Water was not their element. Wind against cheeks, feet drumming the earth, static lifting their hair as they rode: these things they knew.
Along the route from Luca to Djose, the sea was always near, placid by Rin's agency, frigid and unquiet below the crags of Mushroom Ridge. Yet there were few places where the cliffs afforded a way down. Only here, along the most infamous beach in Spira, could one reach the water. Here, three years ago, Lucil had led the last charge of the Djose Chocobo Knights.
A light rain was falling when Lucil and Elma arrived on bedraggled chocobos. They left the birds in the shelter of Mi'ihen's Grotto and walked down to pay their respects. The sand was still stained with blood, ash and oil from the broken machina in the bay.
Lucil shed armor, boots and leggings, sword and gauntlets, and waded out to her thighs. The water was freezing. She bowed in prayer and began chanting. Elma, keeping watch, recited their former comrades' names with her. Lucil's legs were numb and shaking when she returned.
Elma gathered her into a towel, holding her close under the pretext of warming her. "It never gets any easier, does it, ma'am?"
"Nor should it," Lucil said. She rested her forehead against Elma's and closed her eyes. "I see their faces, Elma, brave and resolute, just before the charge. And yours, pulling me from the water after. Strange to have found one precious thing in so much loss."
"Need you ask?"
The kiss was as ardent as a knight saluting her captain before their last battle. Then Elma regirded Lucil for combat that seldom came. Side by side they returned to their rounds, and to a Spira already forgetting courage, loyalty and sacrifice, as well as sorrow.