Information



Jaffar


The Darkmatter Cadogre
Owner: Marine

Age: 2 years, 9 months, 1 week

Born: June 19th, 2017

Adopted: 2 years, 9 months, 1 week ago

Adopted: June 19th, 2017


Pet Spotlight Winner
May 3rd, 2018

Statistics


  • Level: 20
     
  • Strength: 21
     
  • Defense: 20
     
  • Speed: 30
     
  • Health: 43
     
  • HP: 43/43
     
  • Intelligence: 0
     
  • Books Read: 0
  • Food Eaten: 0
  • Job: Unemployed


He didn't belong to them any more.


Servitude and obedience had been his whole life. For the longest time, he was simply all right with listening: after all, he had to pay back the debt incurred when he was taken in as an orphan. The pain, the brutal training, the countless kills he made in their name.. it was completely fine, as it was the only world he knew. Disobedience meant death, falling behind meant death, imperfection meant death. There was no room for error.

What made this failure any different?


It hadn't been a weird job, not in the slightest. The young prince of Bern, Zephiel, was a high-stakes target, perhaps... but he was the one they employed for these kinds of assassinations.

The castle was silent, the guards called away by fabricated duties, and they moved quickly. Jaffar hated the very idea of working in tandem with another, for you could never truly rely on others, and yet.. that was how it had been set up. Here he was, with one of the higher-command's young children, a talented young magician named Nino.


And yet, his thoughts couldn't shake what he had been told:

"Jaffar, wait.

Once you’ve killed the prince, kill Nino, too."

"If the assassin is not caught and hanged immediately, the chaos will engulf Bern. A scapegoat is needed.

Do you understand?"


The idea mortified what little morality he knew. Why would a superior demand the slaughter of their own daughter like that?
He had sought to argue, but ultimately it meant nothing: he had an order, and he was to follow it.

There were no second chances.


"This is an…easy job, isn’t it? I… I can do this! This is my first mission, you know? I guess I’m a little nervous, but… I mustn’t fail. Mustn’t let Mother down."

Nino seemed enthusiastic to prove herself, to aid in an actual assassination for the first time in her life, and it only made his weak heart ache. This girl was adopted by a monster of a woman, someone who was willing to kill her own child at the drop of a hat... there wasn't any knowing how much suffering had happened here.

It was dreadfully familiar to him. They were so different in outlook, yet, only two years apart in age, they knew experiences all too similar.


"I've... no desire to be a part of your blundering… If you fail, I will, without hesitation, finish the target and then you," Jaffar commented, lingering at the doorway and beginning to fiddle the lock open. It was quite secure, but that didn't surprise him.

"What?!"

Doing his best to ignore this outburst, he just shook his head, hoping it hadn't alerted any guards.

"Do not be so naive as to expect help from "friends".
Remember that."


Looking to and fro for the possibility of others nearby, he turned back to the lock.


"…I won’t fail. I will become worthy… I will. Mother will be proud of me. She will see the daughter I’ve become, and she will love me," Nino murmured, lingering close and clasping her magical tome tightly.

"But... there aren't any guards.. it's so strange--"


Another voice echoed out, and the two of them went perfectly quiet, leaning close to the door..

"Listen, there's a voice in the room! Someone's talking!"

".... No. Someone's praying."



Further inside, the prince was awake, knelt at his bed. His voice whispered softly as he asked for help, to be the best ruler he could, to not disappoint the father that hated him so. Perhaps, if he prayed enough, then his parents could reconcile, that he and his family could all live together as one.

A sad tale, but there was no place for hesitation tonight.

"It's time."


Finally popping the lock open, Jaffar swept into the room like a shadow, swiftly incapacitating the prince with a blow to the head. It wouldn't be enough to kill, but it would give them the moment they needed.

"That.. should leave him unconscious for some time.
Now, it's time to do your part..."



He looked back to Nino as she caught up, and yet.. she didn't immediately go for it. She came a couple meters closer, looking back and forth between him and the unconscious prince.

"Do it."

It wouldn't be hard-- a simple, concentrated blow was quite easy with magic--


"I... I cannot." Nino hung her head, gaze averted and cloak drawn close.

"What do you meant you can't?!"

"Listen to him, he... all he wants is his parents' love.. to be accepted. That's all. He's just like me.

No matter how hard I try... Mother looks at me like I'm nothing. Her eyes are so filled with disappointment... she's never held me close.. not even once..."


For a moment, her voice trembled on the edge of a sob, but with a resolute breath, she held it back.


"Stop this foolishness! I told you, I won't let you ruin my opportunity!" Taking his twin daggers up, Jaffar took a step forward, his posture tense--


"I know. Do as you must, Jaffar.
I won't resist. It'll be easy.

But, please.. don't hurt the prince, for pity's sake.."



He stopped in his tracks, gaze unfocusing. Was she serious? Was she just going to put herself completely on the line like that, for someone she barely knew?! Unbelievable.


"... I'm ready to die."

Smiling weakly, Nino dropped her tome to the floor and held her arms out, leaving every and any weakness open.


No. He didn't have to do this, did he?

If Nino was going to resist so strongly.. and put her very life out in the open like this, over something so trivial..

Her life meant so much more than his. She managed to find hope and joy in life despite all the dreadful days and painful rejections at her mother's hands. She was talented at magic, beyond talented, and surely that would give her a wonderful future.

And yet she was so willing to throw it all away.

...

He couldn't let her do that.
She deserved so much better than this.


"Come on."

Stepping over Zephiel's unconscious form, Jaffar leaned down, gathering up Nino's tome in one hand, before taking her by the wrist and starting out of the chamber.

"Wh-?!"

"We're leaving. Hurry."


He tossed the door closed behind them, starting down the steps, swiftly off back the way they had came. Surely the other assassins were close behind, just to make sure he did his job, and to act accordingly if he hadn't.


"Bu-But if you do this.. Jaffar, you'll..."

It didn't matter. His life didn't matter nearly as much-- just emptiness and cold and blood, no past nor future. It could be forgotten as long as a beam of light got to survive.

"Go now. I'll buy you time.. if you're seen, they'll know that we failed.

I... have to make sure that.."


Another tug, an indignant tone.

"No! You have to come with me, Jaffar!"

Breathing a sigh and closing his eyes, he turned back to Nino, lightly putting his hand on her shoulder. How could he make her understand?


"Nino, you... you have to live.
You're worthy of living."


The faintest smile tugged at his lips, and then he was gone, darting away into the poorly-lit hallways.

A begging shout echoed in his wake, for him to come back, but he couldn't-- not when the others were far behind, not when they wouldn't hesitate in killing them both.


It didn't matter how many he had to kill, or if it meant forfeiting his own life: he wasn't going to let Nino die.
Not when she had so much to live for.



[ next page. ]

Having survived that night, here they were now.

It was downright fortunate, really: the prince had a couple of young nobles and their ragtag army come to their defense, and Nino had befriended one of them. Despite a bit of initial protest among the group, the two of them were informally welcomed into the fold.


Awkward, perhaps, but he would make do.

This was a temporary situation that offered safety, food and lodging until they could figure out where to go next.. and the army and its leaders seemed intent on wiping out the Black Fang, the very gang of assassins that Jaffar had defected from.
All in all, a convenient arrangement.


That didn't mean that he was quick to get comfortable, however. He slept on the edges of camp in a tiny tent, just large enough to house him and his supplies, and rarely spoke a word at the group dinners. Jaffar had always found words difficult, going downright mute under particular stress, and so spoke almost exclusively when prompted by Nino.


She, by contrast, did fairly well here.
There were other young mages and soldiers like her, even around the same age as her, and a sense of camadarie quickly formed.. yet she always came back.

At dawn and dusk she visited, telling him all about her day, asking him about his, and talking about the life they knew now. Sometimes they would sit and eat dinner together.


For the first time in his life, he had a friend, and it was difficult to fully understand. He had spent so long in the depths of anxiety and fear of others, always doing this and that to make sure that he wouldn't be murdered in his sleep, but... Nino was none of that. She was nothing but pure, joyous intention and wide-eyed innocence, no matter the terrible things she had seen.

Perhaps it was fate, whatever that was.
Even when Nino could protect herself well enough, and was downright thriving with the fighting being able to teach her even better, Jaffar still felt like it was his job to watch out for her.
He was cautious about it all, he didn't want to grow too protective, and yet here he was, getting attached.


How awful. It only took either of them a single mistake to die, yet.. despite that, they cared for each other.
A recipe for heartbreak, that was what it was.


"Jaffar, look! I want you to have this!"
With a bob in her step, Nino approached him, stepping around the smoldering campfire before settling in the grass.


"... What is it?"
He couldn't tell from here-- it was metallic, had a chain. Some sort of necklace?

"It's my greatest treasure! Isn't it pretty?"
She moved a bit closer, holding it out: it was a locket. Countless tiny engravings spidered along its surface, and it dangled lightly from Nino's hand, reflecting the light back.

"But.. why? It's yours, isn't it?"

"I want you to have it."


Erring slightly, Jaffar accepted it and took a closer look. Deep, almost black stains patterned the chain, cracking and fragmenting as he touched them.

"This stain on the cord.. is it blood?"

"Yeah, it's..." Nino frowned, fingers fiddling uneasily.

"It's my mother's, my-- my real mother's.
It got there when she was killed."


That was a tragic turn of events, wasn't it? His expression faltered, and he slowly handed it back, bowing his head.

"... Then it's a valuable keepsake. You should keep it."


Yet that suggestion was refused as Nino lightly pushed his hand back, shaking her head.

"I... I can't even remember my own mother's face... even when she died protecting me.

So, I.. I don't think I deserve to keep it."



"... you were so small.
How could you possibly remember her?"


Of course, he couldn't remember when Nino was first taken into the Black Fang, either. At that point, he was still probably being privately trained by Nergal, the one who had found him.

"I-- no, still--"

She remained adamant, pushing Jaffar's hand so that it clutched the locket tight. To this he simply sighed, sitting back and examining it closely, tracing its details with a fingernail.


He didn't really have much of a choice, did he?
It wasn't like he could really say no, not when she trusted him so dearly like this.

"... I'll just hold onto it, then.. until you're ready to take it back."

Turning the locket over in his hands, he watched as Nino moved to lean against his shoulder. Despite her insistent nature, she really was sweet, wasn't she? It never failed to catch him off-guard, all the affection and trust that she showed him.

It was amazing to think about, how much she cared.


"You.. you know, you're.. my best friend," Jaffar started, glancing over to catch her attention.

"You can trust this with me, and, I'll... I will always be with you, if you wish."


They were painful words, not when he constantly thought of all the possible mistakes, and yet he wanted to make his feelings perfectly clear. Wherever all of this brought them, the two of them were in this together, and there was no turning back now.

"Best friend? You really think of me like that? Jaffar..."

"Yes, I do."


Nino looked away for a few seconds, distracted by something in the distance, before meeting his gaze again with a cheerful smile. It was gentle and warm, like sunlight.

"That-- that makes me so happy! Thank you!"



[ next page. ]
[ previous page. ]
It was the beginning of the end.

The Black Fang was extinct, its leaders dead as stragglers disappeared into the dark, and the puppetmaster behind it all was next.
A stir of emotion awoke in him at the idea: the three Lycian lords, the leaders of this army, all had a bone to pick with Nergal, and surely wouldn't let him slip away alive. Perhaps it wasn't the exact revenge that Jaffar hoped for, but it was a cheery idea to know that his abuser was to know a similar suffering.


So here they all were now, getting on the boat to the Dread Isle, the battleground of this last dramatic struggle. Unease hung in the air like fog: who was going to come back from this alive? Final catastrophes seemed imminent, what with Nergal's determination to summon ancient dragons to ravage the continent.. if the lucky few, gifted with legendary weapons, happened to fail, then it was all over.

But he couldn't leave now. He wanted to see this through to the end, and to dissent now was to betray his word.. besides, Nino also wanted to stay and fight.


Gods, she was so fortunate. Turmoil had made her strong, drawing out her magical talent and making her an incredibly formidable soldier, wiping out her enemies in a torrent of flame. A lucky moment had shown itself, letting her get revenge on the adoptive mother that hurt and tormented her so deeply: "no mercy, no forgiveness!!" she cried out as she struck Sonia down.

But in other ways she hadn't changed-- she still had the most beautiful, hopeful smile in the world, an innocence and tenderness that had refused to err.


She really was to blame for his continued living. The past left him crumpled, broken, barely able to consider functioning in a world that required spoken word and social ability.. yet Nino was a motivation to try harder, to get up the next morning. Even all the pointless things they did together, like watching birds or playing cards, seemed precious.



The world seemed so quiet.

Ocean waves crashed along the ship's sides, gulls calling overhead as they drifted by, and yet there was no human murmur: the crew up top worked fastidiously yet without an extra word. The royal army was similarly quiet, everyone keeping to themselves as their young leaders were caught up in planning and letter-writing. Two of the three had fairly traumatic personal losses lately, so perhaps their silence was understandable compared to a more usual rambunctious energy..


He only helped contribute to the solemnness. Nearly motionless, Jaffar watched the waves while running a whetstone down the edge of one dagger after another. There were always new weapons in the convoy, but there was no point in replacing a good blade as long as it could be salvaged.. and taking anything only stirred a feeling of guilt, though he sought to fight that exact emotion.


The sound of soft footsteps made him briefly glance up, shifting his headscarf somewhat as it wavered in the wind.

"Hey! Are you okay? Everyone's so quiet and down today," Nino chirped, walking over to seat herself on the bench beside him. "Nobody wants to practice magic together, or read, or just hang out, not even Rebecca or Florina.."

That wasn't unexpected, but still a dismal thought. Even all of the younger soldiers were affected by the shadow looming over their heads, leaving for none of the socializing and cheer that was common on the army campgrounds. Jaffar breathed a sigh, pausing in his relentless blade-sharpening.

"I.. can't blame them. Some of us might not be going home after this is over."

And sure, she hated when he talked so drearily, but it was just a realistic observation-- to serve in the army meant to court death at every turn. Now that the heat was turning up, casualties were inevitable.

"Yeah, but don't you think that it should just be a reason to work harder and be hopeful?
Because they're-- nobody's gonna get anywhere if they're super sad about everything, right?"


Well, she had a point there-- he nodded in grim agreement, briefly testing the edge of a dagger with his pinky finger.

"I suppose..."

Something occurred to him as he shifted to put the blade away, as the chain of that pendant pressed lightly against his skin.


"Nino, about earlier..."

He was playing with fire here, but something had scratched its way to the surface of his thoughts. It seemed like a waste to just leave it be, especially when it was so quiet right now.


"Huh? What?" She immediately snapped to attention, previously fiddling with a tear in her purple cloak.

"I am sorry, but... I will not be able to keep our promise.."

It had been just a couple nights ago-- when they learned of this final journey to the Dread Isle. Everyone in the army was given an ultimatum, to stay and risk their lives further, or to be excused on a fully-paid leave.
The two of them had sat down, spoken of the situation, and promised one another that they would always be friends, that they would go everywhere together.
Given Nino's tendency to quickly react to any news, Jaffar knew that he was going to have to be careful with this--


"But, what do you mean? I-I don't understand!"
It wasn't long until she rose to her feet, turning to face him; he took an uneasy breath, preparing for the worst.

"I said that I would always be your friend.. and.. that I would always be by your side, but... something has changed."

No, maybe he needed to be more specific, she'd just end up getting frightened over the vagueness of it all! A shadow stirred over his features as Nino shrunk back, eyes wide.

"No-- how-- how could you?! You promised! You said--"

"Please relax..."

And now the self-loathing set in: he'd just gone and made her incredibly upset by not being straightforward, and now she'd get all caught up in the anxious possibilities, right? No, he couldn't blame her, not after all the betrayal and hurt she had seen in her life. Gods, why hadn't he just--

"What, am I a bother to you?
You just want to be rid of me?!"


Amid fierce words, Nino only looked hurt, hands balled into fists as she trembled on her feet. Her gaze had always been warm and kind, but now it was simply terrified.

"Then why did you save me in the first place?! Why were you so nice to me!? How could you let me trust you…

And then…betray me?!"



Rising to his feet, Jaffar took a tentative step forward, being as mindful as possible not to look threatening. He knew perfectly well why she was reacting like this, ready to defend herself from anything terrible at a moment's notice-- but if she could just calm down and let him speak for a moment..

"Nino, please just listen to what--"


A crackle of electricity sparked to life at Nino's fingertips as she shrunk back further, ready to turn and run at a moment's notice.

"No! I hate you! H-how could you?!"

Even if she surely didn't mean it, not in this moment of agitation, those words stung deeply, a subtle recoil drawing Jaffar back.
No, she-- she had to just stay and listen for a few seconds! In a panic he grabbed her wrist, struggling to stand as he was lurched forward.

"Stop it! Let me go, don't-- don't touch me!"

Another despairing tug and both of them fell. The deck was cold and rough, being sure to leave a scrape here and there.


"Nino, please-- I... I love you..."

He hated saying those three words. It was showing feelings that terrified him, that only made the reality of life and death that much more horrible.. but that was the name of what he felt, wasn't it? An overwhelming, affectionate adoration, the desire to be with someone forever and ever.


She stared back in shock, immediately starting to relax. No more incessant tugging to get away, no struggling to get to her feet, just a taken-aback gaze among shallow breaths.


"That's.. why I can't just be your friend.
That's what I wanted to say."

Pulling his hand back, Jaffar slunk backwards a few shy steps to offer space. His heart still hammered a couple miles a minute, his gaze averted.

"Jaffar.. r-really?"
Nino's voice quivered with an uneasy note, a remnant of panic, as she drew herself to her feet and closed the distance again.


"... Do I look like the joking type?"

This was the point where he was supposed to smile, to try and alleviate the stress of the situation. But he could barely manage it, the edge of his mouth weakly quivering.


"No! But it's... it's just so hard to--"

".. love me?"


Maybe it was the time to stop trying to lighten things up.. or being a little too down on himself. But it felt like the truth, he couldn't possibly imagine why anyone could be so attached to him; not when he was good for nothing more than killing others.
Nothing but a tool, too far gone to be used for anything pleasant.

"No, that's.. that's not what I meant! I mean, I..."


Meeting his uncertain gaze, Nino finally smiled, meeting him in an embrace. Immediately she nuzzled her face into the rough fabric of his cloak, dampening it with tears.

"Jaffar, I love you.. too."

She really meant it, didn't she?

He still couldn't understand why, what it was that she clung to and thought so wonderful.. but that was all right. They cared and trusted in one another, and saw all the good despite the bad, and that was enough.


"Nino, when-- when this is all over, I... can we stay together?

I'll... I'll always protect you."


If there was one thing he was still good for, it was that: preserving that hope and joyous smile. He wouldn't ever let that fade.


"Yeah.. always. Please don't leave me.. ever.
Y-you have to promise."


She clung a little closer, closing her eyes and resting her head against his shoulder. It was a strange feeling, unfamiliar and almost dangerous, but he didn't dare push her away.


"On my honor.. on my life."



[ next page. ]
[ previous page. ]


Several years after the conflict, they were married and were gifted with twin boys, Raigh and Lugh.

Their time spent together in Pherae was happy, until bounty hunters later came for Jaffar.

To protect his family, he disappeared. Putting their sons in an orphanage's care, Nino vanished in search of him.




~ ~ ~


Characters, most of the script & ending,
& profile assets from Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword.
Character artwork from Fire Emblem Heroes.

Profile by Majesty. Thank you so much! ♥
Story, pet, and overlay by Marine!

Pet Treasure


Terracoon Blade

Karambit

Bloodred Hunting Knife

Wavy Athame

Hand-honed Miniature Sica

Poison Needles

Iron Lock Picks

Sneak Thief Pick Set

Sneak Thief Reliable Satchel

Tired Plain Satchel

Arsenic Poison Vial Kit

Jar of Dried Deadly Nightshade

Charcoal Loose Twist Saheric Headscarf

Large Collar Crop Top

Ebony Alegarten Cloak

Giselle Thrift Rat Harem Pants

Long Lilac Sash

Makeshift Bandage

Hand Bandage Scraps

Tension Bandage (Chest)

Dusty Old Map

Amber Saheric Traditional Lantern

Lean-To Tent

Pemberley Letter Writing Set

Mismatched Playing Card Deck

Survival Bundle of Gardenias

Mothers Locket

Simple Bronze Wedding Band

Pet Friends