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January 7, 2012
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Preamble

This contains massive endgame spoilers for Bastion. If you haven't seen the ending, this will spoil it.

Warnings: References to suicide and suicidal thought, implied violence


-------


Kid's got a heap of explainin' to do. Why set his weapon down for a traitor? Why put his life on the line for someone who already tried to take it? Why put the shard in danger to help the one who took it in the first place? Why risk the Bastion for someone who tried to break it?

They're not my questions. No ma'am. They're Zulf's.

Took him a while to ask them but then, by rights those wounds should've killed him. Should've killed the kid, too. Nearly lost both of 'em more than once. Guess Zulf's gods just like a punching bag. And the kid... he had too much livin' left to do.

Kid already listened to you instead of me. Set the Bastion flying who knows how fast in who knows what direction. I came around to the idea... slowly. The Bastion was never meant for this; surprised me more than anyone when it worked. Kid was back on his feet in no time. Been taking knocks all his life; that probably wasn't even in the top ten. Zulf, though... well, he's a man of words, not a man of actions. Words can't stop you takin' a beatin'.

It's a few days before Zulf comes round. Weeks, maybe... hard to tell. He's real quiet those first few days. Like he don't know we're here. I thought for a time maybe the Calamity finally got him, on the inside. The Bastion's already making it's way to wherever it's going. Caelondia's nothin' but memories now, and the Ura... outta sight outta mind.

It's dark when Zulf suddenly gets up. Makes a beeline for the kid, real stern look on his face. I'm ready for trouble but the kid's got it covered. Hasn't put his hammer down since he got back. I already told Zulf what had happened, but he wanted to hear it from the kid himself. Kid's calm as a Brusher, looks Zulf square in the eye. He tells Zulf everything.

Kid knew Zulf probably wouldn't want to come back to us. He knew Zulf would just as likely attack the Bastion again. He knew Zulf was in the Terminals for a fight.

And last of all, he knew Zulf was wanting the kid to kill him down there in the Terminals.

So, why'd he do it?

Kid's answer is so matter-of-fact you'd think it was obvious.

Kid tells him he can still do all of those things, but now, he's got a choice. If he still wants a fight, the kid'll give him one, even to the death if he wants... but if he'd left Zulf down there to die he wouldn't never got that choice. The choice to fight us, or work with us again. Work with The Bastion to make everything better, or write us off as trying to fix what's too broken to repair. Kid says it wasn't his choice to make.

And then the kid deals the killer blow. The one thing Zulf never expected to hear. Me either, for that matter.

Zulf might've done a number on us more than once, but the kid says he knows we deserved it. He tells Zulf he forgives his actions, and hopes one day Zulf might forgive ours in turn. Kid says he couldn't let Zulf die without knowing that much.

Zulf's struck dumb, same as me, so how do you reckon he reacted to what the kid did next? Kid takes out one of the toys the Calamity gave him. His war machete, a weapon favoured by the Ura. Honed to perfection, he's cared for it like it's his firstborn. Even the Ura couldn't forge a blade fine as that.

Kid sticks it in the ground. "Take it," he tells Zulf. "If that's what you want."

Now Zulf's a lot of things but he's no fool... Me, I've only heard what stories the kid's told me, but Zulf... he's seen for himself what Kid can do with that hammer o' his. The Ura's strongest warriors, so tough even the Calamity couldn't take 'em, they all fell to that hammer. I don't pretend to know what was goin' through Zulf's mind, whether it was cowardice and fear, or acceptance and submission, but either way I don't blame him for his choice.

Zulf don't say a word. Just turns away from the kid. Stops, stares into space. Maybe he's talking with Pyth. Askin' his gods for help. Well, his gods got him this far. He's got more questions for the kid, but at least it ain't a brawl. Bastion's movin' real fast, clouds can't even get outta the way in time. Save for what the Calamity's still spewin' up we ain't seen a piece of land for days. Kid could've set it all straight, but instead we're flying through the sky. Zulf wants to know why. I said nothing. All told I wasn't sold on the evacuation plan neither.

Kid's grown up a lot since it hit. Said something, wise beyond his years.

No matter how many times you fall flat on your face, you gotta get up. Game's only over if you don't stand back up again. Kid could've undone it all in a flash, The Bastion'd see to that. But we'd just be telling the same old story all over again. Don't matter how many times you hear it, a story don't change. Knowing how it ends don't help none. You want a new tale, you gotta start from scratch. Kid says we got a new story out there, somewhere. We just gotta find it.

Zulf goes quiet again. I'm almost gettin' to enjoy the sound of silence. He's still weak, shuffles over to the edge of the Bastion. Looks out into the unknown. I remember why he was in the Hangin' Gardens. Thought he was about to finish what he started. I admit I argued with myself whether or not to stop him, but like the Kid said, it was his choice to make. But he don't jump. Rummages around in his pockets, takes out that little black book. Been keeping its secrets real close. He throws out his hand and lets go. Says the Calamity can keep its own secrets now. The book drops like a stone, falls down to whatever's waiting below.

He goes back into his pockets. Now he's pullin' out that little bronze spyglass the kid gave him. Must've kept a memento of his time here after all. He looks out, just like when we were lookin' for the cores. Says we won't find a new home just sittin' round gassin' about it.

And wouldn't you know? The gods must've finally started smilin' on him. He saw somethin'. He saw land. Land the Calamity hadn't touched.

Now I hadn't planned on ever using the cores this way so all the Bastion has is the Skyway and a couple o' sails. Me and the kid set about frantic-like, throwin' up sails and windbreakers to try and steer this thing someway. Took a while but we coaxed it in the right direction. Must've been a sight for anyone lookin' up when we flew overhead. The land's a real big place. Big as Caelondia and the Terminals combined.

So, why am I tellin' you this? I don't want you worrying any more, about the kid. He's gone down there with Zulf while I figure out a way of makin' this thing stop movin'. I figure the kid's got a wise head on his shoulders but he still ain't any good with words, though I don't suppose you need to hear that. Workin' that hammer means he can take a beating, but it don't help him make friends. That's why I sent Zulf, too. If anyone's down there, it's gonna take a peacemaker to talk 'em out of a fight. Can't imagine he rode the Skyway with any more grace than the kid, though. Heh.

Now I know they're alone together but don't you worry. Kid gave Zulf the chance to get his revenge and he didn't take it. Zulf's with us now.

And, Zia... Maybe, just maybe, they're gonna find us a home down there.
HUGE BASTION SPOILERS if you haven't yet seen the ending this will spoil it

Warnings for references to suicide and suicidal thought, and implied violence

Thanks to :iconmidgithepirate: for proof-reading

--

I've just recently played this frankly astounding game to it's conclusion and just, wow. I regard it in the same indie gaming echelons as gems like Cave Story. If you haven't yet done so, you gotta go play it.

This came about after getting Zulf's Theme [link] stuck very firmly in my head. As well as being a fantastic game with a fantastic story, Bastion also has a fantastic soundtrack. The story really got me thinking it over after the end, particularly those last two decisions you have to make. Kid's thought process in the above fic was pretty much my thoughts at this time. Not to say I didn't agonise over both decisions though!

It is, of course, to be read in Rucks' smoky, honey-coated, velvety tones. Being from southern england, it's quite a task for me to emulate his voice, so apologies if there's a few spots where his voice doesn't fit.

Really, there's nothing much I can say here that would add anything if you've already played it to the point where this makes sense, so I'll leave it here. :P
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:iconfaunav:
FaunaV Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I suppose everyone has read this in Ruck's voice, and for good reason too! You've done an amazing job in taking his character and using it effectively. This is exquisite!
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:iconbabybahamut:
babybahamut Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014
Blush  Oh my goodness, what huge praise! Thank you so much!
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:icononeweirddane:
OneWeirdDane Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014
Just stumbled across this! Thank you! :D this is really well written! and a true pleasure to read. For some reason I never thought much beyond the end of the game - Thanks for changing that! 
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:iconbabybahamut:
babybahamut Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014
Wow- thanks so much for the comment! I'm really glad you enjoyed it :)
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:icononeweirddane:
OneWeirdDane Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014
haha (: more Bastion goodness, how could I not!? You're very welcome!
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:iconglitch1213:
glitch1213 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013
Beautiful, just... beautiful
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:iconbabybahamut:
babybahamut Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2013
Thank you very much!
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:iconmasterbeanz:
masterbeanz Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012  Student General Artist
You do a great job emulating the style in which Hucks narrates. Heard his voice the whole time!
It's such a great game!
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:iconbabybahamut:
babybahamut Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012
Aha, wow, thanks! That's praise indeed!

It's a fantastic game, I think most of my friends are sick of me going on about it :D
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:iconmasterbeanz:
masterbeanz Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012  Student General Artist
Me too, I can't shut up about it. Anytime video games are mentioned in conversation I go all :squee: and start going off about it.
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