Quercus: Final Moments

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Operator Record
Final Moments
Quercus icon.png

The deceased lie in peace, but the living are not easily spared from the shadows of death.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Quercus to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Quercus.
RI Operator icon.png
Bitter Root
Male Victorian A icon.png
Unfamiliar Man (Michael)
Bewildered Deserter
Snatch Squad Soldier A
Snatch Squad Soldier B
Wasting Deserter
Underground Rubble
Victoria Streets Night
In the time when Gododdin is shrouded in Londinium's strife, Quercus, landship intelligence officer, takes to her doctor's capacity in treating all the refugees who've fled here so far. One day, a man who claims to be the brother of Quercus's KIA comrade-in-arms shows up before her, and places his saber at Quercus's throat.
You will follow in the footsteps of those who sacrifice themselves, for they will show you that narrow way to life;
Charge forth, and devour the enemy alive!
You will not forget the faces of those who give their mortal time, for by them you will bolster your rattled courage;
The upright of you need not fear!
Take their treasure, furnish your rooms.
For your Duke!
For Victoria!
–Extract from a speech prior to one of Londinium's battles
<Background 1>
Winter of 1098
Caladon City
Grani Quercus!
For the last time, under order of the Caladon Mounted Police, you need to take a proper breather!
You're not allowed to take a step near the refugee camps for the next twenty-four hours.
Quercus Officer Grani.
Are you sure about denying a doctor's aid in these times?
Grani sought me out not long ago, hoping I could offer some simple medical help for refugees from Londinium.
But things very quickly got out of hand for us...
Grani You haven't left the camp since the first day you came.
You need proper rest, now!
Quercus But you know as well as I do, they're in urgent need of plenty more than just food, water and clothing.
Most of the doctors in the city have already been enlisted, and the Duke's not interested in sparing much attention on this.
He only agreed to shelter the refugees in one place out of fear they'd cause needless commotion.
Grani Then what if you're pushed too far too...?
Who do I ask for help then?
Who do I ask to be your doctor?
Quercus Hm?
Are you underestimating me, the Druid doctor?
I know my limits.
Grani I don't.
So I'm going to make sure you get a good night's sleep, even if I have to lock you up.
Quercus I'll be even less likely to sleep, then.
Who knows what could happen in twenty-four hours.
Grani This matter's closed for debate.
<Background fades out>
Quercus? *sigh*...
This is no time for you to be playing the hero.
Quercus You again.
The annoyance that always shows up at times like this to laugh at me.
Quercus? It's not as if you'd change anything by being there every second of every minute.
You can't save all of them.
Quercus You know I don't listen to you.
I've never considered myself a hero.
I'm just doing all I can...
Too many times, I've been too late to Felines laid deathly still on cardboard bedding, too late to examine whether it really was just fatigue.
And I can only force myself to watch on, helpless.
Helpless, tearful young children, going against the crowds driven by fear, only to disappear in the end into the earth's embrace.
Quercus? All you can...
Does that make it any more bearable for you?
Quercus ......
You can shut up now.
Quercus? And I won't exist if I don't talk?
You still aren't ready to admit it–to admit how powerless you are.
You're scared. Scared of life vanishing in your hands.
Exactly like then.
Quercus It was different then!
It was different!
I don't have the time to bother with her.
I've got more important things to do.
<Background fades in>
Grani Quercus?
Quercus Grani, there's something outside the city I need you to help me with, right now.
Grani You aren't getting me out of your face with excuses.
I'll be right here, watching over you.
Quercus I got hold of a shipment of urgent pharmaceuticals from Columbia. The mercenaries will be waiting for me outside Caladon early tomorrow.
You're a Mounted Officer. The snatch squads won't suspect you once you're back in the city.
You know how important these pharmaceuticals are.
Grani ......
Fine, but you're not to leave!
[Grani leaves.]
<Background black>
Gododdin's officers wouldn't turn a blind eye to a place as dangerous as a refugee camp.
They show up at irregular intervals, sniffing out every army deserter hiding within.
That, or...
Those who seem like army deserters.
Even if they're skin and bones.
Quercus? Even if you hate hearing it, I'll keep saying it.
Is surviving really something worth celebrating to these people?
Suffering, starvation, blades, hostility, envy...
Every day, every hour, every second...
Death's not such a scary thing in comparison, is it?
Quercus The idea of those words coming from a doctor's mouth makes me want to vomit.
Quercus? But you're the doctor.
And I... am a Victorian soldier.
Quercus ......
I renounced that identity forever ago.
Quercus? But you still remember.
Quercus It doesn't matter.
<Background 1>
[A blackout suddenly occurs.]
Quercus? The power's gone out.
Quercus ......
Quercus? The last night as quiet as this was...
Oh, yes, it was when you first asked me the same things.
Quercus What did I ask you?
Quercus? Unblessed lives.
Unfearful deaths.
You posed those same questions to me.
Quercus ......
In the darkness, I pick up on a familiar scent.
Quercus Forrest.
Quercus? Do you remember now?
Quercus He's right here.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 2>
Quercus? ......
Wake up!
This was a meaningless battle.
I lost every one of my comrades-in-arms.
Forrest Aaargh!
*cough* *cough*... Captain...
I... I can't go on...
Quercus? Stay strong. Now's not the time to hesitate or fear.
You just have to get through these ruins, and we can make it out.
Forrest *cough* *cough*... Captain...
Quercus? Corporal Forrest!
I order you to stand!
I'll carry you.
<Background black>
Quercus He's too gravely wounded.
The way she speaks is always so out of place and time, the cold-blooded pest.
Quercus? Enough! I don't want to hear any more from you.
He is my soldier, and I will bring him back!
Quercus Bring him back?
They're dead. They've been labelled heroes.
The furnace is burning ever brighter.
Still more children are waiting to be thrown in.
Quercus? If you're idle enough to flap at me, you would do better finding some way to tend to his wounds!
Quercus I can constrict the bleeding, but it still won't be any use.
I know you need him to make it back alive.
You want to tear the veil away from the ones who started the fire, and make them stare their own evils in the face!
You want to dig back out this honor dressed like a poison apple by your raw hands, straight from the mouths of the children!
Quercus? Enough!
Yes! That is my selfishness!
Quercus But in the end, you'll return home alone.
Carrying all the festering blame.
Nobody will listen to your story.
Not the children back home. Legends of heroes are far more attractive than cruel reality.
Not the men at the pub. Because you haven't anything that could draw their attention.
Not the ones who started the fire. All they'll do is fault you for scattering sparks over their beloved carpets.
Quercus? Enough! Enough! Enough!
Quercus You...
Quercus? I said shut up!
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1>
Quercus Forrest...
Unfamiliar Man So you remember my brother's name.
Seeing the man before me, I'm somewhat dazed.
But not because he's pointing a saber at my throat. Because he looks far too much like that child did.
He's been hiding here the whole time, away from everyone.
But he can't fool the earth.
I haven't told Grani, though.
Unfamiliar Man I'd know you anywhere. It was you who brought back my brother's death notification.
But maybe you don't recognize us lot anymore.
I was watching you for days in the camp after I saw you, you know. But you never even noticed me.
Quercus ......
Unfamiliar Man So, you're a doctor now?
I saw that Feline burst into tears thanking you. I saw how the girl you saved was beaming ear to ear.
I bet you're happy, aren't you?
Bloody...! Son of a... bitch!
<Background fades out>
Quercus? Howling, wailing, bawling...
Quercus The earth's sprawling roots are withered about this great land.
Quercus? These are all I hear...
Quercus And it chokes me.
<Background fades in>
Unfamiliar Man You must love it, bathing in atonement.
But my brother's dead!
To hell with your clear conscience, you self-righteous...!
<Flashback starts here>
<Background fades out>
Quercus? What did you do?!
Quercus I did nothing, and I could do nothing.
Forrest Captain... just kill me.
My leg's broken anyway. I don't want to come back to my mum in this state...
And my little brother. He's always been so proud of me...
And I hear, you know... soldiers who die in action earn better compensation money...
Quercus See?
For him, surviving is hardly something worth celebrating.
And death doesn't seem so frightening after all.
Quercus? ......
Forrest Captain! Um...
You must tell them, when you return, about me at my bravest!
Heh, heh...
I can't ruin my brother's image of me, after all.
Quercus Heh. And here we are now...
He's become a model to you.
Quercus? He doesn't want to die.
He's just scared of surviving...
Forrest Do it, Captain.
I know, see, without my leg... I'm nothing but rubbish.
May as well be this way...
Quercus? Enough!
Don't say a word more!
Quercus Are you talking to me?
Wait! Captain!
I don't want to die!
I want to go home...
<Flashback ends here>
Quercus May life endure.
<Background fades in>
Unfamiliar Man Bastard!
What are you acting dumb for? Say something!
Quercus You're Forrest's younger brother, Michael.
If I'm remembering right, you should be on the Londinium front lines, in the Duke of Gododdin's army, and not here.
Michael That's right, I'm a deserter.
You can turn me in now if you want.
Quercus It must be of your own accord that you came looking for me.
Michael ......
I would never have come to you if there was any other choice.
I'd prefer to believe that Forrest never died.
That he's standing in front of me right now.
But I could never fool myself.
<Background fades out>
Quercus? You killed him.
Quercus I had no other choice.
Quercus? He begged for your mercy.
Quercus He found a peaceful passing.
Quercus? So you killed him!
Quercus Are you done?
<Background fades in>
Michael No!
Bastard! Bastard, bastard, bastard...!
If I was just able to kill you right here and now...!
Quercus So, what do you need of me?
<Background 3>
The captured deserters, including Michael's comrades-in-arms, are all locked up on the west face of Caladon.
He wants me to rescue them.
I want him to disguise himself as staff in my shop.
A flower shop.
A flower shop?
Michael So while we were risking our lives on the front...
This is what those shitheads were up to.
A commemoration dinner?
Quercus A commemoration dinner.
Michael Bastard! Bastard, bastard, bastard...!
And you just let it happen?
Quercus ......
These flowers have been bartered for a blind eye to the refugees.
For basic supplies.
For necessary privileges.
For more than a single life.
Michael With just these?
Quercus Not just.
But it is with these flowers, yes.
Michael ......
<Background fades out>
Quercus? You just can't let go of that ridiculous fantasy.
Quercus I know exactly what I'm doing.
Quercus? Nothing constitutes this 'refugee camp' except a bunch of toys flung at the children on a charitable whim.
Today, they can have you practicing your art and saving people, sheltering them all in a castle of sand.
But tomorrow, they can have you killing them, knocking the castle down, burying them all beneath the ochre dust.
As long as the refugees don't make too much of a scene, they'll let anything slide.
Quercus I'm a doctor.
I'm not killing anyone.
Quercus? But what if someone else did it?
Quercus Then you should ask yourself what would a Victorian soldier would do, in times like that.
Quercus? Then what if it ends up like Forrest again...
I'm begging you.
Quercus ......
Quercus? You've been scared, ever since your first day with the refugees.
That the war will continue, that life will no longer be worth looking forward to.
That life will no longer be valued.
You know these things are bound to happen.
And bound to happen more than once.
So what will you do, Dr. Quercus?
Quercus ......
<Background fades in>
Michael What now?!
They've got people manhunting right up ahead!
Frankly, in the midst of the drab, muddy streets, faces worn all around, this many flowers naturally stands out like a sore thumb.
Quercus Don't panic.
They won't come prying.
But the snatch squads are smart. They won't try to get themselves into hassle.
After all, they know what kind of person would need so many fresh flowers for their evening occasion, don't they?
Michael Oof...
Get a move on.
Quercus Are you still worried I'll turn you in?
Michael I've had my eye on you forever at the refugee camp. You don't seem like the sort.
So I'm willing to gamble.
Quercus ......
Michael You don't need to say anything. I know what I'm doing here.
It doesn't mean I trust you.
And I'll be clear, I can't stand you.
Quercus I just wanted to warn you, if you keep acting sneakily like that... you'll only draw the snatch squad in by yourself.
Michael ......
Don't need you telling me.
<Background 5>
[A snatch squad soldier knocks the door.]
Snatch Squad Soldier A Settle down! What are you hollering for?!
Fowl-hearted rubbish, the lot of them...
Snatch Squad Soldier B Hey, don't you think it's stuffy in here? Can't catch my breath.
And there's a sort of...
Snatch Squad Soldier A Is that some kind of... scent?
May the earth once again care for life tender...
Snatch Squad Soldier A Oi, look!
The vents!
Snatch Squad Soldier B What?!
Is that... flowers?
May the earth have mercy, that our lost children lay to rest in her bosom...
Snatch Squad Soldier A Urgh...
Snatch Squad Soldier B Wha...
[The soldiers are knocked unconscious as Quercus reveals herself.]
Quercus Come out.
Let's find your comrades.
Michael I've never seen Arts like that before.
Quercus Just some of the tradition of home.
Michael So them few are...
Quercus They're unconscious, that's all.
You have enough time to get the ones you want out of here.
Michael Hmph...
I can guess what crosses Michael's mind for a split-second.
But he doesn't draw his saber, after all...
He really does miss his brother so much.
The wrong person, the wrong place, the wrong standing.
Bewildered Deserter Michael?!
Wasting Deserter How did you get in?
Michael I'm here to save you.
Follow me!
Wasting Deserter Nice going!
Bewildered Deserter Who's that with you?
Michael She's...
She's just assisting.
Let's go.
Bewildered Deserter Wait!
These stupid manhunting buggers.
I'm gonna settle my score with them.
[Quercus stops the deserter.]
Bewildered Deserter What are you doing?
Quercus Michael and I are here to rescue you.
Not to kill them.
Wasting Deserter Oh, piss off!
Bewildered Deserter You know what they've done?!
Quercus All too well.
<Background fades out>
Quercus? Of course you know what they perpetrated in the refugee camp.
Why are you stopping these deserters from bumping off these scum?
Quercus Listen to yourself.
You were interrogating me just a second ago.
Now you're champing at the bit to end others' lives yourself.
On the most upstanding and reasoned grounds, of course.
Quercus? ......
<Background fades in>
Bewildered Deserter Let me through!
Quercus No.
We don't need to waste any time in here.
Bewildered Deserter ......
Then just let me sock him once.
Quercus Go on.
[The deserter kicks the unconscious soldier's head.]
Wasting Deserter What about all the rest shut in here?
You breaking them out too?
I have them release everyone.
I tell them the way out of the city.
And I lock all of the snatch squad inside the cells.
Michael You saved them.
Why them?
Quercus Let's go.
Before we put anyone on high alert.
Michael ......
There's somewhere we need to go first.
It's where all our supplies and gear's buried.
<Background black>
Quercus? Here...
Quercus Yes, I remember.
This is the place.
<Background 5>
It's one I'm all too familiar with...
Michael This is Forrest's grave.
My brother.
[Quercus joins in.]
Quercus Of course I remember.
It was by my own hands...
I buried him here.
Michael It doesn't make sense...
Bastard! Bastard, bastard, bastard...!
Argh! It just doesn't make any sense!
Quercus ......
Michael You'll save all those camp refugees, no matter how bad they're hurt.
You'll get us away from the manhunters, straight through a locked-down city like it's nothing.
You even chose to spare that bloody bunch of snatchers, those shiteating arseholes.
So why–did you abandon my brother?!
Why didn't you save him?!
Quercus I was powerless to.
<Background fades out>
Quercus Lies?
I'll just tell him...
His brother was too badly wounded.
Tell him his mistakes in battle weren't my fault.
Tell him–all the rotten consequences for this should fall on the idiots in the top brass.
Maybe that'll make it easier for him to bear.
Quercus? And that's how you reassure yourself?
You don't need to tell the truth.
Quercus ......
Quercus? It's easier to bear...
And that's why you chose to lie.
Quercus I haven't.
Quercus? And that's why you chose to murder.
Quercus I wouldn't.
Quercus? Then WHAT did you do?!
Are you going to keep looking for excuses?!
<Background fades in>
Michael Answer me!
Look at me!
Look at Forrest.
Quercus ......
The battle was completely meaningless.
Our entire side was annihilated, save for your brother and I.
Michael What?
Quercus I tried to get him out, but his wounds were just too grave.
So in the end...
I gave him a peaceful death.
Michael A peaceful death?
So you mean...
Quercus Yes. I killed him.
Michael ......
That's all it is to you! Just those couple of words!!
Bastard! Bastard, bastard, bastard...!
You killed him?
Quercus Indeed.
I couldn't bear to see him suffer any longer...
I didn't want to see him return home, to become a madman persecuted by war.
Michael No!
You're just saying what you want!
Michael has been gripping the handle of his saber ever since we left the shop, but he hasn't drawn it once from its sheath.
Until now. His saber is held tight, and pointed at me.
Quercus You can kill me.
But I don't owe you the slightest thing for your brother's death.
Michael You killed him!
You killed your own comrade!
Quercus I did.
Nothing about what I've done is worthy of commendation.
I murdered my own soldier.
I did the one thing a doctor should never do.
There is no fair justification for my actions.
But it was a decision I had to make.
Michael You've said enough!
I won't forgive you for this!
Quercus But it's because of your brother that I saved you, too.
You resemble him a lot.
All of you do.
Wasting Deserter ......
Bewildered Deserter ......
Quercus Children whose eyes have been covered.
Driven, tempted, coerced.
Shoulder to shoulder...
Step after step...
Filled with fervor... rushing to your deaths.
Michael ......
Quercus Never should death have been so lauded.
Life is to be celebrated.
You have the right to choose life.
The earth will eternally embrace the weary children.
That is why I saved you.
Michael ......
You know something? Every letter my brother sent back...
No matter what else, he'd always mention you.
He said you were a great captain and leader, never berating people at each turn like the rest did...
Said you looked after him so much...
I believe my brother wouldn't lie...
Quercus ......
Michael I believe...
You must have your reasons for doing what you did.
Thank you for saving me.
I'll live. I'll live on well.
I see Michael slowly hang his head.
I can sense the emotions, bottled in his heart all along.
Michael These past few days have shown me how incredible you are.
[Michael charges at Quercus...]
Wasting Deserter Michael!
What are you doing?!
Michael But I still can't bear it.
I'm sorry.
[...and strikes her.]
<Background black>
Quercus Won't you retaliate against this?!
Quercus? You haven't retaliated either, have you?
Quercus He thrust wide.
Quercus? Did he mean to?
Quercus It doesn't matter.
Quercus? ......
Hey. You won't even be angry?
It's not you who should be bearing this, after all.
You know you're a victim too. You're not the one to blame when these things happen.
Quercus What happened back then, regardless of who was right or wrong, means nothing now no matter how deep you probe.
Suffering, casualty, hostility, blades, envy... all cut us far adrift from the earth.
And in that moment, we are all the victims.
Quercus? ......
I just don't know what to say to you.
Quercus I'm sure Forrest hoped his brother would have a proper life to live.
In that instant, he was reborn, and found his way back to the earth's sprawling roots.
If we continue to persecute each other so...
Letting hate drive hate...
We would do no service to their wishes.
Quercus? Theirs?
Quercus Theirs.
And so–
This is the best account I can give him.
And you needn't keep blaming yourself any longer.
Quercus? Mm. Congratulations.
How nice for you.
You've finally managed to get yourself killed.
Quercus Are you really giving up, just like that?
Quercus? You're the doctor here.
And more than that, a Druid priest.
Will you give up on life?
[The other voice is not heard of again.]
Quercus ......
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 6>
Corinna I beg of you, take care of him for me.
*cough* *cough*... I...
Never should death have been so lauded.
Life is to be celebrated.
Derlyn Mum...
Quercus ......
Take the child out of here for now.
[Corinna leaves with the child.]
Almost every day brings new faces before me, but I still try to remember all their names. Life should not be abandoned like this without a trace.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 7>
Bitter Root Quercus! What the–?!
What's all the blood on you about?
I'll fetch you a doctor right now.
Quercus I am a doctor.
And I was once a Victorian soldier.
Now I'm a Rhodes Island Branch Operator, and Rhodes Island Gododdin intelligence officer.
They who suffer are hung up high.
Look! That's our hero!
So the busybodies below the scaffold loudly cheer.
Quercus The Doctor's headed for Londinium.
They need our backing on the intelligence front.
Bitter Root But you...
Quercus I'm fine.
I just took a quick trip to the refugee camp earlier.
The children chant in voices raised high.
But they notice not the looks of worry in their parents' eyes.
<Background 1>
Quercus I'm lucky Grani isn't back yet. I know she wouldn't let it rest without learning every last detail.
I hope everything's going smoothly on her end. Please let nothing trouble her.
For now, I'd best pretend I'm asleep before it's too late...
Another day's dusk.
But the night won't be long.
[Grani and Goldenglow enters.]
Grani Quercus!
Did you get some proper rest?
Goldenglow Quercus.
I'm here to see you.
[Quercus rises up.]
Quercus Good evening...
*cough* *cough*...
Goldenglow Quercus!
Grani Look at you! You didn't listen to me, did you?
Quercus Grani, the twenty-four hours are almost up.
Grani Then I'll ground you for another twenty-four!
You lie down for me, right now!
Goldenglow Quercus, you look in terrible shape.
Quercus I'm fine. I'll be good.
In fact, I've baked you some biscuits.
Death casts away the dead, and salivates for the living. The most fearful torment would not so easily indulge these friends who mind each other so, nor those relatives for whom relief comes with great difficulty.
May the earth forgive.
May life endure.
Grani Quercus!
Quercus Heheh.

See also