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|Caves of Narshe Forums > Site Submissions > Rescue At the Gallows- A Final Fantasy tactics rei|
|Posted by: chevleclair 2nd April 2019 02:17|
| As usual, this is just for fun, not for profit. Also as usual, feel free to comment. If you've played the game then this is just an imagining. If you've not played, then please do, it's one pf the better stories in the FF series.
Here it is:
The bells finally rang at the Holy Site of Galgorond. Here, the Church executed heretics and traitors. It is said that the souls of those who were slain here would be granted absolution in the shadow of St. Ajora, the founder of the Church. Ajora himself was executed at the very spot a large, old, but very well kept guillotine now sat. This is where Princess Ovelia Ataschka was set to be executed. The layout wasn’t extravagant. with a defending stone wall, a series of witness stands, and a large gaoler’s house where the criminal and executioner were to be led from toward the guillotine.
Agrias Oaks had been here many times. As a child, she would accompany her family on many pilgrimages. Then, as a page, squire, then Knight of the Lionsguard, she would accompany Princess Ovelia here during one of her sabbaticals. As many times as she had checked these halls, she knew all of the troublesome nooks and crannies any thief or assassin could hide at this site. She, Alicia, and Lavian hid in those spots.
Ramza had only looked the place over for a few minutes before he had come up with his plan. The three Lionsguard knights would bypass the guards and threaten both the priest and executioner. If there were problems, Ramza would have a few people in place to even the odds a little.
The sudden silencing of the birds and insects seemed a paltry, but noticeable fanfare as the guards at arms and the mages filed quietly from the guard house. Each of them dressed in the appropriate colors for that of the Inquisition- red and brown. If Ramza had guessed correctly, none of the archers would dare attack if the executioner were kept at bay. It should be easy enough for the rest of the Lionsguard to guide the captive Ovelia to the guardhouse and escape to freedom.
A church herald exited the guard house once the rest of the guard was in place. Also wearing the inquisitions colors, he also carried a horn. He quietly climbed to the top of the gallows and looked around. Normally, this kind of execution would have a large audience- this was an odd exception. The herald raised the horn to his lips and played the notes announcing the executioner.
The executioner was a tall, clad in a full bodied and hooded brown cloak. He walked with a purposeful gait, almost gliding over the paving stones as a specter.Two armed knights followed him, with Ovelia in tow. She was clad in a red dress with a white hood covering her face. Her hands were bound behind her, and a large iron manacle bound to a towing chain was around her neck.
Agrias seethed. Politics began to enrage her more and more as these dark days began to wax and wane. Since Draclau had betrayed them to Dycedarg Beoulve, it seemed as though nothing seemed sacred anymore. The bound woman going to the guillotine was the last innocent person she ever knew.
Slowly, she unstrapped the hilt of her sword and clasped her hand around the hilt. Her teeth clenched and her eyes narrowed. She couldn’t let anger get the better of her, or Ovelia’s life will be forfeit. No matter what happened, she had to remain calm.
The guards had already ascended the stairs to the guillotine and opened the yoke. One of them yanked a chain and kicked the Princess in the back of the leg, shoving her head into the reserved spot.
She drew her sword, springing from her hiding spot. Her sisters in arms needed no prompting, as they joined her without hesitation. Agrias quickly thrust her blade into the chest of the nearest guard, instantly killing him. She then dashed to the raised platform, leaping and climbing to its top. Alicia and Lavian followed suit, quickly dispatching their quarry before making their way to the ramp to surround the executioner.
For his part, the executioner seemed barely phased, only taking a step back and raising his hands when Agrias leveled his blade to his throat. He barely spoke a word as Agrias motioned for Lavian to unlock and unshackle the Princess. He merely gestured to the guard to remain calm when this unspoken order was executed.
Agrias glanced over briefly as Lavian removed the hood. Under the hood was a young woman, hair bound like that of a soldier, and eyes wide. This wasn’t Princess Ovelia.
“Captain, look out!” Alicia shouted, pointing toward the executioner.
Agrias quickly swiveled her gaze to the executioner. He had revealed himself as a grey-mustached man with a sinister and jolly countenance. His dark eyes seem to gleam with a murderous glee as he swung his wicked curved blade toward Agrias’s neck.
The Captain of the Lionsguard ducked and stepped toward his sword-side. She quickly lifted her sword and slapped away Grefgarion’s next blow before her shield bash attempt was repulsed by Grefgarion simply swatting it aside with his own shield.
“I knew you were an idiot, Agrias!” Grefgarion sneered. “As soon as we let slip your charge was going to be executed, I knew you’d hatch some hare-brained scheme to rescue her!”
Agrias took a step to lunge in at the vile traitor, but was held at bay by the sounds of clicking crossbows from the guard positions.
She stayed in stance, her muscles twitching and her heart pounding. She could almost taste the oncoming battle, and it took almost all of her willpower stay her own hand. “Where is Her Highness?”
Grefgarion didn’t lower his guard, either. He was still smiling, but it seemed more predatory. “Safe.”
Why? Why is she alive? Duke Larg wants her dead, and now has her, thanks to Draclau.
“Give her over!”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that. I need something from you first.”
“I need that stone, Agrias. The one you stole from Draclau!”
Agrias shook her head. “I don’t have it.”
Grefgarion chuckled, “You don’t? What happened to it?”
“I gave it to Ramza Lugria!”
Grefgarion paused. “My former captain?” He sounded incredulous, and seemed to find it comical. “Well, he’ll be easy to find. We’ll just use his little Alma as leverage. After all, she IS Dycedarg Beoulve’s little sister as well.”
Agrias shook her head. Grefgarion was probably the most sane person she’d met in the last year. Even more sane than she. Ramza was related to Duke Larg’s closest ally?
“There won’t be a need, old man!” Shouted another voice. “I’m right here.”
Ramza quickly slipped off his disguise as one of the guards. He was stationed on the lower end, next to the gate. He didn’t draw his sword, but simply folded his arms.
Grefgarion chuckled, “A boy after my own heart! You’re a fast learner!”
Ramza scowled, “Where is Ovelia, Gref! You can’t win this!”
Grefgarion merely smiled his wicked smile, “Well, it’s time to show our hands.”
With a quick signal, several men and women emerged from hiding spots from the spectator’s seats and around the balcony.
Surrounding the four people were some thirty troopers. A priest, a mage, four or five archers, and the rest were men at arms.
“I want that stone, Ramza! Give it to me, or I’ll slaughter you all!” Grefgarion shouted, his voice higher pitched in his excitement.
Ramza took a step back from the edge of his perch, reaching into his pocket. “You still lose, Gref!”
From his pocket he shined a mirror, moving the flash over to the priest. “Moose!”
A loud CRACK exploded from outside of the gate, and within a drawn-out second, the priest pitched forward, dead.
Grefgarion snarled. “The engineer from Goug, with that stupid weapon!”
“Let us go, old man! Or you’re next!”
Grefgarion looked around hurriedly, finally deciding on a course of action. With the back of his gauntlet, he slapped Agrias’s blade away from his neck, quickly punching with his left hand.
The younger knight lifted her hand to block the punch. Too late, she saw the dagger slip from between his knuckles. She felt the burning sting of the sinister blade as it punched into her left hand. She yelped in pain and drew back.
“My captain!” Alicia bellowed, rushing for the gallows. Just before she could reach, the disguised Ovelia had drawn steel, stepping in front of the knight to cut her off.
The swipe the fake victim took began the melee. As the black mages tried to cast spells from the balcony, one was immediately struck down by another thunderous gunshot, whilst the second was immediately run through by Ramza.
While Ramza and Mustadio attempted to clear a path for the three ladies, Alicia and Lavian had gone back to back, badly outnumbered. They had higher ground in the melee, but that served as little comfort when in view of an entire platoon of soldiers at arms were rushing the platform. To make matters worse, Alicia was still tangled up with the faux Ovelia.
Agrias had no time to unsling her shield, and her left hand still stung from Grefgarion’s sly dagger strike. Her position on the platform was her only refuge from the onslaught below, and Grefgarion seemed well aware of all of this. Instead of trying to position his blade to stab or slash his foe, he was pressing to her left. Jabs and thrusts followed by a quick step were his strategy, forcing the wounded one to parry with her backhand.
“This is a futile effort, Lioness! This is the force that will rule Ivalice! We hold all of the cards!”
Agrias didn’t respond, she simply stepped through in an attempted riposte that found nothing but air. Grafgarion’s expertise was too great and his reflexes too fast to avoid the stab, so she did the only thing she could do. She turned her hip, causing the blade to miss her belly. Instead, it punched into the hip, deflected off the bone, and tore painfully free. Her foe tried to lash out with the punching dagger, but Agrias had anticipated that strike, and simply dodged that maneuver.
In the second it took the two to reset, Agrias surveyed the situation. Alicia and the faux Ovelia were fighting to a standstill- the woman she fought had great skill- only the knight’s armament was keeping her alive. Lavian had waded into the first wave of soldiers coming up the ramp. A corpse or two lay near the top, but it was still going to rise and overtake her.
As great as it would be to kill the Black Knight, the three women needed to fight as a team. It was time to remove Grefgarion from the fight. Even if it was temporary.
The man in front was known for his cunning, and surprising gambits. He used the idea he could trick you almost as readily as if he were tricking you. She could use this to her advantage. He might underestimate her. She put her feet together and squared her hips to the older man. The effect was what she hoped. Grefgarion pushed forward, trying to knock her off the platform. With a quick step ahead and a slight bend at the shoulder and hip, she hooked Grefgarion’s dagger arm with her wounded one and with her hip, feet, and shoulder, tossed him off of the platform. Grefgarion flipped once in the air, but landed with a crash into a surprised member of his unit.
“Alicia, right!” She shouted.
Alicia, who was still getting the worst of the fight, stepped to the right. Agrias quickly stepped in and slashed low and horizontally. The lightly armored impostor felt the blade dig into her. She staggered, clasping her abdomen. Alicia howled and kicked the dying assassin off of the platform.
Next was Lavian. Agrias, despite the wounded hand and hip, unslung her shield. Both she and Alicia shrieked their war cries and pressed the top of the ramp, driving the three soldiers off of their comrade. One fell dead, another fell from the platform wounded, and a third retreated.
She was the Captain of Ovelia’s Lionsguard. They were the Lionesses. The only three remaining.
“Lionesses, link up! There are still many left, so let’s show them our teeth!” Agrias barked.
The three women stood shoulder to shoulder, their shields covering themselves and their fellow knights.
Like a well oiled machine, three worked as one, warding blows and striking home their own. For a minute or two, the three seemed invincible. However, she felt them weakening. Lavian had been wounded in several spots, and Alicia had been similarly so. In minutes, escape would be impossible. If that were the case, then they would die as they were trained to- with their faces toward the enemy and sword in their hand.
Grefgarion stood back from the ramp, watching the melee. He had started with thirty soldiers in his troop, and had lost a goodly number. His mages were dead, and there were no healers left standing. Agrias saw him, and knew what the sly old mercenary was waiting for. He would swoop in on the final seconds and use that horrid life draining power of his to slaughter the last of Ovelia’s Lionsguard. Ramza had disappeared from his spot on that balcony, and Mustadio had not fired a shot since he had slain the last wizard.
The remaining fifteen or so of Grefgarion’s soldiers had formed some sort of formation, and looked as though they were going to push the three Ladies off of the platform, where they would be subjected to the morale breaking swarm. Inch by inch, the Lionesses lost ground, hacking and stabbing at the press of armor and bodies. Fewer and fewer strokes found their mark, instead glancing off of armor or shields. She, too felt her strength wane as steel was fed to her.
One of her flanks suddenly broke. Alicia could no longer resist the press of armament, and soon she fell under the wave of troops, exhausted and bleeding. Lavian soon stumbled, and before Agrias could do anything, she tumbled from the platform and onto the courtyard. With a defiant cry, she redoubled her effort- she was numb from the pain in her left arm- her mind settled on killing as many as she could before death took her, too.
That’s when she heard a gunshot. Mustadio’s wonderful gunshot. From her vantage point, she saw Grefgarion stumble and fall to the ground, clutching his face.
Ramza had returned! With reinforcements! Ten fresh soldiers from the Lugria Company barreled through the Gaoler’s doors and immediately rose to relieve the Lionesses. Ramza himself had led the charge, heading straight for his former employer.
Grefgarion, for his part, simply turned away Ramza’s initial onslaught and retreated. “Retreat! There’s nothing left to do here! Retreat!” With those words, he dropped a pellet, causing a bright flash of light. This caused Ramza to reel, and bought the Black Knight the time he needed to escape.
The remainder of Grefgarion’s company able to retreat did so, whilst the four or so that had threatened to overtake Agrias on the platform not moments before simply laid down their arms. When that was done, the princess’s Champion lay her sword and shield down, dropping to one knee. Rivulets of pain began to pop up at various places on her body. Some from cuts or blows, others from just plain fatigue. She clutched her badly bleeding left hand and looked down at the seeping wound. Grefgarion’s knife had done some serious damage.
She felt a strong but gentle hand on her shoulder. She looked up to find it was Mustadio- the man who turned the tide of the battle. She sighed and made a move to stand. The young shootist stood back to let her. She trembled for a minute and then knelt back down. With the fervor of the battle dying down, she realized that she may be too wounded to walk. She again looked up at the fresh faced young boy.
“How are my Ladies?” She asked.
Mustadio shook is head noncommitally.
“Lady Agrias!” Shouted Ramza as he raced up the ramp.
“How is she?” he asked, kneeling in front of her.
“Badly wounded,” Mustadio said. “She’s only awake by will alone.”
“How are my Ladies?” Agrias asked again, a numbness creeping over her.
“Both are alive, Lady Agrias. As will you be.”
Agrias nodded. Before she let the numbness take her, she asked one more question. “Are you a Beoulve?”
Ramza paused a minute and looked down at the wooden floor of the platform, then looked her in the eye. “I am, Agrias. You can still trust me.”
Agrias met his gaze and smiled weakly. “I know.”
Finally, the numbness took her, as did the need to sleep.