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The Cartographer
mrstarkwinters

It was in the middle of the night when Piers quietly set foot in Isaac and Jenna’s cottage on the cliff of the newly upheaved Goma Plateau, his mind heavy with theories, concerns, and ideas. He didn’t expect anyone to be up.

                A small flame flickered awake in the kitchen as Piers entered. Isaac sat at the table, a warm smile on his face. “You must have had a long journey getting here, Piers,” He said calmly, as if an old friend suddenly showing up in his house after midnight was nothing unusual. He flicked the match out, and dropped it on the table. Ignoring the smoke, he continued. “Would you like a drink? Some food?

                “Sit down, Piers. And don’t look so surprised.”

                Piers quietly obeyed. “How did you know I was coming?”

                “I’m an Earth Adept, Piers. I heard it from the forest.” Isaac nodded toward the forest beyond the cliffs outside his window.

Piers couldn’t help but crack a smile. “I should have known,” He said. “You know what? I think I’ll take you up on your offer. I’m famished!”

Isaac chuckled. “It’s just leftovers from dinner,” He said as he set to work, “Jenna’s cooking. It’s nothing special, but at least you won’t die.”

A reassuring note. Piers recalled the many times that they had been at Sea, travelling Weyard on his ship, that Jenna had insisted on cooking for them. After two occasions of charbroiled calamari and an incident of food poisoning caused by underdone shark, Felix’s fist crashed down (as he retched over the side of the ship), permanently fixing that problem.

Isaac set the plate laden with potatoes and pork roast on the table in front of him, along with a glass of water. “You’re more than welcome to take that burden off your mind. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”

Piers turned his attention to the meal in front of him. “There’s nothing wrong,” Piers said nonchalantly, “I just wanted to come visit you, Jenna, and Matthew, that’s all.”

“Without warning? In the middle of the night? With only two Djinn, your sword, and very little supplies? It’s unlike you Piers.” Isaac watched him carefully with his vigilant blue eyes. “Also, I heard it from the plateau…and I can see it on your face.”

Piers set his knife and fork down with his façade. “Wow, your observation skills beat me again!”

There were no jokes on Isaac’s lips, in his eyes. “I don’t need to read minds to understand how someone is feeling, Piers.”

There was so much to say. Too much…and so little time.

As a Lemurian, that feeling was alien to Piers. He had lived decades longer than all of his closest friends since leaving his homeland, but only had as much life experience as they did. Less, even. Isaac, Jenna, and the rest of the Warriors of Vale all had found their place, no matter how unusual or strange. Piers had never reached that point.

“Isaac,” He began tentatively, “Do you remember ten years ago, when Felix left?”

“Vividly. Jenna still thinks about him every night.”

Piers studied Isaac intensely in the dim candlelight, trying to read him the way Garet always could. No luck. “I’m starting to think that…maybe he had a point.”

“What are you planning Piers? You have that look you get when you’re reading the stars to find our next path.”

“I…the world, it’s…”Piers smiled. “It’s changed so much over the last thirty years, but you all have changed so little, and I’ve changed even less. But…everyone else has found their place. You, Garet, Ivan, Mia…you all have families. Sheba’s gone back to Lalivero to reunite with hers, and Felix is off doing what he does best—exploring the world, finding new things.

“I’ve just…drifted along with the tides.”

Isaac pressed his lips together, brows furrowed, as he thought. “You’ve done more than that,” He said, picking his words carefully, “You’ve helped us keep a firm hand on the helm, like you always have, and you’ve stayed your course steadily. What problem are you seeing?”

Piers looked at his comrade, then looked out the window beyond him at the darkened sky. “It just doesn’t feel right. I’m a sailor, I belong at the helm of a ship, not of a society.”

“Piers, you—“

Piers continued before Isaac could finish. “I’ve recently been remembering my original mission from King Hydros.”

Isaac raised his eyebrows.

Piers took that as his cue. He reached into the light bag he brought with him, and pulled out the parchment scrolls that had become his life work. Pushing the plate aside, he unfurled it for Isaac.

It was a map of the small area around the ruins of Vale, hand sketched. It hadn’t been inked yet. “The maps aren’t accurate anymore,” Piers said, “We need new ones.”

Isaac reached for it, and pulled it closer for a better look. “Piers. Did you…make this?” Piers read surprise and interest on the Earth Adept’s face.

“Yes, “Piers said. “It’s…recent. Only since the Mourning Moon incident.”

Isaac no longer looked composed and calm. Rather, he looked at the map in amazement. “That many changes…in just six months! Who could have imagined?”

“Now, imagine what the rest of Angara looks like. The rest of Weyard.”

Piers reached for his plate again, and leaned back in his chair to allow berth to the newborn map. “You have your vigil over the ruins of Mount Aleph, and your studies of the aftereffects of the Golden Sun. I can’t do that though. It’s not me.

“I only think Felix had a point because he knew better than to try to be someone that he’s not. As much as he is a hero, he never wanted either the attention or the ridicule that goes with being one of the Warriors of Vale. None of us do, but he decided to disappear from the view of the rest of the world.”

Isaac stared at him with eyes that were darkened with concern. “Don’t do anything rash, Piers.”

Piers smiled at him, trying to be reassuring. “I’m not…I just can’t handle steering such a big ship anymore. I’d like to go back to our winged ship, or even my original one. I’d like to sail the seas again, and draw up the maps like I used to. You have your contribution; let this be mine.”

The Earth Adept remained silent at first as he rolled up the map. He cracked a grin. Then, laughter quietly bubbled from him like a spring from the mountain. “As much as things change…some things always stay the same!” He handed the scroll back, still mirthful. “I shouldn’t be surprised, really.”

Piers raised his eyebrows as he took the scroll and replaced his plate on the table. “You were surprised?”

“Only that it took you so long…and that Matthew knew before Jenna and I.”

“Matthew?” Piers recalled Isaac and Jenna’s young son, barely five years old. He remembered the child’s laugh, and his deep, somber blue eyes.

It was so nice, hearing a child’s voice again.

“Yeah,” Isaac said with a wry grin. “He came to Jenna and I this morning, looking very serious. He said ‘Uncle Piers is on his way. He’s sad.’ It wasn’t until this afternoon that I decided to check, mostly for practice and fun, that we believed him.”

“He’s such a serious boy. I doubt he would make a joke like that!”

“You’re telling me! That’s the last time I doubt a child.”

The two men shared a laugh in the deepening night.

A floorboard creaked behind them. Isaac stopped and looked up. Piers twisted in his chair to see the newcomer.

“Isaac? Piers? What are you two doing up so late?” It was Jenna. She was dressed in a plain night shift, and even in the dim light Piers could tell that the years had been kind to her. The years had been kind to them all. Isaac theorized it had something to do with the exposure to the raw power of the Golden Sun. Piers chose not to think about it.

“I’m sorry, Jenna,” Isaac said, getting up from his chair. “Piers got in late, and we were catching up. Did we wake you?”

“Not really,” Jenna said with a tired smile, “But I thought I heard you two laughing in my dreams.”

“I’m sorry to disturb you,” Piers said, nodding respectfully. He had arrived unannounced, at a time when everyone else was sleeping.

“It’s no disturbance,” Jenna said, crossing the distance between the two to give him a hug, like she always did when her brother was hurt on their voyage thirty years ago, or when the ship was caught in the throes of a violent storm. “Our home is your home. You’re welcome to come and stay anytime.”

“Thank you, “Piers said softly as she pulled away. Home. It was such a strange word, after being banished from his timeless homeland. In spite of the debates, Conservato had pulled through with his threat. Piers wondered how long it would be before someone decided to fight the issue.

Given the difference in how time flows between Lemuria and the rest of Weyard, Piers doubted he would see the day.

Isaac stepped over and pulled his wife into a warm embrace. She affectionately pecked him on the cheek. “I’ll meet you upstairs soon,” Isaac promised, “I just need to get Piers settled.”

“Take your time. I know how important this is to both of you.” She padded off quietly “Good night, Piers,” She added, “It’s nice seeing you again.”

When she had vanished back up the stairs, Isaac turned to Piers. “You can rest here for the night, or as long as you need to before you leave,” He said. “We have an extra bed, and you’re welcome to stay for as long as you like.”

“Isaac, you really don’t—“

“You’re a friend,” Isaac cut in. “It’s really no problem.”

Despite his protests, Piers found himself staying for the night. That night, he dreamed of the moon over the high seas. He slept late the next day, and awoke to the smell of Jenna cooking breakfast (not char grilled, thank the fates!), and to Matthew staring wide-eyed at him.

“Uncle Piers!” the five year old chirped as Piers stirred. “Come upstairs. Come on!”

Tired and bemused, Piers allowed the child to drag him by the hand.

He was unsurprised to see that Isaac had gathered everyone else that he could.

Garet and his family had squeezed themselves into the cottage, and Ivan had flown in on his newly built Soarwing, a personal device that let him ride the winds like a bird. They all were talking gaily with each other, like nothing was going on at all.

Piers caught Isaac’s eye from across the room. “What’s going on?” He mouthed to his benefactor. Isaac just grinned and waved him over.

Garet immediately picked up on everything. “Well, here comes Piers the Cartographer!” He announced merrily, as if the information weren’t news and just a fact that was understood.

Ivan shook his head, “We heard what you’re going to do,” He explained, smiling at Piers. “It’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time!”

Piers had been about to ask what Ivan meant, but Jenna shoved him into a seat and he was quickly swept up in the conversation.

They dined and talked for hours, into the early afternoon. “This had been great and all,” Piers said, standing up, “But I need to get going now if I want to make it anywhere before sundown.”

He was grinning so much that his jaw was starting to hurt.

Piers gathered his effects, and bade his friends a farewell as he began his trek down the plateau. Not even ten yards into his journey, he heard Matthew calling for him.

“Uncle Piers,” Matthew said as he caught up to the man. He grabbed Piers’ arm with his small hand. “I have something for you.”

“Oh?”

The boy, a spitting image of what Isaac must have looked like at that age, rocked on his feet as he pulled a creased and unevenly folded paper out from behind his back. “It’s a map,” Matthew explained quietly, “To help you find your way.”

He stared earnestly at Piers with his serious blue eyes for a second before darting off. Curious and amused, Piers unfolded the paper.

It was a drawing in lines, hastily done in bright red pastels. On it was a depiction of the Goma Plateau, and line leading up to a messily drawn cottage at the top. Above the cottage was an X, and, in the unsteady hand of a child, was written the word ‘Home’.

Piers looked up, and saw Isaac a hearty farewell.

He carefully rolled the paper up, and placed it in the case with his own budding map.

Piers promised himself that he would water seal the drawing, and hang it above his bed when he returned to his ship.

He was ‘Piers, the Lost One’ no more. Even when he was lost on the most turbulent seas, he would always know where his home was.




Notes:

I started playing Golden Sun: Dark Dawn today, and was hit by wondering what happened to my favorite Lemurian. This is my theory, and I'm sticking with it.

Warning: There may be minor spoilers for information they reveal in the first few hours of the game.

And yes, Valeshipping is Cannon. No flames, I'm just playing in the established continuity.

Timeline: Ten years before the events of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, and, by my current count, six months after the devastating Mourning Moon incident that wreacked havoc over the continent of Angara.

Additional Notes:

~Does anyone else find GrownUp!Isaac to be a hottie? I know I do!

~It may be unconfirmed at the point of the game where I'm at, but the first hour of information tells us that Ivan has at least built a Soarwing--a new personal flying contraption. Since we have no more information, I'm just running with the idea that Ivan invented them.

~Also, I think that, even with exposure to the Golden Sun, Piers might age even more slowly than the rest of our heroes. He's not immortal, but there's still some residual effects of Lemuria's ecosystem that are lingering.



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