Knoll: I know you... You're Natasha, from the temple.
Natasha: Yes. I remember seeing you many times back in Grado. But this is the first time we've ever actually spoken.
Knoll: I don't know what it is, but clerics and mages seem to be like oil and water. And we mages can be an enigmatic bunch at times. Shadowy and sinister... Or at least, that's how I've always imagined you clerics saw us.
Natasha: Oh, no! I never—Well, no. You're right. We had a few dealings with the mages. But that's in the past. I have a question for you, Master Knoll.
Knoll: I think I can guess. It's about the Sacred Stones and Prince Lyon, is it?
Natasha: It is. My mentor died...trying to warn us about the threat our Sacred Stone posed. I want to know the truth. What is Emperor Vigarde up to? What is Prince Lyon's role in this?
Knoll: There are as many truths out there as there are people to tell them. Perhaps it's best simply to choose the truth with which you are most comfortable.
Knoll: In the eyes of your mentor, I would have imagined we must have seemed quite evil. He imagined our magical studies using the Sacred Stones were sacrilege. I suspect he quite loathed the ancient magics he called "dark."
Natasha: You're wrong... *steps forward* My mentor wasn't like that at all! And isn't this war the direct result of all your dark magic research?
Knoll: Hm... Well, I suppose you are right about that. Your magic stems from faith in the unknowable, the divine presence. In contrast, dark magic stems from knowledge, from understanding. we distrust what we do not understand and we strive to know the unknowable. Perhaps our disciplines truly are incompatible.
Knoll: ...Our researches ended in miserable failure. Grado's Sacred Stone was shattered. Prince Lyon, corrupted... And this whole tragedy that unfolds around us even now. It's true. We mages have triggered this age's greatest calamity.
Natasha: But why? What was it all for? What did you hope to accomplish with the power of the Sacred Stone?
Knoll: All Prince Lyon wanted was to help people...and we are his servants.
Natasha: Help people?
Knoll: We read of a spell entitled the time shear. It causes, in effect, a hole in time. This spell warps time, punches a hole through cause and effect.
Knoll: We lack the knowledge to reproduce this ancient spell today. Prince Lyon, however, was convinced that we could unravel its secret. He felt that we could use it to predict—and even prevent—future events.
Natasha: ...Prevent...the future?
Knoll: Oh, we dedicated years to studying this spell. You see, the greater the disaster, the farther it sends ripples through time. We learned how to read these ripples from the future, hoping to save lives. If we could know when a disaster would strike, we could evacuate people. We could save millions of lives.
Natasha: But... It seems so, so blasphemous. That worldly creatures should take control of fate, it--
Knoll: Are you saying that, knowing the future, we should do nothing? We should simply allow people to die in order to preserve "fate"?
Knoll: I'm sorry. I don't mean to sound hostile. Prince Lyon himself was troubled by these same doubts, you see. But we pressed on with our studies. We felt it was our duty, in the interest of all Grado's people.
Knoll: Perhaps we were bitter that we receive no credit for aiding Grado. That we receive no accolades for our research, for the benefit it brings. I do not know. But we pressed on, nonetheless. The misconceptions linking the ancient magics to "evil" die hard and slow. Prince Lyon sought to change that. He wanted, as we all wanted, to prove that our magic had good uses.
Natasha: Prince Lyon would never--
Knoll: With our aid, Prince Lyon predicted a great storm rising in the south. He barred ships from leaving port, and oh, how the people complained. But the storm came, and the seas raged. We saved countless lives. And Prince Lyon cared not at all if the people loved him for it. He only wanted them to be safe.
Knoll: And now, I see it all so clearly. All our research amounts to nothing. All I can do now is lament our hunger for knowledge. Our greed.
Knoll: ...Still have questions, do you? I have told you all that I know.
Natasha: I'm not sure that you did. You said that you could see...ripples of future disasters, is that it? And the greater the disaster, the more clearly you could read it? Does that mean you saw something? Some tremendous disaster to come?
Natasha: And in knowing about the disaster, Lyon thought he could prevent it. Could he have... Was he studying the sacred stones to find a way to prevent this disaster?
Knoll: And what will you do now that you know this, too? Haven't you called such knowledge blasphemous?
Natasha: I don't know what to do. If my mentor were here I think he might be able to guide me. But I'm still so inexperienced. I feel lost in this dilemma.
Natasha: But how can I not act on this? If I do nothing, knowing that something terrible will happen...If I could have helped...I... I don't know what to do.
Knoll: ...Within 5 years half of Grado will be destroyed.
Knoll: In the southern half of the continent, there will be a terrible quake. The ground will shake violently. The Earth will open wide. Cities will fall. Fields will burn in the earth's hot blood. Few will survive. This is what we have forseen.
Natasha: How—How can this--
Knoll: I advise you to leave Grado. You might be able to escape the disaster if you head north to Renais or Frelia.
Natasha: No...I can't do that. When this disaster strikes, people will need help and healing. If I could help them even a little by staying behind...
Knoll: You would willingly risk certain death to save a handfull of people?
Natasha: If I died serving Grado I would have no regrets, Master Knoll. Thank you for sharing this, I will make the most of this knowledge.
Knoll: ...Spoken like a true cleric. You would drop everything without hesitation just to help others. This is the difference between mages and priests. Knowledge versus sacrifice. Perhaps you might allow me to join you when the time comes...
Natasha: Master Knoll?
Knoll: If I am to honor Prince Lyon's intentions, I cannot flee this. I am not sure how best I can help, but I do not want anyone to die. Not if, by my action, I can save them.
Natasha: I understand how you feel, Master Knoll...Let our strengths be united, then, for the common good.
Knoll: We students of ancient magic, along with Prince Lyon himself, were researching certain arcane techniques lost long ago. We were able to reproduce one...phenomenon, but only briefly.
Knoll: I should be more concise. Prince Lyon and I pierced the veil that clouds our futures.
Duessel: What? You...could see into the future? How is that possible? What magic is powerful enough to--
Knoll: Time is like the water of a river: it flows ever on, never stopping. Certain disturbances can cause ripples that speed swiftly downstream. If you can see the water, you can read the flow, the ripples, the waves.
Knoll: It is possible, General. Possible and, at times, easy. Just think of it: If you knew a storm was coming in advance, you could evacuate everyone in its way. If you could see what was to come, you could help those who might have died. Prince Lyon explained this to us with much joy in his voice and heart. His power would, at long last, be able to help the citizens of Grado.
Knoll: We continued our work. There were ceremonies, rituals—such horrors... And then we saw it. In the near future, Grado would be ravaged by a catastrophe.
Duessel: A catastrophe? Do you...
Knoll: No, it's not the conflict in which we are currently embroiled. This event is still in our future. We saw Grado. We saw the earth crumble. We saw our people dying. We saw the shape our future would take.
Duessel: What? That's madness... Idiocy! I've lived a long life, and I've never heard of anything like that. Not ever.
Knoll: I am not surprised that you do not believe me, General. We could not believe it, either. We tried to disprove what we had seen. But nothing could shake the vision. In this disaster, Grado would be destroyed. Countless would die. Those who died quickly would be spared the slow horror of starvation. This was when the emperor died, by the way. Lyon was shattered by despair. He devoted himself to research, and then came the Dark Stone...
Duessel: So that's what happened? Is that when the decision to invade Renais was made?
Knoll: I don't know. Only one person knows the truth behind that.
Knoll: I have told you only the truths I have seen.
Duessel: You're tired, aren't you? Worn to the bone. I understand how you feel, but on the battlefield, this only invites death.
Knoll: You are probably right... And yet that might be best.
Duessel: What are you planning to do from here on?
Knoll: I do not know... I have lost my way. Perhaps I should have been executed in the capital.
Knoll: I once studied dark magic alongside Prince Lyon. He was such a gentle soul. You could see it—he was too kind to survive. Prince Lyon dreamt of finding happiness for all of Grado's citizens.
Knoll: And now, Prince Lyon is no more. I have lost everything.
Duessel: I have also lost everything. And we have both lost our ways. We are dead men who have stayed too long away from our graves. But remember, Knoll... You cannot see the future, but you can look back at your past. Look and learn. And remember. What gave your life meaning, and what has taken meaning from you now?
Duessel: If you still hold the convictions that guided you in Grado, you can start anew. That... That is what I must do. We may be diminished by our shame, but we are not dead yet, my friend.
Knoll: General Duessel... I am not as strong as you. Still, I believe you are right. I, too, shall search for a new path. A path that guides me to realizing the dreams Prince Lyon once held so dear.
Lute: No, but I've been watching you, and I've noticed something when you fight. Suffice to say that I am now convinced that there's no one better than me.
Lute: I must have miscalculated your abilities at first. I don't know why I thought you could have been better. Anyway, I'm sorry that I overestimated your skills. well, if you'll excuse me. *exit Lute*
Knoll: You know, I think you may have missed the point.
Lute:*comes back* ......
Knoll: What seems to be the problem?
Lute: ...No, nothing. See you...
Knoll: ...Oh, hold on. Lute.
Knoll: Why don't you stay and chat for a moment? Now that I'm not a threat to you, we can relax and talk. If you don't mind, of course...
Lute: Hm... All right. As long as we're in agreement about who's superior around here.