U M B R A E
Written on September 7, 2019 (♍)
Author's Notes: I feel like there isn't nearly enough time given to Golagros and just how bleak his situation is. I think there's a tendency to lionize Wiegraf more than he deserves in this portion of the game, and he functionally tells this guy it's his duty to die in a way that really speaks to how little he's been considering the day to day needs and anxieties of his sad revolutionary army. I feel like its interesting to conemplate the weird parallel in which both characters here will ultimately have to confront just how expendable they were to those around them.
They stumbled through thickets and marshland all through the night, contending as best they could with the chill of the damp earth and all those instants of total darkness when cloud cover hid the moon. He had tried for a time to carry the girl but fatigue got the better of him, and as they descended into those ghostly hours halfway between midnight and dawn, they walked side by side, Golagros just barely keeping his grip on the rope that tethered her wrists together.
"We're going to live, you know," he said with the restless energy of a man who had foregone two nights' sleep. "They'll carry you back off to Igros and they'll let us all go to ground, or... or else we'll figure something out before that and let you run off..."
The girl, whose dark, sullen eyes were barely visible save for the occasional sharp glint when the moonlight caught them, said nothing.
"Anyway, I know I've said it before, but I'm sorry it's got to be this way." He breathed heavy, lurching forward less than steadily. "But somebody out there values your neck, and Wiegraf sure as hell doesn't value mine, so..."
He looked back, barely making out the shape of her features as he tried to scan them for some sort of reaction. All this time--all these miserable leagues through blight-blackened fields and the husks of villages emptied long ago by the Romandans--and she had never spoken to him. Perhaps she thought it beneath her; perhaps she thought it expected of her. He had no way of knowing how nobles conducted themselves in such straits. Nevertheless, even in the pitch black of the almost lightless night, he could tell plainly she was frightened.
"We're going to live," he said again, fingers twisting about until they grasped the edge of her hand. "After all the theatrics are over, I'll run somewhere far enough away that you'll never even have to think of me again."
He was, in that instant, telling what he thought was the truth, and as they floated like lost spirits through the sedge and brush, he thought he felt her hand grip his back as he pressed it fast.