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[personal profile] selenias
Title: From Here Forth
Fandom: Tales of Zestiria
Characters/pairing: Clemm/Alisha, almost
Prompt: Sappho #5
Rating: all audiences
Word Count: 666

Notes: I'm cramming the prologue episode from the anime into game canon. It just makes sense.

The barracks were an uncovered kilometer away, winding between green hedges and cobbled, twisting walkways. The mess hall lied even further, hidden behind gray walls and intermingling clusters of spruce. When Alisha broke over the hill past the noble’s quarters, trembling in her saddle from weariness, the only lamps that lit up the hay barn came from the on duty guards. No one would believe her story about the ruins, or the waterways, as the reason why she was intolerably late, but most of the company she kept averted their eyes when she spoke anyway.

“Might as well leave it. Even if there’s dinner, there won’t be any left for us.” Clemm stroked her horse’s soft muzzle while Alisha peered out the window, wiping her face and neck with a warm rag she’d found lingering in the wash basin. She liked the sound of the rain cascading down on the roof, but it was better to look at it from a distance.

“I can’t believe we got back so late. Lady Maltran will be angry.”

Clemm looked over nervously, running a towel through her hair. Her fingers paused under her ears, haulting at the blue collar that was equally soaked. Her horse nudged her shoulder and she stumbled away. “I don’t mind cleaning as punishment, but I hate seeing you do it. Maybe you’ll get scheduled for perimeter walks.”

Alisha wrung out the washcloth in the basin slowly, considering. Dirt and horse hair swam around the drain in a slow spiral. “You shouldn’t. It’s fair.”

“You say that, but you don’t understand. Folk like you -- you’re charismatic. You can’t hide that sort of nobility.”

“I come off that way?” Clemm’s eyes grew round, and she averted her gaze to the dark door of the grain room. Alisha watched the water drip off her chin. She didn’t stand at the head of the table during meetings with officers or lead the trips out into the forest, monster hunting, but she could recall Clemm’s assigned position, closest to the double doors of the community hall, the bottom rung seat for knights with the least amount of prestige. “Even though you saw me eat dirt several times? And fall through a wall?”

“I merely think that punishing you is a punishment to the rest of us as well. For leaving you behind,” she admitted slowly. Her smile was hidden behind her hand. “We’re knights, and you’re a knight, but our princess, too. We should honor that.”

“Well, fair enough. But I would hope the punishment is extended to anyone who leaves a comrade behind, and not just a member of the nobility.”

Clemm smiled, draping the towel around her shoulders. “See? Charismatic. Lady Maltran will put us all on latrine duty for that one.” Alisha laughed.

“Before we face our demise, I have something to share.” Perhaps it wasn’t appropriate, but she unknotted the leather straps of the canvas saddle bag as she’d done repeatedly for the last week. Her change of clothes were damp, but clean, and the cheesecloth she’d used for bread and nuts remained unspoiled. Clemm’s eyes grew large.

“Lets share it,” Alisha said. “Then we’re equal.”

“My lady!” Clemm gulped, hands hanging helplessly in the air. “Isn’t that... aren’t you...”

“We’re friends Clemm, and comrades. We can be both. I have something else for you, but it’s a book, and I don’t have it with me I’m afraid.” Clemm fumbled with her half of the remaining loaf, face red, eyes watery. “When the weather clears, I’ll fetch it. And maybe we can return north again if Lady Maltran permits it -- if you’d like.” She’d seen enough ruins, enough towns that had succumbed to famine to know that answers were easier to find with two. And Clemm was the one who rode rear guard, who’s sunny disposition carried her through.

Clemm put her hand over her heart, hair curling around her ears and framing her bright smile. “Lady Alisha, I would be honored to accompany you.”
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