing of the balcony. The man turned Regis for a brief moment but then quickly returned his gaze towards the ruined city. There was a cool breeze gently rustling his clothing as he stood.

"The world has changed," the man finally said as Regis drew nearer, "the ingenuity of humans is remarkable. We may surpass Solheim one day in the future... As long as humanity can survive their current predicament."

"They will," Regis was firm in his response, "humanity will survive this and recover. Let us hope however, that we do not make the same mistakes as our ancestors."

There was a small bench beside the railing. Regis, with his cane, limped over to it and sat down with a relieved sigh. His leg was bothering him again and it was nice to sit down after he spent the last few hours aimlessly wandering the Citadel. Once settled with the cane beside him, he too gazed over at the remains of his once beautiful city. The King wished with all his heart that the damage could be undone and his people could return. It was startling to see the city so devastated when just the day prior it looked fine under the Accursed's Scourge-influenced reality.

"Something on your mind?" Somnus asked after a few minutes of silence had passed. The Founder turned towards his descendant.

Regis was startled before he could respond. When the ancient King turned to him, all he could see was his Noctis. It was an older and sterner face but the resemblance so very apparent.

The Founder King tilted his head slightly, possibly confused as to why the other had not said anything as of yet.

"Forgive me but I still continue to find it strange how much you resemble my son," Regis admitted. Even after living together for so long under Ardyn's control the similarity could still surprise this era's King when his mind was free of the Scourge. He also felt conflicted as to what he should feel towards the older King. He and Somnus spent most of their time working together on whatever issues arose in their false reality. His ancestor felt as close as a sibling but now with his mind free of the disease, Regis wasn't sure if he should treat Somnus with the same familiarity. It felt strange if he were to do so but not doing so felt almost wrong.

"I suppose it is fate perhaps, that the first and last of our line share such a similarity," Somnus acknowledged.

Regis other thoughts fled his mind and he winced from the words spoken by his ancestor. Yes, Noctis was likely to be the last of their bloodline. As much as the King desired this not to be, it was how things would end. If things went as they should.

"Do you agree with what I've done?" Regis then asked suddenly. Somnus immediately knew what the man meant. It was the reason the King was here and not with his son while their minds were free.

Noctis had been informed of his destiny and his eventual fate by Ardyn just that very morning. The young man had been furious that such information had been hidden from him. His own father revealed nothing of Noctis's destiny and everything that role would entail.

It was true that there had been little time to speak about it during their time here however. The Lucis Caelums could only fight off Ardyn's power for so long and they usually spent that time attempting to flee or fighting any Daemons that got in their way. Occasionally, they would face Ardyn himself but he could easily defeat them thanks to his power over them. He rarely even needed to lift a finger in such cases.

Currently, the Caelums were free of Ardyn's false reality but not entirely of his influence. They were unable to leave the Citadel grounds, their bodies betraying them as soon as they tried to take a single step outside. Both Somnus and Regis had already attempted escape only to find themselves unable to move once they reached a certain point. It was maddening when it seemed as if nothing barred their way to freedom. All they had to do was step forward but their bodies were incapable of responding to their will. They could only wait until the Scourge was weakened enough to resist Ardyn's orders. That time was not now.

It was not often Ardyn allowed them to roam about like this but recently he had begun trying to convince them in their right minds to stay with him and forget about the Prophecy. He wished for the three prisoners to accept the world as he would make it as it meant they could all live together. It seemed as if the Accursed was beginning to realize the three Caelums would continue to fight his reality and it might be better for them to accept their fate so this was not so.

Perhaps Ardyn was even realizing he was not as powerful as he thought he was as he had been unable to defeat the Oracle and the Chosen's companions as of yet. Whenever he gained the upper hand, one of the Gods would intervene to save his foes. And often when he went off to face them, another group or two would try to steal into the Citadel in his absence. Ardyn could create a barrier like the Wall but he could not hold it if he was not directly present. It was thrice now that one of the companions had met with his family. Ardyn likely thought it now possible that his prisoners might be freed someday.

So far nothing Ardyn tried could convince his family to see things his way. As much as all three Caelums pitied and even liked him, they could not accept his world. Even if it would be so much easier to do so.

Ardyn had just fought against the Chosen's three companions and the Oracle just the day prior as they collected another Royal Arm. He'd been furious when he returned and Regis was relieved for that. It likely meant his foes still lived. He'd not been forthcoming with any information so they were not entirely certain if someone they knew had been killed or hurt. Noctis especially hoped not.

"Ah. I expected that might be the reason for this visit. No, Regis. I do not agree," Somnus shook his head, "I believe the boy should have been informed of his destiny. Perhaps not as a young child but once of age there was little reason not to reveal the truth."

"Many of my own shared similar criticisms." Regis murmured, looking down at his lap. Maybe if he had done as they said he wouldn't have had to see the look of utter hurt and betrayal on his son's face. The King felt such guilt for making Noctis feel that way. He'd been so upset after Ardyn's revelation. "I just wished for him to be happy. To not have the burden of fate weigh upon his mind at all times like it did my own."

"What's done is done. We can only move forward from this now," Somnus suggested and then added. "... Noctis was here a short time ago."

"You've spoken with him?" Regis looked up at his ancestor.

"Yes," Somnus nodded. "Noctis is a… Kind boy. He appears almost too soft to fulfill the destiny set out for him. But I must not judge. I do believe he will rise up to the challenge now that he knows the truth."

"Would you not have done the same? If it was your son?" Regis found himself asking.

The ancient King paused, thinking. He tried to envision what he would have done if it had been his son that had chosen for such a fate.

"No," Somnus finally said after a few moments, "I do not believe so. I killed, then imprisoned, my own brother… Or what I thought left of him... I spent the majority of my ruling life building the foundations of this Kingdom. I traveled across the world with the Oracle of my time to drive back the darkness. Everything I have done, right or wrong, has been for the future of this world. My son would have known so I could aid him in preparing for his duty."

"Even at the expense of their happiness?"

"Noctis could have enjoyed a happy life regardless of whatever burden his destiny might weigh upon him. It would have been up to you and those you appoint to make sure he lived the most fulfilling life possible regardless of his circumstances," Somnus argued. "He would not have been unique with the knowledge that his death would be arriving sooner than expected. Many others in this world suffer under similar circumstances, whether from an ailment or other such misfortune. Even if they may fear what is to come, if given enough time to make peace with their fate they may come to accept it. They may speak with their friends and family so nothing remains unsaid. They may go out and enjoy whatever frivolous activities they can so they may not regret missed opportunities. Your son was given little time to prepare himself for the role that he is to play."

"I thought it the best course of action at the time. How could I tell my own son he was meant to die for this world?"

"It may have been," Somnus conceded, "I cannot say for certain Noctis would have made his peace with it or that he would have accepted it. But I still believe it was his right to know. Noctis feels deceived. As if his own father could not trust him. He thinks you did not believe in him. Of course he must be angry when all of this is thrown at him by my brother instead of the man he trusts most in this world... Ardyn does very much desire to turn the boy to his side so that there is no chance for the light to return."

Regis's face turned to one of shock. He had always believed in Noctis. He felt his son could do anything when he put his mind to it... But he could not blame him for feeling otherwise after learning of his destiny in such a way.

"Do not worry," the Founder quickly added when he saw his companion's face. "Noctis may feel pity for my brother, even enjoy his company, but he does not accept what Ardyn is doing. So many have died and even more suffer because of his actions. Noctis would like to escape this place. He is afraid of what is to come but does not wish for the world to stay in such a pitiful state. He will fight for what remains of humanity."

There was silence as Regis processed this information. He felt a wave of grief that his son was afraid yet he was also proud of Noctis for saying he would fight regardless.

"...I worried that he would become unhappy," Regis confessed with an exhausted sigh, "but it still happened anyway. I was so busy, too busy for him… I wished only to make things easier for him but I failed in that. I would like to tell Noctis everything I can when I have the opportunity."

"I suppose it is a blessing that our circumstances allow us a chance to fix some of our mistakes. I too would like to speak with my brother about a great many matters," Somnus walked over and sat down beside the King.

"Do you know where Noctis might be?" Regis asked his ancestor hopefully. It was about time he talked to his son like an equal. He deserved it from him.

Somnus nodded, "he is with my brother and may be for some time. The boy had so many questions, some of which I was unable to answer myself. He has gone to Ardyn for to learn more of the past. He said he would return afterwards."

"Would you allow me to wait with you?"

"Of course. I would be glad for the company," Somnus gave his fellow King a smile, "we are family after all."

"Did you only have a single child?" Regis found himself curious as they waited for Noctis to return. Though his memory of the hundreds of generations of his bloodline was a little fuzzy, the King did recall that the second King of Lucis had been a male heir that spent his life expanding the borders of Lucis by creating roads to connect to the various settlements around the land. Some of those roads still existed today. He was unsure if the second King had any siblings however.

"Two. A son and daughter. Aiden and Lyria," Somnus smiled then, perhaps recalling memories of his former life. "It is strange that I do not remember them in my brother's reality. I am greatly relieved his manipulations are not permanent."

"As am I," Regis agreed. They were still themselves once the Scourge was no longer influencing them. "Were they troublemakers?"

"Oh Astrals, yes. One of them anyway. Lyria was a demanding little thing. Spoiled rotten by everyone, including her older brother," the Founder chuckled.

"I find myself quite surprised. I would have assumed you to have kept a stern hand on them."

"I once believed that too. Gazing into their eyes, I instead found myself unable to deny them when they wished for something. I spent a fair bit of time on my duties though I did not have the sheer amount of paperwork this era is fond of. I cannot understand the need for it. We are Kings and our word is law. Why must we waste our time with such things?" Somnus frowned in distaste at the mention of the many official documents he and Regis were to bother with in Ardyn's reality.

The Founder shook his head afterwards, "but enough on that. My children, for the most part, understood why I was absent for much of their life. I will not deny that there were many tears, frustration and even anger but thankfully my Queen was always by their side. She was a blessing, able to provide our children with everything I could not. She was the one that would console Lyria and Aiden when they were upset. She helped them understand why their father was not around as often as they liked."

Regis felt a small ache in his heart. His wife, Aulea had passed when Noctis was only a toddler. The King never felt anything for another woman after her. He was unwilling to marry another even though his Council had suggested it more than a few times. Seeing how lonely Noctis was, Regis had brought Ignis as a friend for him. Looking back on it, it was one of the best decisions he'd made. Ignis was very much a brother to Noctis in all but blood.

Somnus continued reminiscing and Regis quickly shook himself from old memories.

"My children still found ways to demand my attention even so," the Founder continued, "I recall an incident where Lyria marched into a meeting I was holding with the heads of several merchant clans. She stomped right up to my throne, her tiny form pushing past everyone else, and demanded that I teach her to dance right then because she did not like her instructor my wife chose for her."

"Oh dear," Regis said as he tried to imagine a small girl making such demands of the King.

"I could not bring myself to refuse her so I dismissed everyone in the chamber. None seemed to mind, they even found it amusing. We rescheduled for later that evening. Lyria and I then spent hours practicing the proper steps for the dances. There was to be a feast in a fortnight's time and she wanted to impress a certain boy."

"And did she?"

"Sadly, not quite. My Lyria stumbled in the first dance of the night and fell flat on her face in front of the very boy she was smitten with. Unfortunately for her, grace was never one of her strengths."

Regis laughed, feeling some of the tension he'd been feeling all day leave him.

"Lyria outgrew that phase, thankfully. She abhorred being reminded of how much of a spoiled child she once was. If you were curious, my daughter never did end up with that boy. She avoided him in the future, likely out of embarrassment," the ancient King chuckled and then more softly added. "I learned they were fine after my passing. Lyria traveled to Tenebrae and made her life there. The Oracle of my time was a good friend and she took care of my daughter. Aiden became a fine King. My shield made sure of that before he too gave his life for the future. My Queen lived to be quite old, helping take care of her grandchildren and even their children. My only regret was that I was unable to see any of this with my own eyes."

"The Ring, of course," Regis correctly surmised.

"During my reign its magic was needed quite heavily. We pushed the Starscourge back, the Oracle and I. It took many years and it aged me prematurely as it did you. But I believe the sacrifice was worth it. Our land was free from the disease but for the darkest places where no man should trespass upon. For many generations our people were no longer plagued by monsters. It allowed my descendants to build a vast Kingdom. Most of our other kin grew to be a ripe old age. It is only those of us who called upon stronger forces that paid the price we did. Such power does require a sacrifice after all."

"I know that all too well," Regis responded as he looked down at his leg.

"Yes. It is something many do not understand... " Somnus lamented.

There was silence again before the Founder spoke again, "I do miss them. All of them. I had… been hoping to see them at the end of this. My friends and family. My brother too, free of that sickness."

"Do you think it wrong that I am not entirely unhappy with our circumstances?" Regis spoke freely. "I have no desire to stay here. No, I will fight with every breath to free myself from Ardyn... Yet I cannot help but enjoy the time I spend with my son, with you and even him. The world your brother created for us is so carefree. We are all so happy. It truly feels as if the four of us are a family."

"I will admit to feeling the same. My relationship with my brother feels as it did long ago, back before all of the tragedies brought about from the Starscourge," Somnus admitted. "However, I too will fight this. As much as I sympathize, I cannot allow this to continue. Our line has sacrificed too much to fail at the end. Eos needs us."

"Yes… We cannot allow the world to fall into ruin. We are Kings. We are to stand for our people as they have stood for us. We must make the decisions more the greater good regardless of our own feelings on the matter. Our lives belong to our people."

"Indeed," Somnus agreed. He then said, "... And Noctis does understand this as well. The boy does not wish for any more to die. He will fight for this world."

"I… I have mixed feelings about that. Even if I wish for him to live, I understand well that his life is required for the Prophecy to be fulfilled. But it will be his choice to offer it. I am proud of him and the decision he is making," Regis responded.

Both lapsed into silence, feeling the Starscourge pulsing under their skin. It's powers were still active but it could not hold them forever. They'd be free of it and if they could stay away from Ardyn they may be able to escape one day. Then they could finally do something to help what remained of humanity.

They'd just have to bide their time until then.

Sorry for such a delay on this one. I finally got around to finishing this chapter. I have no idea when the next update will be but don't be surprised if it takes as long as this one did. ^.^'

I will admit here that I do not know how to write either of these characters, more so than the others, but this is fanfiction so I can do whatever I want. ;p

Trying to work on the final chapter of Switch and a second chapter for Monsters next. Hopefully I can get one of those out by the end of the month.

I will admit a lot of my free time lately has gone to playing Genshin Impact. If you haven't tried it out, I would highly recommend it. It is heavily inspired by Breath of the Wild and is free to play. There are so many pretty anime boys and girls. xD

One small warning I would add is that there is a gacha system for special characters and weapons and the odds for the best are extremely low. (Like less than 1% low) I haven't spent any real money on the game yet but it is tempting when you want certain characters (*cough* Diluc and Venti *cough*). I have heard of people spending hundreds of dollars trying to get certain ones so be wary with that. You can beat the game without those characters and can buy 'wishes' to get a chance at obtaining them by using in-game currency. You don't need to spend any money if you don't want to but the game does make it hard when some of those special characters are so damn cute.