The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC – The Reunion
Trails in the Sky SC is an amazing game with correspondingly memorable moments. While this game has dozens of well written characters, the plot of this game, as well as its predecessor, revolve around two young bracers: Estelle and Joshua. Their reunion towards the end of SC is one of the most moving scenes I’ve come across in videogames. Though, to properly discuss it requires a bit of setup.
Trails in the Sky FC ends on a colossal downer of a cliffhanger. After travelling across Liberl, becoming senior bracers, and countering an Ouroboros plot, the two finally get a few moments alone. Joshua outlines his past as an Ouroboros Enforcer and how he was brainwashed into spying on the Bracers. Now that Ouroboros has returned Joshua’s memories, he remembers all the horrible things he did for the shadowy organization. Joshua is determined to leave so Estelle won’t have to see his true nature. Estelle still cares for him and confesses her love. Now they kiss, but Joshua slips Estelle a sedative and, as she loses consciousness, he admits that he loves her and the credits roll.
The beginning of the next game involves Estelle traversing every inch of Liberl, attempting to foil Ouroboros’ plans and find a lead on the whereabouts of Joshua. Ultimately though, it’s Joshua who finds Estelle and saves her after she is captured by Ouroboros. This leads to a reckoning with Joshua past that, at this point, has been seventy hours in the making between the two games.
Now Joshua lays out his past in full; how the village he grew up in was massacred to create an excuse for war. He and his sister were outside the village when the shooting started so they ran for it, but were cut off by a soldier. This led to a struggle and Joshua’s sister was killed protecting him from attack. This left Joshua blaming himself for his sister’s death; the pain turning him into a shell of a human. Ouroboros used this to twist Joshua into the perfect child assassin. Now Joshua believes that he is a broken human being and Estelle will be better off without him.
However, this time Estelle sees through Joshua’s self-pity. She realizes that Joshua isn’t broken, he’s scared to lose someone he loves again; that he’s spent all this time running because he’s afraid of something happening to Estelle. Estelle embraces Joshua and tells him that nothing will stop her from being a Bracer, but she has grown, and they can have each other’s back from now on. Joshua then starts to cry for the first time since his sister died.
It’s usually about this point that I start tearing up. The first time I watched this scene, it was incredibly emotional because, after spending so much time with these characters, I cared about them deeply and I had waited for four years since FC released to see the payoff for the cliffhanger. I love how this scene mirrors Estelle’s earlier failed attempt to reach Joshua at the end of the previous game. Over the course of SC, I had witnessed Estelle grow as a character, so it made her insight into Joshua’s psyche believable.
This scene has everything I love about the Trails series. Great characters, excellent writing, and lots of lore tying everything together. It’s the perfect emotional setup to the crazy train ride awaiting players in the final three chapters of SC.
Spoiler Warning: Memorable Moments from the Past 20 Years