Book of the Past:
I originally got into gaming when my brother broke his collarbone from a stupid skateboarding stunt my father allowed him to do ("Hey, son, won't it be cool if you hold onto the back of my car as I drive around town!?"). As a get well soon gift, my parents bought him a NES, from which his gaming days began. Me, I just enjoyed watching him play, mostly RPGs until I tried them myself eventually. My first game was Dragon Quest and I remember quitting shortly after the first dragon killed me. lol
Since then, though, I have enjoyed games for multiple reasons, mostly because I love stories and characters...and games are the perfect way for me to experience the hard work and strife that the characters have to go through. It's fun and I feel like I can play a part in their story. It's a much better story than mine.
My favorite RPGs of the past are (in no certain order):
Shadow Hearts 1 & 2
One of the items included in the Drag-on Dragoon 10th Anniversary Box was a nice compilation of character themed chapters, one chapter for each significant character (however, the Apostles do not have their own chapters, unfortunately).
Most of the chapters have thusly been translated by other uber-fans of the series, but it came to my attention that no one has had a hand in translating Michael's chapter yet.
I don't have much confidence in translation work, but I do love storytelling...since that's what I'm supposed to be good at even though I haven't even touched my story in about 2 years now... But anyway, yeah. This is my translation of the chapter that--as far as I know--has only been published in the novel that came with the 10th Anniversary Box. I apologize in advance if I've made any translation errors and for any extraneous extrapolations. :p
Throughout the chapter, Michael switches between several different words from himself, from “ore” at the beginning and then mostly “ware” later on. There’s not much of a big difference other than the nuance. “Ore” is generally used by younger men whereas “ware” is used by older, more experienced men. It has a much greater ‘ancient’ feeling to it.
Now that I realize it, there were always so many battles there.
Always, every time, I (ore)… No, I (ware) was always fighting. Whether sleeping or awake. Or even in my dreams.
It’s been so long now that I can’t seem to remember those far distant memories, how long I had been fighting, how many enemies I crushed under my feet and in my jaws. Not even why I was fighting. For so long.
* * * * * * * * * *
“You worthless insects! Die!”
It just took a single breath. With just the slightest breath of fire, the ugly color of the “insects” was set aflame in glowing light only to be returned to ash. There were so many weak enemies spread out in front of me, so pathetically weak for one of my noble lineage of dragons. None of them could possibly make a decent match for me, although nothing could quench that feeling it gave me, to utterly destroy those foolish beings—it was just what I needed to change my mood.
“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon!!”
Once my flames had licked the surface of the ground clean, not even the slightest speck of dust was left behind. It was quite refreshing.
“My (ore) name is… No, my (ware) name is Michael, of the noble lineage of dragons—ugh!”
A wave of pain spread downward through my outstretched wings.
“Shit, there were marionettes, too?”
While a swarm of those disgusting insects crowded in upon me, I saw a brief glimpse of what appeared to be some sore of projectile weapon. These were not any ordinary insects for they commanded the intelligence necessary to use such a weapon. Actually, I hated it. What was the name of such a weapon……?
“Ahh, I don’t care what it’s called!! You annoying pests! Do you think you maggots of the earth could be a match for me!? Uhhhgah!”
Again a great wave of scorching pain spread down the full length of my wings, but this time there were many more of them.
“C’mon, just let me say it ‘til the end……ugh!”
In mere moments I found myself buried under the marionettes. No, it’s just that I had accidently found myself deep within the heart of their nest. And it seemed like they had all brandished weapons of considerable size. The marionettes came worked together to move a gigantic beast of a thing.
What was worse, it seemed only interested in me!
“T-This is bad……?”
Can I escape? No, no! There is no honor for a dragon to run from such vermin! But, this situation certainly is bad……
“What are you just sitting there for!” yelled an angry voice from my side. Glistening flames danced upon the giant’s blade and even engulfed some of the smaller marionettes as well.
“Always getting into trouble…” said the voice with a disgusted tone and red wings.
I think… No, he certainly helped me out of a sticky situation. The story of one helping a friend in need might be a little too lavish, but I suppose there is honor to be had in the mere act lending a hand, at least for us dragons.
“What are you doing with your mouth hanging wide open? Do you seriously want to die a pointless death?”
Although he seemed to be my equal, that pompous attitude was more than I could bear. It was more than annoying.
“Hurry up and withdraw!”
This was the first time I met the Red Dragon.
* * * * * * * * * *
“Get up, Michael.”
I awoke to that voice. I must have somehow fallen asleep in the middle of battle. And to have dreamed about meeting the “meddling Red One” for the first time, no less!
“You’ve got some real guts, dozing off In the midst of battle.”
“Sh-shut up! I can finish these pests in one blow, even in my sleep!”
After that, I ended up fighting countless battles alongside that guy. I owed him so much, but now it’s difficult to remember that feeling of gratitude. That Red One…
And although he went and chose a name for me, he refused to be called by any such name. Most of the Old Ones were snobbish like that, not just the Red One.
If I asked the Red One about it, he would just say, “We do not have the custom of claiming names.” How should I know that?
I have no interest in being anything like them, those who refuse to claim a name for themselves or who can’t even make decent conversation, not to mention fighting with eyes like dead fish.
But it’s great fun to grow stronger from the experience of every battle. It seems gloriously honorific to display one’s own power. It’s so interesting to think of the most efficient way to decimate a large number of enemies. I’d hate it if I lost to an enemy, and I’d be sad if my friends got hurt. Isn’t it the same for them?
Whether they win or lose, no matter what happens right in front of them, they are always silent. I don’t want to be like that.
Exactly what do they find interesting about living like that?
“Don’t say such things, Michael. You will one day understand, when you have lived as long as we have.”
The Red One always concluded his stories like that. I hated how he always sounded like he knew everything, like he understood. And what’s the point in telling me that ‘I will understand when I get to be his age,’ anyway? He couldn’t have been born more than a couple thousand years before me.
There was something about that ferocious and brutal Black One that I just couldn’t get past; I didn’t like him. He seemed to be about the same age as the Red One, though. His random recklessness was hard to miss.
Like the other Old Ones, he also remained silent much of the time, with battles as the only exception. He especially liked strong individuals, which is probably why he completely ignored me when I tried to speak to him. What an annoying prick he is!
“You thinking again? It’s not bad to use your head, but there’s a time and place for everything.”
It’s not like I enjoy getting distracted in the middle of a fight. No, I know it’s probably the most dangerous thing to have happen. But, having somebody point that out was anything but interesting. So then I tried to change the subject.
“Hey, Red Guy. Do you have any idea when this war will end?”
All I intended to do was change the subject, but in its mere utterance , I realized just how long I had been wanting to ask it.
We had killed too many to count, so many countless deaths to form mountains of corpses and rubble rising into the sky. And it kept going on and on, without an end. One more enemy would always arise in the wake of the last.
What are we fighting against? No, we know what it is we’re fighting, I don’t mean that. Ah, it’s annoying, I can’t put it in words right.
“Michael, not even I know when this war began much less when it will end……”
His words were suddenly cut off and everything turned white.
* * * * * * * * * * *
“What the, it was a dream……”
What a strange dream, to have dreamed within a dream like that. Those days were so long ago.
“What’s wrong?” came a voice from my back.
“It’s nothing,” I replied to the solder riding on my back. He was of the species called ‘human’ that appeared after the war.
The war that I thought would never end for all eternity was suddenly over. Even though the survival of many species hung in the balance, I was thoroughly disappointed it ended so abruptly. The only thing that was destroyed was the very war itself.
And it was this scene that made it into my dreams.
My vision was clouded with white light before because it was some sort of catastrophic explosion. Exactly what kind of explosion it was or what caused it, I didn’t know the details. But its power was tremendous because it utterly wiped out every single enemy until nothing was left behind. Its reign of terror was so absolute that even the terrain below bore its scars in defiance.
Perhaps it was thanks to our strong, physical bodies and protective scales that helped our dragon species to survive, however, there were many others who did not. We lost more than half of our kind that day.
I days long past, the skies were filled with all colors of dragons, but now it is so uncommon for us to encounter another who matches our superior strength. The sky which should have felt like a small, narrow place became an expansive void that constantly reminded us of our fallen comrades. Although I knew both the Red One and Black One survived, I hadn’t seen either of them in a long time.
Conversely, the ground below seemed to become much narrower than it had been before. The world was filled to the brim with ‘humans’ and ‘demi-human’ –like monsters and beasts. With their surprising fertility, they easily put the propagation of the “insects” and “marionettes” to shame. Simply though, with great fertility, comes a rather short lifespan. And weakness. They tire easily and die quickly.
And even the man I carry upon my back will sooner or later perish like all those before him.
That’s right. Even though these people are so weak, they continue fighting and will continuously reach for their blade until their lives are further shortened. I cannot understand it. Maybe that’s why I felt the urge to fight alongside them.
There was a slight shudder to the voice that came from my back. Was he scared? What a man is this, sounding like a frightened, little girl?
“I’m sorry for involving you in this.”
“Don’t misunderstand. I cannot be defeated by getting caught up in the affairs of a mere human. I was the one who decided to fight with you. Your trivial skirmishes are like a game to us dragons. Who do you think I am? We’ve battled together for this long, created mountains of corpses and garbage……”
I felt like he repeated the same words again, “I’m sorry.” This is what makes him human.
We headed toward a fortress of rubble and lunged down upon it. All the soldiers packed along the castle walls were inevitably greeted with my flames……
* * * * * * * * * *
That last battle left the worst taste in my mouth. Maybe that’s why it’s popped up in my dreams. No, there always seems to be a bad aftertaste when I support humans in battle. Maybe it’s because they always seem to die before I do.
He was the same. In the end, he died apologizing and leaving those stupid words ‘I’m sorry’ for me to remember. What did he need to apologize for? I told him over and over not to repeat himself.
As the scattered corpses cooled, and silence fell upon the rocky mountain, I was stunned. It was so obvious that humans only live so long. Of course, I knew that. But it’s amazing that I still feel the sense of loss that day.
That was when he resurfaced, the Black One. After so many years, why did he have to show his face now, at such a bad time? He looked at me for an instant and then, without saying a word as usual, took to the sky and flew away. But it was his eyes that spoke to me, both mockingly and with mercy. It was as though they said to me, “You are very forgiving of the human heart.”
I knew that without it being said. Even if they win or lose a fight, humans die. They die so quickly. Even if victory is theirs, it is only a fleeting moment. In that case, how pointless is it for them to fight at all?
No, could that be it? Or is this just what it means to be human? Could it be that the fight of us dragons was not meaningless after all?
For such a long, long time I continued to fight and lost many friends. Thus looking back now, even those old guys seems so nostalgic.
If this war hadn’t happened, it would have been so boring hanging out with those guys, all silent and moody with nothing interesting ever happening.
Suddenly the words of the Red One came back to me.
Don’t say such things, Michael. You will one day understand, when you have lived as long as we have.
We weren’t that far apart in age, and yet he knew, he understood. By living a long life, it means losing... Loss, abandonment, solitude. Never obtaining a single thing…...
It was probably my hope somewhere deep inside to gain something from aiding the humans in their fight. For those with such a short life to pick up their weapons and fight, they must know something far greater than any of us long-living dragons have ever known before.
But, it was the same thing. No matter how many times it repeated, nothing remained. Nothing.
“Hello? Where is this place? Is anybody there?”
Before I knew it, everything had submerged into a deep darkness. There was no inclination of anything living or dead. There was just nothing.
“Is there……no one there?”
Pft. This is just a continuation of those stupid dreams, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter. I’ll just wake up soon anyway. Right in the middle of battle. Ahh, not another battle. Seriously, knock it off with all the battles and stuff. It repeats and it’s the same thing, over and over. Everything disappears in the end.
I guess that’s the same with everything, battles and dreams. Eventually everything fades away to nothing.
Everything is gone. Gone. Zero……
* * * * * * * * * *
Something from below wacked me in the jaw. This time for sure I was really awake.
“You are the worst to sleep with, all your tossing and turning…”
The one who kicked me was a human I had just met recently named Zero. She is an insensitive, violent, lazy, woman with an insatiable appetite and foul mouth. She also lacks any sort of fear of us dragons and often calls me “stupid.” Oh, boy…
And saying her sleeping posture is bad is an preposterous understatement. She kicks all the time and sleeps with her belly button hanging all out for everyone to see…... I thought I heard that humans detested sleeping like that.
But that’s what I find interesting. No matter how many people I meet, every one is different. I guess that is part of it, too. I can’t imagine there would be anyone else in this world who shares the same desire as she does: to kill her younger sisters.
Unfortunately though, I’m sure our time together will be short-lived. Soon this woman, like all the other humans before her, will abandon me. That is the one thing that will never change from the others who disappeared and blinked out of my life.
Just, I didn’t even mind. I wanted to see it with my own eyes. When she completes her mission and kills all of her sisters, I……
“I will keep that promise, I swear it. No matter what happens, I won’t back out. By my noble lineage of dragons, I—Oww! You kicked me again! Just for once, let me say the whole thing, through to the end…… “
“Zzzzzz…,” was the only sound that answered me. She’s certainly very good at falling asleep!