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Final Fantasy Tactics~Thirteenth Stone

Posted: 11th June 2006 17:57

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Red Wing Pilot
Posts: 487

Joined: 30/3/2006

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Member of more than ten years. User has rated 75 fanarts in the CoN galleries. User has rated 25 fanarts in the CoN galleries. Member of more than five years. 
Winner of the 2006 Incognito Contest contest. 
This is a work in progress, I am hoping to have it wrapped up in five chapters and hopefully will be done with it all by august. Anyway, here is the first chapter, waiting for comments and suggestions. Enjoy!

EDIT: For some reason the paragraph formatting is actin funny, I used Corel wordperfect, so hopefully future versions will be true to the way I typed them.

THE THIRTEENTH STONE

Part One: The Eyes of the Damned

“Calm down, now...,that’s it.”

The helmeted rider spoke to his chocobo in a soothing voice.“That’s it, see? We’ve made it in one piece again Cobalt.” He dismounted the bird and set about the business of setting up camp.
The man had very few possessions, but one of them was most interesting indeed.
He looked at the strange stone again. It had a symbol on it he had never seen before, yet something in his mind whispered it to him.

“Serpentarius...”

The man quickly looked away, he knew what succumbing to the stones could do. He quickly set up his tent and began removing his armor. His distinctive platina mail marked him as a knight, yet the most striking feature about him was his sword. It was a blade that wasn’t seen before in Ivalice, and that made him even more proud of it. “Testament.” The warrior picked up the massive blade with ease, his azure eyes scanning it for any marks from the recent combat. He saw he would have to clean the foul goblin blood from it, but there was no damage.

The man shut his eyes momentarily and drifted into a sudden sleep, still half dressed, he was oblivious of his surroundings as he drifted off into memory.

********************************************************************

“Donovan Celesta...Cadet Donovan Celesta!” Professor Daravon roared at him, and he was woken from his reverie.

"Yes Sir Daravon?”

“Perhaps you can answer the question I directed at Cadet Hyral. What is the opposite elemental property of Bolt?”

“Umm...Fire?” Daravon was completely lost, as usual. Arcane studies were not his strong point.

“Wrong Cadet! It is Water! The bolt spell is comprised of wind and fire at equal parts. When the caster has established the correct amount of mana to use, the result is a Bolt spell. Water offsets this because of it’s natural state, which combines wind and ice at equal parts. Furthermore, when using a Bolt spell...”

True to his name professor Bordam Daravon was quickly boring the class. While his lecture was informative, the man just didn’t know when to quit.

‘How did he become a Knight?’ Donovan thought to himself. He glanced across the room at Cadet Kelson, and saw her look away quickly. He thought he detected a slight blush on her countenance, but he wasn’t sure. ‘ I see you Helena, and, no I have not forgotten about our last study session.’ He thought to himself, and was lost in memory when the unflappable Daravon called him...again.

“Cadet Celesta! What is so interesting about the wall?”

“Um..what?” Donovan reddened slightly, he wouldn’t hear the end of this.

“The wall Cadet? Is it so compelling that you can ignore the properties of the four elements? If that is the case than feel free to study it in depth. In fact, why not submit a report on the effects of a wall on the elements? That should be right up your alley, in fact...”

A Hokuten knight stormed into the room, stopping the professor mid sentence.

“Cadets! A group of tortured thieves is trying to sneak into the city! We cannot allow this!”

‘Great...my first battle and I don’t even know how to use break techniques yet? I should make a fine knight one day.’ Donovan was lost in his own thoughts as the knight briefed the mission to them. The next thing he knew he was running to the armory to grab his blade. His distinctive quartz encrusted hilt was seen from the other side of the hall. ‘Testament! Are you ready for some action?’ He spoke to his blade in his mind, which he didn’t think overly strange. After all, Cadet Beoulve was known to speak to his outright. He reached into his pocket and produced a rarity, a rolled piece of paper with dried Marlboro leaves inside. The Lesalians called it a cigarette. He called it a battle stress reliever. For some reason it heightened his alertness, and the boost in mental speed wasn’t bad either. He quickly donned his chainmail and grabbed the standard issue escutcheon from his locker. ‘Worthless shield...I miss my platina wares. Well, no time to think of forgotten property, I have to focus.’ He mentally reviewed the fencing techniques he was taught a fortnight prior. He remembered that Delita had exploited a weakness in his stance consistently and reminded himself to correct it. This was not practice, it was the real thing.

He emerged into the avenue in the streets of Gariland and looked at his surroundings, aware of any possible enemy hide positions. His squad was assigned the eastern sector of the city, while Beoulve had the west. The knights would cover the more vulnerable southern and northern sectors.

“Fine time to attack, in the middle of a lecture. I must thank these ‘thieves’.” He spoke to no one in particular.

He looked at his assigned battle mate, Anton and shrugged. Anton replied with a grin that suddenly turned into a grimace as an arrow impaled the young nobleman in the middle of his forehead.

“Archers! Quickly take defensive positions!” Donovan commanded his squad. He crouched and ran toward an overhang to his left, trying to conceal himself until his attackers could be found.The chemist was trying to treat Anton, but it was obviously of no use, and the girl gave up rather suddenly, seeking refuge from the raining arrows that were impacting mere inches from her.

‘Damn they’re good too.’ Donovan thought as he continued to scan the rooftops and towers of the city. He spotted a glint to his right and focused in on it. Sure enough, some fool archer was wearing metallic armor and had caught the sun inadvertently. Donovan pointed the man out to his own archer, Theo, and the man nodded his understanding.

Theo drew back his long bow, an arrow notched with poison dripping from it’s head. He let fly as soon as he saw an opening and the enemy archer’s death cry was heard almost at the same time the body impacted the ground. Donovan took the opening to rush forward with his alpha team wingman Vector. The two made it twenty yards before encountering a pair of lancers. The first lancer struck toward Vector, but the young squire anticipated the act and swung himself to the left simultaneously striking with his broad sword at the lancer’s exposed left side. The first lancer fell in a pool of blood as Donovan struggled with the second. He took a glancing blow on his shield and was knocked back from the force of it. The lancer jumped, but Donovan was quicker throwing a boot knife into the lancers right eye. The man dropped, wailing and Donovan walked up to him and struck the killing blow.

Bravo team was having no such luck. The team leader, Carmine, was engaged in a hand to hand exchange with a scruffy looking thief. Their blows were a thing of wonder, each timed perfectly and met with an equally skilled block. It was obvious that the thief had some martial arts training and he confirmed this with an unexpected wave fist that knocked Carmine flat. Theo was drawing a bead on the thief however, and used the moment to send an arrow into his undefended back. Not a very noble kill, but a kill nonetheless, Donovan observed.

Donovan called his team back together at the rally point, having his archers placed in key positions to ensure frontline security. He quickly took account of his condition. ‘One man dead, two injured, four enemy KIA.’ He looked at his soldiers faces and read a myriad of expressions, from shock to awe to outright boredom on Theo’s face. It was becoming clear to more than one member of the squad that Training this was not.

“Alright, people, what’s our situation?” Donovan asked his team leaders. Carmine responded first. “Enemy kills confirmed, four total, no further resistance encountered.” Donovan smiled, he expected Carmine to be promoted shortly, hopefully he wouldn’t lose his job to his sparring partner. Theo, who had accepted responsibility as the Alpha team leader when Anton fell, was silent. It seemed he was still observing the situation and had no comment.

“Alright, keep the perimeter established and rest in shifts. Theo, you and Laramie have first watch. Rotate every two hours until the knights recall us. Carmine, set up the schedule. I am going to check on Leann.” Donovan walked to the shaken chemist an knelt next to her. “Listen, you did all you could for Anton. Don’t take this too personally, it is a part of war Leann.” His voice softened as he talked to the girl and he smiled at her reassuringly. “ Now, go and get some rest until your shift.” She nodded her head and walked toward Vector, needing his comfort.

Donovan closed his eyes for a moment and exhaled. “ What a day...”

********************************************************************

He awoke with a start when the bird nudged him. He glanced down at his hand and noted that he still had the stone in a death-grip. Relaxing, he replaced it into his travel pack and walked to check on his lines.

Theo heard his squad leader approach, and shifted his weight to his back foot while turning to see what the man needed. “What’s the deal boss?” He asked informally. His green eyes twinkled under his black hood and the cigarette glowed silently.

“Anything out there, Theo?” Donovan asked his archer.

“Just trees and corpses...trees and corpses.” The stoic archer replied, his eyes scanning the woodland to his front. He turned again to Donovan and flashed a smile. “That bird of yours gets more vicious every day. It almost took Carmine’s arm off when he tried to wake you.”

“He’s just protective, that’s all. Besides I wasn’t sleeping, just thinking.” The squad leader replied.

“Whatever you have to tell yourself to feel better, boss.” The archer chuckled slightly and continued scanning. Donovan moved down the line to find Laramie. She was perched midway up a tree and keeping a sharp lookout to the east, her crossbow ready to respond in an instant. Her head shot up as she heard the twig snap under his foot and she smiled when he looked up at her apologetically.

“If it isn’t our fearless leader...” her gaze returned to the distance as she spoke, intent on finding a target for her deadly accurate bolts. “Indeed, it is Laramie. Everything good?” He asked her. “Green to green Sir. The only complaint is lack of targets for practice.” She replied matter-of-factly. “You should learn to relax some Lady Divine, or you will put worry wrinkles on that flawless face of yours.” He lightly responded and returned to the center of the camp. When he arrived he glanced at the wizard, Elidibs, and wondered about the man. While it was true he was a hero and a legendary wizard, he seemed a bit eccentric, constantly mumbling to himself and wandering without purpose. It was he who caused the goblins to find the camp in the first place. Mayhaps dementia was common among ‘heroes’ because he could recall Beoulve having some eccentricities of his own. They were calling him a ‘hero’ too.

Elidibs was scheming. This was his chance to obtain the legendary thirteenth stone of the zodiac and finally have his revenge on the accursed Celesta family that kept it from him. The man was older than he appeared. In fact, Trugrish, his name in the original tongue, was over seven thousand years old. He remembered well the time of Ajora, and the many ‘prophets’ that came before him. He was certain that he would see dozens more in his future as well, unless he finally put a stop to it by embodying the Lucavi, Serpentarius, and destroying the other twelve stones. This is the purpose he was created for, and he would continue to exist until the light-bringer destroyed him, or he performed his duty. ‘Fools’ he thought, ‘They will never understand the power of the stone, and I won’t let another Celesta keep me from it!’ His eyes glittered with the glow of insanity, and he stared intently at the man’s travel bag. ‘It would be so easy to slaughter you all, if only I could get the stone!’

“ The man is plotting something, Donovan. I can see it in his eyes.” Neal Saitan confronted the squad leader with this information and awaited a response.

“While that may be true, you have to remember he is outnumbered and in a foreign land. He would be a fool to attempt something. Especially if he thinks he could without feeling Testaments bite!” Donovan replied to the Journeyman. “He would not be wise to attempt anything in the middle of my camp, and I have no reservations about killing an old man that some people call a ‘legend’. To me he is an insane mage trying in vain to find a purpose in a place where his talents are overshadowed by those a fifth of his age!” He laughed at his own summation and took a long drag on the cigarette.

“Watch him closely, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.” The Journeyman returned to his tent and closed it behind him. He removed his mask and sash, and lay his weapons under his bedroll, hoping not to use them again this night. The Journeyman slept, and dreamed he was a wolf who dreamed he was a man who dreamed he was a wolf. This man, this assassin, this criminal, was the deadliest mercenary on Ivalice and let it be known. He found a tome one day, battered and dog-eared, and read of a man named ‘Shadow’ when he was a boy. From that day on, Neal Saitan vowed to become a dark avenger, and to find the one’s responsible for his sisters’ murder. ‘One day...’ he thought as he drifted into a deeper sleep.

And as the Journeyman, the wolf, slept, the hawk watched over him. Theo was quickly becoming bored and wanted, needed, to shoot at something. And, as if he willed it into existence, there came a pair of black goblins. He signaled Laramie, who was already knocking an arrow into her bow, and aimed at the trailing goblin. He waited, monitored his breath, and adjusted his aim to the terrain features. There was a small ditch to the goblins front, and that was where Theo decided the creature would die. All of these things happened in less than a second, and when he heard the twang of Laramie’s bow, he released the tension on his own. The lead goblin fell, gurgling and the second fell nearly in tandem, shock on it’s brutish features. ‘Just another night on the watch’ The hawk thought, and resumed scanning. He was not aware of the wizard behind him.

Elidibs had decided that the time was now. He would kill the fool sentries and take the stone. His lair was near and he needed to plan his attack on the newly awakened Hashmalum. The man would die first, the archer would lose his most prized possession, and then he would lose his very soul. The wizard teleported into the tree behind the man, and twisted his hand into a gnarled claw like thing. Somehow, the archer had heard him and turned in alarm. No matter, the killing blow was already in motion, and the target was cooperating perfectly. Elidibs’ strike practically ripped Theo’s face off. The green orbs glittering at the ends of his fingers sparkled with a dead light now, and the archer screamed. The second archer, the female, fired at Elidibs, but the mage teleported again, directly next to the startled chocobo. He reached out and yanked the bag from the birds saddle. Smiling maniacally the wizard departed the stunned camp in a blue flash, the stone secure and the eyes of the damned in his grasp.

********************************************************************

This post has been edited by Nytecrawla on 11th June 2006 20:02

--------------------
This is a webcomic and gaming blog where I rant about nonsense. Enjoy.

I was a soldier, now I just play one in video games.
Post #119699
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Posted: 16th July 2006 07:10

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Red Wing Pilot
Posts: 487

Joined: 30/3/2006

Awards:
Member of more than ten years. User has rated 75 fanarts in the CoN galleries. User has rated 25 fanarts in the CoN galleries. Member of more than five years. 
Winner of the 2006 Incognito Contest contest. 
Sorry it's been so long..I know Iknow...things happen in life that stop our dreams ya know?

Part Two: Power Struggle

Theo writhed in agony as Leann tried to cast a Cure spell on him, hoping to undo some of the damage with mystical assistance. The results were less than satisfactory, and left the Archer with a scarred face and two gaping sockets where eyes had once been.

"Damn him to hell! The old bastard was up to something after all!" Donovan was raging and donning his armor at the same time. "We break camp as soon as you can stabilize Theo. Neal, Laramie, with me!"
The knight hustled to get his remaining archer and the journeyman ready to travel after the mage.

Theo was starting to settle down a bit, and the healer tied a bandanna around his head, covering the bloody holes. The once proud archer bucked and realized that tears were no longer possible. He could not even display emotion when he wanted to.

"Donovan! We need to focus on Theo and secure the perimeter! We can chase Elidibs later." Neal was unused to giving orders, but the situation called for it as his enraged leader seemed prepared to journey to the gates of Hell itself for revenge.

The knight calmed then, and realization struck full force. " He's got the stone..."

"That is of no consequence. We can always reclaim it later. What we cannot do is reclaim a fading life, and Theo is on the edge of Styx." The Journeyman was calm and calculating, hoping to settle them all while burning inside with anger.

"He is right, Donovan. We have to regroup. To race after a teleporting wizard would be useless and rash." Laramie chimed in, her resolve permeating the ragtag band.

Carmine returned to Donovan's side, having tried in vain to track the mage. "Not a trace, Celesta...I found nothing." The man seemed to be in disbelief and let it show.

"Fine, Laramie, return to watch while we enclose the camp. Carmine you take Theo's place. Leanne watch over him and don't rest until he is stabilized as fully as possible." That tone of command returning to the knight, Donovan issued the order and it was carried out immediately.

*********************************************************

Several weeks passed as the band searched in vain for the mage. They finally made a permanent base at Goug, utilizing the slums as a low profile headquarters while checking the pubs and taverns for leads. A loose lipped thief in Beoulve's employ mentioned something about a dungeon and Carmine reported this to Donovan.

"Maybe we should check it out. I mean, it does seem strange how this island is suddenly teeming with activity. Several people have mentioned seeing Elidibs in the area as well. Thsi may be the chance we need to get back at the bastard." The tracker spoke to Donovan in an easy tone, yet there was an undercurrent of sterness in the voice.

"We will see...Has Theo heard anything yet?" The knight asked his second in command.

"No, he is still hoping to find out about the church's plot. So far all we have determined is that several key leaders are dead, including the High Priest. It seems that Vormav of the Shrine Knights is more than he appears to be. You have heard of the massacre at Riovanes yes?"

"Yeah, it's kind of troubling actually. An entire battalion of knights smashed like so much fodder. I would hope to find out more, but Ramza is a hard man to find when he wants to be." The knight was sharpening Testament and seemed lost in thought. "Maybe if we found Delita...no the Nanten are not our allies right now, and he is nearly untouchable anyway. We could look for Cidolfas though. Maybe Blanche is in possession of information? He always had a way of getting things done."

"We could invest in a certain 'conversation' with Blanche. He is here surveying the damage caused by the last skirmish. Last I heard he was at the docks, preparing to depart for Gariland and hoping at a bid for peace before things become even more convulted." Carmine was a wealth of information it seemed.

"Alright, lets arrange a meeting with him then. I have some questions to ask before he takes his leave." Donovan stood and sheathed the blade.
"Why are you still standing there? Let's move!"

The duo arrived at the docks in time to see the ship raise anchor and the oarsmen carry it from the small port.

"Well...there is always Durai, he is still in the area no?" The knight queried.

"No he left yesterday in chains, apparently he has fallen out of grace with the Nanten and is being treated as a traitor. He did aid Beoulve shortly before the Riovanes disaster."

The knight let out a dismayed sigh. "This is becoming more of a wild goose chase daily. Let's head for this island and see what we can find out, no?"

*********************************************************

They arrived on the island a week and a half later. The party made for a cave that apparently was several miles deep and supposedly full of treasure. It seemed a stretch but Donovan found it worth a look, at least to confirm the whereabouts of the mage.

"Let's remember that we aren't the only ones here. Don't get seperated and most of all watch each others backs. We're going in." Donovan lowered his visor and steeped toward the looming maw of the cavern. His torch casting faint shadows on the walls around him.

The party advanced rather quickly and heard several sounds of battles being fought in the lower corridors. They found a path and followed it, being that it was clearly intended to stay hidden, maybe it was what they were looking for.

As they rounded the corner, Carmine came face to face with a piglike creature. The small thing let out a yelp and dissappeared as quickly as it had come.

"What in the name of Ajora..." The tracker was about to swear when several dozen of the pig things rushed them.

The battle was short and vicious, with Laramie sniping from the rear while Neal and Carmine closed on the nearest bunch. The creatures were not very durable, but they made up for it with speed.

The first couple were caught off gaurd by the swift counter attack of the warriors, but the surprise quickly changed to alarm and they rose up against the 'invaders' with stunning lethality. The mage, Leanne, was ripped to pieces by the claws of several of them, while Theo and Donovan fought to secure the flank. Theo was not very useful, but his senses had developed well after the loss of his eyes. He found no trouble fighting in the darkness, indeed it was to his advantage now. While the hawk may have lost his eyes, his talons still rang true, arrows felling almost a half dozen of the pig demons before he succumed to the onslaught.

"Damn it! Regroup, Laramie, Neal, Carmine, we need to stay together!" Donovan was cutting a swath through the demons when an eerie green glow enveloped the room.

'Who dares? Do you not know the realm of Serpentarius is sacred?" A disembodied voice cried from the shadows. A hulking being emerged and with it's approach the demons fell to their knees, honoring their sovereign.

The voice seemed familiar to Donovan and Neal tapped the knight suddenly.

"The mage." He hissed, and all at once Donovan understood.

"Brace yourselves...this is what we have been after all this time." He raised Testament high and uttered the cry of his forefathers. " Celesta, bearer of the forgotten light! Face me demon and face your damnation!"
*********************************************************

Okay, I know, it is a bit trite but it is 3 am so bear with me huh? It will all come together soon, I promise!

This post has been edited by Nytecrawla on 16th July 2006 07:15

--------------------
This is a webcomic and gaming blog where I rant about nonsense. Enjoy.

I was a soldier, now I just play one in video games.
Post #124502
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Posted: 29th January 2010 11:43

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Red Wing Pilot
Posts: 487

Joined: 30/3/2006

Awards:
Member of more than ten years. User has rated 75 fanarts in the CoN galleries. User has rated 25 fanarts in the CoN galleries. Member of more than five years. 
Winner of the 2006 Incognito Contest contest. 
Forgot about this little gem I was working on. Tell ya what CoN, give me a couple of days and I will have some more for you, if anyone cares.

--------------------
This is a webcomic and gaming blog where I rant about nonsense. Enjoy.

I was a soldier, now I just play one in video games.
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