“Stupid son of a bitch.” Sylvain couldn’t be sure if he was whispering to the dead, or to himself.
It took three days for the grief to hit him.
I lost my own brother to bandits.
Is something someone has said at some point, I'm sure.
A weak joke, a mask over the truth. It fizzled and failed in the face of his new professor. Sylvain got back to his life thinking foolishly that Miklan was as good as dead to him. How could he have known then that he’d see his estranged brother in three short months after three years of silence?
Hurry up and die already. If it hadn’t been for you— Not Miklan’s final words, but the last ones Sylvain had bothered listening to.
On the first day, maybe he was just in shock over what had happened to his brother. For being such a mediocre excuse of a person, Miklan had certainly gone out in a spectacular fashion. How many Gautiers could claim the fame of being turned into a demonic beast by a family heirloom? Sylvain could already hear the tales dripping from his hypothetical descendants tongues about the asshole consumed by his greed. Transformed to be as ugly on the outside as he was inside, Ingrid and Ashe would eat that shit up.
The Lance of Ruin was named that for a reason, though it was only now that Sylvain was able to appreciate the grains of truth seeded within the moniker. It wasn’t a warning to their enemies, but to the Gautiers themselves. This was their inheritance, a twitching relic of a brutal era. This family was as bound to it as it to them.
One of the worst people I’ve ever known.
But still, we’re family.
On the second day he brushed off condolences. They were only empty words from acquaintances who didn’t know any better. It was normal to say one was sorry for a loss, automatic, polite even. It would be rude to correct them with raw honesty — spit on the ground in lieu of a grave — but his nerves were stinging. “He got what he deserved.” No one could argue with that.
A bad dream come to life.
Back at Garreg Mach as Sylvain unpacked his gear from the trip his professor stopped by with a gift. “I think you should hold on to this,” said Byleth gently as they passed the relic to its newest master.
Sylvain snorted as he took it, “Thanks.” In his hands, it did not change him. It was just a weapon, a birthright, an inheritance. All because his blood was tainted.
“Do you want to talk about—”
“Nope,” said Sylvain as his hands tightened around the shaft. Byleth nodded, and left. Byleth was not the type to pester someone to open up, they generally waited until their students came to them. Sylvain had no intention of speaking about Miklan to anyone.
Sylvain shut the door to his room and looked around for a proper spot to fit the Lance of Ruin, this unwelcome guest, into his life. He settled on leaving it in a corner, twitching, watching, waiting, reminding, as he attempted to continue unpacking his things. He could hear its subtle movements, like phlegm traveling up a throat, in the silence of his dorm. Finally he couldn’t take it anymore and decided unpacking the baggage could wait a bit. It was still a nice day out and so Sylvain went about his day wearing an easy smile that crossed his lips like an effortless lie.
“You alright?” Felix was giving him a look, seeing through the facade.
Felix had lost his brother too, but not like this. Glenn had been straightforward to love and to grieve. Clean cut, simple, good till the end. Also killed by family expectations, but not a corpse twisted by rage. Sylvain shrugged, “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” Felix didn’t ask any further questions.
Eventually Sylvain had to return to his room. In the darkness, the Lance of Ruin emitted a soft glow that could not be ignored. Covering it up only made it move more, like an incessant chattering of ghoulish teeth that refused to leave him alone. He trudged across the room to the weapon, freed it from his laundry pile, stuck it back in the corner with a false reverence and stumbled back towards his bed.
Sylvain stared at it from his bed until the clock tower let out a single ring. “Are you happy? You got what you wanted.”
It turned out, he did need to mourn, just not the dead. He was mourning what wasn’t, what had been denied. He stopped talking to the lance, and finally addressed Miklan face on, “You were supposed to be a brother, not a monster.”
He had been grieving Miklan since he understood that brothers could be good. Meeting Glenn had been a slap in the face, a shove in the side, and spit in the eye. Sylvain had mourned Glenn, fully, totally, and in the process mourned what Miklan should have been. After that he didn’t hate Miklan, he pitied him, and not long after Miklan was disowned and cast aside. Out of sight, out of mind, but now he was back. Sylvain still didn’t hate his brother, and yet his heart was still full of a bitter anger, tainted blood, and imagined paths never taken.
“Stupid son of a bitch.” Sylvain rolled his head into his pillow to block out the invasive light that had invited itself into his room, but it lit up his mind to spite him.
If his crest made him strong enough to wield the relic, maybe he was strong enough to break it.