Chapter III - "Drunken With The Blood Of Saints"
"And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all
who have been slain on the earth."
- Revelation 18:24
"Come as you are, as you were,
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend, as an old enemy
Take your time, hurry up
The choice is yours, don't be late
Take a rest as a friend as an old memoria
Come dowsed in mud, soaked in bleach
As I want you to be
As a trend, as a friend, as an old memoria
And I swear that I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun
Memoria, Memoria, Memoria"
It possibly could have been considered Hell.
This place here was the deepest and darkest possible corner of the Farplane. A place far removed from the everlasting vision of paradise where the pyreflies congregated in unending rapture as their living relatives looked on. Far away from beautiful flower fields and crystalline waterfalls was a place where the pyreflies continual song fell silent. A place so dark and empty even their brilliant light dimmed to a dull grey. No souls would ever abscond the fields of paradise, leave them far behind and choose to come to this dark realm.
None, except for this one who chose to.
Somewhere in perdition, the pyreflies gathered.
Not all of Yuna's story happened when I was around her. Her
tale is an ostentatious one, with many characters and many events, not all of
which occurred with Yuna, myself, or even either of us present. But they are
all necessary for you to hear, in order to fully understand Yuna, and why she
did the things she did.
Those who were witness at the time told these events to me months, and in some cases even years later. The telling of Yuna's story has many voices.
He scratched his forehead and sighed, then returned to looking
at the sky. The sun hung bright and burning over the trees of the Moonflow forests,
and over the Guado city of Guadosalam.
The trees could feel the beginnings of the drought setting in. And the Guado, who were more plant than animal in nature could certainly feel it. But rain would come eventually. The drought would break. All things must pass.
All things must pass he thought to himself. To become the shining star that lights the way for all the peoples of Spira was the promise fate made to Lord Seymour. Why did something as good as that have to pass? He turned and walked back inside, and started to reflect, wondering on just where it had all gone wrong. His name was Tromell Guado, and he had been servant to the longest line of Guado families that had governed the Guado tribe for generations. A family that was now extinct.
And with it, Tromell's purpose in life.
Such a thing is despair, the brother of hate. Much like the
counterpart of love, despair too grows in the heart, gnawing away at the essence
of a person. A spiritual cancer that if untreated, autocannibalises the soul,
devouring a personality until nothing remains but a dead void.
In these days of the Eternal Calm, a soul in enough despair to seek the release of it's own destruction would be a rare, if not impossible find. When Sin ravaged the world, there was no shortage of those willing to take their own lives, rather than live with the suffering Sin inflicted in them. In a world where life after death was not a belief but a guarantee, there were many in pain who would easily choose the Farplane over Spira given the opportunity.
But not now, not in this world filled with promise. The Summoner Yuna had turned the key and unlocked the potential for people throughout the world to live in happiness for the rest of their lives. In this world, a soul ridden with despair was a nigh on impossible find.
Except for this one. This one was perfect. It was observed and studied, and found to be ideal.
The pyreflies gathered.
And on the streets of Bevelle, a woman begged.
Not for food or for money, but for faith. Much like Yuna, Shelinda had also seen the temples deserted as people's faith wavered like an old plant under the hot sun.
When Yevon was in it's death throes, she had been promoted to captain of the guard, a task she was wholly unsuited to. She was later given a new job, under Isaaru's reforms. But there were days when even the looming temple in Bevelle was empty of all but her and the sound of her prayers. Other people had become disillusioned, and turned away, but her own faith remained unbroken, as had her faith in people. She believed in people, and that when push came to shove, they would eventually do the right thing. Her faith would soon be put to the test, but not today.
Today Shelinda was trying to hand out flyers with passages from Yevon's teachings to passers-by, but was being largely ignored. Sometimes people would take one, glance at it, disinterested, and then throw it away. Some took a flyer just to be polite. The few who genuinely cared, were very few indeed.
"God hasn't turned away from people." she pleaded, handing out a flyer to a woman who just waved her hand away and carried on her business. "Even when people don't believe in God, He believes in people. Yevon's Fourteenth Teaching states that it is not those who believe in Him that are worthy of Him, but that He is worthy of those that believe. please"
Her pleas fell on deaf ears. It was foolish of her to try to read people the words of a false saviour. Yu Yevon had been falsely hailed for a millennium as a prophet, a messiah and the path to salvation. He had been praised, when in truth no one man in history throughout the many worlds across the universe had been the direct cause of so much suffering and death to millions of people for a span of ten centuries. His teachings weren't even his, but ghostwritten in his name. Forgery had been accepted as apocrypha and spread to all the people of Spira.
Shelinda, however, chose to look at it from a different perspective. What did it matter who wrote them and why? The words had given solace to people for centuries. No matter who wrote them, they were still important to helping people in their lives.
She sighed and wiped her brow, removing her habit from her head and letting her bright brown hair drift free. Looking up into the cloudless sky, and silently wondering if she should just go home and get out of the heat.
Loud, heavy footsteps jarred her from her thinking. She turned, and saw a Ronso walking along the path. A Ronso that wasn't a Blitzball player was a rare sight to see outside Mount Gagazet. She had never been there, but the mountains made Shelinda think of cold and ice, and it suddenly sounded like a nice place to be.
The Ronso's large shadow fell over her as he passed, and Shelinda realized she recognised him. "You're Lady Yuna's Guardian, are you not?" she asked him, with his back turned to her. He stopped pacing, then turned and looked over his shoulder at her. "I'm sorry, I don't know your name." she said. "Have you come to pray at the temple?"
Kimahri turned his head back away from her, shook his head and continued to walk away. He heard her sigh in sadness, in her belief that she had offended him. In truth, she hadn't.
He just had nothing to say.
His broken arm hurt again, and for a moment, he wondered if it was healing right. Kimahri was right-handed, but even with his left hand he was still strong enough to kill a fiend, skin it and make a sling. Even with his battle ability reduced by half, he was still twice as strong as even the strongest member of any other non-Ronso race.
He couldn't go back to Gagazet, because of what had happened to him there...
That he didn't like to think about. So he had come here, looking to book passage on a ship heading for Besaid, so that he may see Yuna again. She would ask about his arm, and his other injuries. He would have no choice but to tell her what had happened to him when he had returned home. Knowing Yuna, she would then try to intervene, but he would ask her not to, for his sake. He was not returning to ask her for help. He just wanted to be by her side again, in the only place he belonged.
Kimahri heard Shelinda resume pleading with passers-by, then stopped and shook his head again. Yuna would never have acted like that in Shelinda's place. When something needed to be said, she knew how to stop and make people listen. Kimahri turned around, walked back to Shelinda and stood in front of her.
"Y-yes?" she asked, surprised, then couldn't help but stare at him. A broken arm, and fresh scars. This Ronso had been in a bloody fight, and not very long ago, either. He reached out and took her flyers from her, then stood beside her and began silently handing them out, thrusting them in front of people, who were startled, but quickly took the paper from him. After all, a Ronso twice the size of man is a lot harder to ignore than a short, soft-spoken and timid woman.
"Let me get this right." said Isaaru. "You
want to buy our ships from us?"
O'aka the XXIII and his brother Wantz stood before the Grand Maester of Yevon and nodded. "It's the spirit of the Eternal Calm, free enterprise!" Wantz exclaimed.
Isaaru looked at his brother, Maroda, who shrugged. "Hey, don't look at me." he said. "You're the Maester around here."
This was the Headquarters of Yevon, in the Palace of St. Bevelle, a tower in the centre of the city that dominated the skyline. As Grand Maester of Yevon, former Summoner Isaaru sat on the throne that had belonged to Mika for half a century. But Isaaru was a humble young man by nature, and a throne was a grandiose and pretentious thing. All things were equal in the eyes of faith, and so a throne was just wrong. A throne over the humble followers... it wasn't right. Sitting in it made him feel awkward. He was genuinely starting to think about doing away with it, when the brothers O'aka and Wantz had scheduled an appointment with the Maester to discuss the purchase of buying out the Yevon-funded ferries.
"With Sin no longer in the seas, travel by boat's become increasingly popular." Wantz pointed out. "So me and me brother, we saw the potential and decided to go for it!"
"He means I saw it first and asked what 'e thought, your lordship." O'aka corrected.
"Ships aren't cheap, you know?" said Isaaru.
"Quite right." replied O'aka. "But I'm willing to spend every bit 'o Gil I've saved by trying to fund the O'aka merchant empire on the O'aka XXIII Sea Trading Company!"
"I thought we were going to call it O'aka & Wantz Traveller Ferries?" his brother asked.
O'aka looked at his brother, then at Isaaru. "The title is still being decided, your Maestership, but we do 'ave the funds. Ships cost a lot to run, but as my mother said to me on her deathbed, she said you gots to spend money tae make money, she said."
"She did not." said Wantz, rolling his eyes.
"She did too and all!" snapped O'aka. "Anyways, like I said, they cost a lot tae run, and the church probably has a lot more tae be concerned about than a few boats, eh? Let the brothers O'aka take the matter, and the burden off your hands, so Yevon still has the Gil to spend on"
"You can say it." said Isaaru. "Keeping the temples open. I know, we've been in a bit of financial trouble lately. And if we can't take solutions to our problems when we see them, then things will never get better. Tell you what, I'll have someone draw up a contract. Come back later on, and if you like what you see, we'll both sign, how's that?"
"Excellent!" said Wantz with a grin.
"Lovely!" O'aka cheered, raising both fists and squeezing them in victory, then turned to his brother. "Didn' I tell ye? What did I tell ye? I said that this time next year we'll be Gillionaires."
"You say that all the time." said Wantz. "Come on, let's go get something to eat."
Isaaru watched them go. "You know" he said. "If anyone was going to start buying things off the temples, I would have expected it to be that Rin guy."
"The Al Bhed aren't very interested in getting the money to rebuild Home these days." Maroda explained. "Now that they're no longer 'heathens' they don't feel they need a refuge from persecution, and they can integrate into Spira just as well as everybody else."
Isaaru eyed his brother, who he'd never known to be a fan of using big words. "And just who told you that?" he asked with a grin.
Maroda flashed a knowing smirk. "A very cool and attractive green-eyed girl I met in a café last week. We actually first met her in Home, before it was attacked. Though you probably don't remember her."
"One day the Al Bhed are kidnapping us in an attempt to stop the pilgrimages, and the next you're trying to date one." Isaaru observed. "Between that and people buying our property, if big changes come in threes, I can't help but wonder how big the next thing is going to be"
Tromell left his home, and began his walk toward the Farplane
road. He was going to go see Maester Seymour again. The first time he had seen
his Master there was not long after the beginning of the Calm. He had been deeply
humbled by the fact that Lady Yuna had defeated Sin in spite of Yevon and the
Guado, and not with their help, as what should have been.
He was also told that two of her Guardians had died in the final battle. He felt He felt what? Jealously? No, not quite that. Just a odd sense that even to fall in such a battle was a strange honor, and those that fell should be hailed by Yevon, instead of hunted as they were. So he had gone to pay his respects. Sir Auron appeared when Tromell thought of him, and he sorrowfully offered his apologies to the man who many thought of as the greatest Guardian who ever was. The other Guardian, however, Tromell did not know well enough to even think of. He didn't even know his name
Tromell's thoughts had strayed that day, and when thought of Seymour, Seymour appeared. So it was true. Lady Yuna had Sent him. Seymour's downfall had broken Tromell's heart. Tromell had served Seymour's family for most of his decades, and the last member of that family had turned away from a life of promise and embraced madness.
Tromell loved Seymour. No, not in that way. He had loved him as a leader, and truly believed that he was the key to Spira's future. He was like a son to Tromell, or at least a nephew. Tromell had no children of his own, alas, a foolish choice. He had opted for a life of servitude to one family, instead of starting his own, as he really could have. Now the family he had served was no more, and he was too old for one of his own.
He wandered up the Farplane road, not even replying to the greeting the guard had given him. He hadn't even heard the man, he was so lost in his own thoughts. His eyes didn't look up from the path, he just continued to walk, oblivious to the world around him.
All the wrong choices he had made. All the mistakes. It all kept coming into his mind, over-riding any other thought he tried to think. His thoughts were locked in a permanent cycle of self-pity.
When he entered the Farplane, he didn't even bother to look around. He had seen this beautiful spectacle so often in his life it had become a dull and routine experience. There were only so many times he could be spellbound by this window on Heaven. As usual, there were no other visitors to the Farplane today. No outsiders really bothered to come to Guadosalam anymore. People were too busy enjoying the Calm to come visit their deceased relatives. Maybe in time the visits would start up again, but for now people were too busy enjoying life to spend their time with death.
He appeared, no motion save for the blinking of his blue
eyes. No words to reply to Tromell's. Nevermore would that soothful voice ever
be heard in Spira. It was just an image of Seymour floating before him, and
for a second Tromell wondered if there was something to what the Al Bhed always
believed. Maybe the people who appeared really were just a reflection of what
was in people's hearts. It didn't seem likely that the dead would have nothing
to say about the affairs of the living.
But he dismissed this heretic thought just as quickly. Tromell was an old man, set in his ways. The Al Bhed had been blasphemers for centuries before Tromell had even sprouted, and it was only in the last few months that anything had "officially" changed. The world had changed, but it was too late for him. He was one of the last Guado of his kind.
"Lord Seymour, forgive me." he moaned. "If I had only taken action, saved you from falling into insanity"
It just wasn't fair. Lord Seymour had been a good man. He was just corrupted. He was only a mortal man. If Tromell had helped, he could have helped change Seymour's path in life. Or at least, so he believed.
He then began the futile wish that all who have lost someone inevitably wish for. The second chance. Everybody wants it, some even pray for it. But death is death, and it's a wish never granted. But that doesn't stop people.
"If only there was something I could do" he said mournfully, before turning and walking away. The image of Seymour faded into nothingness behind him. "To make amends for my failings with you."
Behind him came a soft wailing, the song of the pyreflies. They drew together almost instantly, and Tromell heard the impossible. For the first time, someone on the Farplane spoke.
"Oh, but there is." came an elegant woman's voice.
Tromell almost jumped with fright, then turned and stared wide-eyed at the figure before him. Her lips curved into an eloquent smile.
An hour later, he was sitting in his home, thinking about
her proposal. Almost an offer he couldn't refuse. His hands were trembling,
and he was silently wondering if this was really happening.
A chance to give his life meaning! A chance to set right all the things that had gone wrong! It all seemed to be too good to be true, and for a moment he wondered if someone was playing a trick on him. But then, who would have known how he was feeling lately? Only the dead could hear the thoughts of the living. Of course, some of the other Guado had noticed he was very withdrawn lately. Pretty soon some of them were going to shake their heads, lost in shock and wonder if they could have changed anything if they had just tried to talk with him.
The offer was too good to turn down. The Guado had been the protectors of the Farplane since the dawn of time, according to their history. There was nothing that history had recorded matching anything like this before. No-one who had ever appeared on the Farplane had ever spoken before. In fact, the more he thought about it, the more Tromell was surprised. He hadn't even been thinking about her. He'd certainly never even met her before.
Trembling, he had asked her who she was, and when she gave him her name, he fell to his knees before her, and averted his eyes in an act of utter zeal. Then she had proclaimed him as worthy (Himself! Tromell Guado!) and told him of her proposal, and what one little thing he had to do to help change the world.
And the more he sat there, his head resting his folded arms that lay on the desk in front of him, the more he thought about it. And he couldn't remember an exact moment when he concluded that he would do it, but that he was thinking about not about if he did it, but what was going to happen to the world when it was done. His mind finally made up, he decided Spira's coming Golden Age was something far too great and glorious to be delayed by one mere mortal Guado.
Tromell got up to leave, almost feeling ashamed with himself for postponing history with his own insignificant and trivial thoughts, but he was feeling far too good to be weighed down by self-pity anymore. He felt elated, like a great weight was lifted from his shoulders. Truly, it was a sign that there really was order in the universe. He had wished for meaning in his life, and that very day it had come to him.
He was feeling so exited, he almost walked out the door without a weapon. He paused, and honestly laughed at himself, a brief chuckle at his ignorant eagerness. He had almost rushed straight for the Farplane, told the Holy Messenger of his acceptance, and stood there embarrassed with empty hands.
He scanned the room, and his eyes fell on a sabre, resting over a portrait of Lord Jyscal that Tromell himself had painted. The sabre was a gift from Lord Jyscal, and Tromell had been almost too humble to take it, but he had accepted at his Lord's insistence.
He reached up with long, taloned Guado fingers and took it down, unsheathing it and staring at the blade, lost in its beauty, and his reflection in the blade. It was made of a weak but stunning metal, and encrusted with jewels and intricate designs. Completely useless in battle, but as a gift, especially one from the former leader of the Guado, it was priceless. Absolutely perfect.
He sheathed the blade, and looked around the room one more time. Eventually, other Guado would come, asking why, so he decided to leave something for them. Rummaging through his desk, he found a blank sphere, switched it on and set it to record.
When they inevitably came looking for answers, they would find one. They would just never be sure what to make of it.
Tromell looked into the sphere, trying to imagine to face of any future person watching it, and felt a thrill. He realized it was because he wasn't saying it for any one person. He was going to address the ages. He was speaking to history itself.
"I know what I am undertaking, utopia has a cost, and I hope this will be the price for utopia." he proclaimed, then switched the sphere off.
He left the house feeling surprisingly good, the most upbeat he had felt since since he wasn't sure. Well, he had been pretty excited when Lady Yuna had agreed to marry Lord Seymour, but this was different. It was like a personal private Calm, the Summoner of this deed banishing the Sin of his remorse.
Some of the other Guado greeted him along the way, and he greeted them cheerfully in return. Nobody could possibly have suspected what he was about to do, which would make the inevitable discovery even more baffling.
He practically ran all the way to the Farplane, but when he got there, he paused for a second in shock. She was gone. For a terrifying second, he wondered what had happened, and that maybe he should call this off and never speak of it to anyone as long as he lived.
But quickly, he was relieved to see the pyreflies gather again, and take the magnificent form of a beautiful and venerated woman. He smiled at her, and she returned his gaze, not quite smiling, but certainly at least offering a friendly face. If Tromell had more time to concentrate on her expression, he would have identified it as calculating.
"I've considered your offer." he said in his voice, beaming with pride.
"And you accept this." she said. It wasn't even a question.
"Absolutely." replied Tromell with a smile. There was a strange mania, dancing in his eyes. The words he was saying and the deed he was about to do were running away from him, to the point that his rational thought was now just background noise, lost in the romanticism of it all.
"You are truly worthy." said the woman. "I promise you this will change the world forever, and because you are the one who made it possible, your name will be honored for centuries."
"It is more than a humble Guado such as myself could wish for." he said, drawing the sabre.
"Anything more you wish to say?"
Tromell smiled. "Only that what I do now, I do of my own free will, and for Spira." And with that, he raised the sabre, and instantly thrust it deep into his heart, impaling himself on Jyscal's gift. The blade pierced his heart, cut through his spine and thrust out his back, a bloody and gruesome sight.
Tromell fell to the floor, lifeless before he even hit the ground. He lay sprawled on the ground, already his eyes looking glassy and dead. Even so, that manic smile remained. The only explanation people could come up with later when they found his body, was that Tromell had gone mad, for reasons that would forever be a mystery.
But she had watched him take his life, and even suggested he do it. She, a being of the millennia, knew people, and knew how they would react when they learned the truth. Tromell's name would be spat at, and lost to the ages as anything other than an insult.
And since Tromell had already embraced his death while still alive, there was no need for a Sending. His soul quickly departed the already cold body, and joined the others on the Farplane, while her pyreflies seized the opportunity in this momentary imbalance to finally break free, and once again return to Spira.
That had been her offer to Tromell. His place in the world to be given up and substituted for another. Of course, Tromell had expected it to be Seymour who would be allowed to return in his place and work to usher in the Golden Age, but now it was far too late for him to do anything about that, wasn't it? Whatever became of his soul now was completely inconsequential. She smiled with malicious amusement and began to walk out of the Farplane and back out into the world once more.
It never failed. Throughout history, it was always the same old story. The greatest bribe, and the easiest corruption was never done with money, or seduction. Too much effort had always been placed on these two, when in fact the most effective means of manipulating people was surprisingly the easiest.
Just tell people what they want to hear, and they will do anything.
Leaving the Farplane behind, she began to walk down the stone path, her bare feet barely even sensing the cold stone. Of course, she was still an Unsent. It was beyond even her powers to truly bring someone back to life (How foolishly Tromell had easily accepted this belief was indicative of how pathetic the man truly was), but it was now safe to say that with Sin gone, she was now the most powerful being in all of Spira.
Ah yes, in Spira once more. And so much to do.
Her sinister laughter echoed down the road.
In the blistering heat of Spira's drought, a cold wind gusted from Guadosalam.
Yevon's ships had just been sold to O'aka's company. O'aka
had invited the Maester into the city to share a drink in celebration, but Isaaru
had refused. Like most Summoners, he was an ascetic, and didn't drink alcohol,
but that wasn't the reason.
He stood on the great balcony overlooking the city of Bevelle, and felt the weight of responsibility pressing on him. It was a fact, Yevon no longer controlled Spira. Which made some sense. Yevon was a religion founded to be the people's hope against Sin, and now that it was gone, Yevon had become a dinosaur religion, living beyond its time.
But it had still some power, and while Isaaru didn't really believe the church had any function anymore, he was still its leader and could use his power to make a difference.
He leaned forward, pressing his hands against the concrete wall and stared down at the city, able to make out the individual people going about their lives. Isaaru smiled in determination. He was their leader, they were looking to him for guidance, and he would not let them down.
Isaaru was unique as a leader, in that he actually cared about Bevelle's people. He had been a Summoner. Caring about people was the reason why some people became Summoners in the first place. He had been one of the people, after all, it was only circumstance that had given him this position. But where others saw circumstance, Isaaru saw providence. Any other leader would have tried to hold Yevon together and keep it's power wielded over the people. Isaaru refused to be worshipped as a false idol like Mika had. Isaaru saw a different path, and wanted the church to serve the people instead. When he had noticed the drought setting in, he had ordered all of Bevelle's famous majestic waterways and fountains turned off, and the water conserved. Foolish waste was the first thing to go from the religion.
The second was any notion of profit. The more he thought about it, the more Isaaru found himself disgusted with the church's wealth. Kilika was a good example. Yevon was so rich it could have afforded to rebuild Kilika five times over, but what had it done? Given Kilika it's blessings. Blessings are nice, but people were suffering, and while the church could easily have helped, it sat back and rested comfortably in wealth.
"Never again." Isaaru vowed. He looked over towards the mountains. The sun would be starting to go down soon. Finally, some cool night air after the heat of the day.
But the cold air came sooner than he thought. Isaaru first felt it as coolness on his face, which soon picked up and became a full-on gust. He gasped loudly in surprise and shifted his weight forward, leaning into the incredibly strong blasting wind that dragged his robes behind him and undid his topknot.
Pyreflies rushed past him, even through him, and he turned around trying to see, but his thick brown hair whipped around in front of his face, annoyingly hindering his vision. He pulled his hair from his eyes just in time to see the pyreflies vanish inside the temple, and the wind stopped.
Suspicious and somewhat alarmed, Isaaru quickly jogged back into the temple.
It only took him a matter of minutes to get down the long
flights of stairs, but already Isaaru could hear
Nobo Me No
Ren Mi Ri
Hase Teka Nae
The Hymn Of The Fayth?! Echoing up through the temple it came, the sound of many voices joined in prayer. The Hymn had not been heard since the Fayth disappeared, which meant people, probably the temple monks and nuns, were singing it. But why? Did it have something to do with that strange wind just now?
Isaaru quickened his pace, running down the steps two at a time. He ran to the room where Mika's throne had once been, and found his brother Maroda arriving at the same time.
"What's going on?" Maroda asked. "Why are you making them sing?"
"It's not me, I just got here." Isaaru replied.
The two brothers turned their heads, and began to walk cautiously toward the Holy throne. When they entered the room, it wasn't a sight either of them were prepared to see.
Monks and nuns were everywhere, almost carpeting the entire massive floor. Some of them were bowed forward, their hands flat on the ground and pointed at the throne. Others were arching their backs and endlessly repeating the motion of the Yevon prayer with their arms. All of them were on their knees before the woman on the throne. All of them were chanting the Hymn Of The Fayth.
"What's going on?" Isaaru asked loudly over the many voices, but nobody replied. Then he looked at the woman before them all. She was almost naked, dressed only in ribbons and strips of material. She had lots of jewellery, beads and trinkets that would make soft noises whenever she moved. She had no shoes, and her skin was beautifully pale. Her entire body seemed flawless, almost divine. Her hair was a striking bright silver, and the strands spread out in many directions, making her appear bigger than she actually was. The ribbons hanging from her waist were marked in Yevon symbols that Isaaru easily recognised as "Yevon" and "Darkness". When she turned her head and notice he and Maroda were the only ones not kneeling, Isaaru could see her eyes were a strange color, like white gold.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"You should recognise me, young Maester." she replied in a soft, charisma-laden voice. "You've served me all your life."
She was right. Isaaru did recognise her, but from where? He'd certainly never seen her before, but he did know her image, because he'd seen it depicted many times before
All over Spira.
He looked up, at the two statues that clung to the arching dome of this immense room. The two founders of Yevon. Lord Zaon, on one side, dazzling in bright gold armor. And on the other side, his wife. The woman on the throne.
"Lady Yunalesca." Maroda gasped, and she smiled at him and nodded.
"That can't be." said Isaaru, shaking his head as his gaze fell to the floor, then back up at Yunalesca. "You've been dead. For a thousand years."
"Died certainly, but dead is a little extreme." she replied.
For the first time, some of the monks and nuns looked up from their worship, but not towards Yunalesca. They stared at Isaaru, who didn't notice how many eyes were upon him. He didn't see it because he was staring at Yunalesca, but Maroda did. He saw their gaze say it all. They were looking at Isaaru the same way some people looked at Maroda's Al Bhed girlfriend.
The Maester is a disbeliever.
"Brother, this is kichiga." Maroda muttered, but Isaaru's attention was elsewhere.
"Why are you here?" Isaaru demanded.
Yunalesca stood up, and the suddenly the air seemed to grow denser. She stretched out her arms, and her feet lifted from the ground, until she was floating over them.
"I have returned to my flock, as prophesized in my father's teachings."
Absolutely crazy! Maroda thought. His head darted left and right, looking at the followers who stared up with Yunalesca in awe. Yu Yevon's teachings were false, how could they possibly believe her?
"What prophecy?" Isaaru challenged.
"Do not question the Saviouress!" hissed a voice close to him. One of the nuns.
"I only wish to know, what prophecy?!"
Someone, a male voice at the back of the room recited it without pause. "When mankind has attained purity and atoned for our misdeeds, Sin will be vanquished-"
"Sin was defeated by an excommunicated Summoner with the help of machina and the Al Bhed!" snarled Maroda. "Surely you can't believe that's in line with any of Yu Yevon's 'teachings'!"
The speaker refused to be interrupted, only raising his voice louder over Maroda's. "Sin will be vanquished, and a Great Trial shall begin for Suffering Race, but the Saviouress, with the name of Night will come and fulfil her destiny, leading her people to salvation and bringing forth Spira's true Golden Age."
"I have returned, as promised!" Yunalesca proclaimed, and floated higher up, and through the ceiling, heading for the temple roof. There was a stampede as the many monks and nuns rose to their feet to follow their Saviouress to the roof. In seconds, Maroda and Isaaru were left standing alone.
"Brother, tell me you don't believe this." Maroda pleaded. "Tell me."
Isaaru turned and looked at his brother. "There was a prophecy." he said. "But it was only one line, buried in the texts of the teachings. But nobody ever truly believed it fit their time, so it was mostly forgotten."
"Just tell me you don't believe this." continued Maroda. "I know faith is important to you, but you've never been the type for blind fanaticism."
"You know me, Maroda." Isaaru sighed. "You know I believe if God gives you a brain He expects you to use it. You're right, Sin was beaten by completely un-Yevonly means. I'm the one who had to pardon Lady Yuna, after Sin's defeat. Yu Yevon's teachings were ghostwritten, and now just because somebody comes along and acts one out, all of a sudden they're true? No, I don't like this, brother. I don't like this one bit."
Suddenly, there came a loud noise, as if something from some great trumpet. A great horn was blowing somewhere, and the tune it played was the Hymn Of The Fayth.
"Now what?" Maroda muttered, but Isaaru was already running, heading back up the steps to the roof of the temple, to find out just what was going on.
The people all over Bevelle heard the trumpeting too, and
they all stopped whatever business they were going about and stared up at the
temple, wondering what all the noise was. There was a figure floating just over
the temple, but it was hard to make out.
Something was happening. Something big.
Maroda and Isaaru reached the top of the stairs and ran out
onto the Great Balcony. They couldn't move to get closer to Yunalesca, because
of the amount of followers in their way. They tried in futile to move past,
but just gave up and stood there, waiting for developments.
Closer to Yunalesca, a trembling monk was holding a device that broadcasted video spheres, similar to the system used in Luca to transmit Blitzball games. The images of Yunalesca he recorded were being broadcasted all over Bevelle, as was his voice that trembling in wonder.
"People of Bevelle, what you are seeing is no illusion!" he gasped. "Lady Yunalesca has returned to us, to fulfill her prophesized Second Coming! The Golden Age of Spira is about to begin!"
O'aka and Wantz were sitting in a pub when suddenly some
woman had rushed in from the street, screaming at the bartender to turn on the
sphere monitor. It clicked to life, and the watery image that filled the screen
made everyone stand up and take notice.
The two brothers could hear the voices throughout the pub gasping "Lady Yunalesca!"
They dropped their drinks and without a word, quickly ran outside. Their sister had been a Summoner, a devotion to Yevon ran in the family. But at the same time, Yevon had cost them both a sister. It was easy for the church to proclaim her a martyr, and honored, but the church wasn't the bereaved one. Plus, O'aka had done time for dealing with Lady Yuna. Not something easily forgotten.
So both of them had first-hand experience of Yevon hypocrisy. Which is why they were somewhat dismayed when they saw the sudden reverence for Yunalesca was sweeping through the entire city.
"I tell ye something, me lad." O'aka muttered to his brother, under the gasping of the awe-struck crowds. "This don't feel right, not one bit."
"How do we know this isn't just some Yevon trick to hang on to control of the people?" asked Wantz, suspicious.
They weren't the only ones distrustful of this proclaimed
"Second Coming". Shelinda heard a low growl echo up from somewhere
deep in Kimahri's throat. The Ronso dropped the flyers he'd been handing out
and clenched the fist of his healthy arm.
If he still had his spear, he would have hurled it all the way towards the palace like a javelin.
"What is it?" Shelinda asked him, but Kimahri didn't reply. He was remembering possibly the toughest battle that had been fought on Yuna's pilgrimage, with the exception of the final battle with Sin. Yunalesca had turned into a Medusa before their very eyes when they had chosen not to do what she expected of them. And ten years ago, when Kimahri met Auron for the first time, the Samurai had been broken, battered and dying. It was Yunalesca that done it to him, because Auron had been following the second part of the Bushido code - the right of vengeance. As a fellow warrior, Kimahri was disgusted that Yunalesca had robbed Auron of his right to restore Jecht and Braska's honor.
But Yuna had sent her. How was it that Yunalesca had been able to return from the Farplane? And what if Yunalesca was not the only one?
"Bevelle no longer safe." Kimahri replied eventually, then looked at Shelinda. A look of utter confusion was etched on her face. Then she turned. Around her, several people were falling to their knees. It made no sense. She'd been handing out flyers all day under the hot sun, and almost everybody had ignored her. But then all it took was a single great vision, and people were instantly on their knees.
This wasn't right. People were supposed to think about their faith and decide for themselves, and not suddenly fall to their feet and worship the first spectacle they see. Shelinda felt somewhat rejected, that her faith had persevered the drought while others had become practical atheists until the moment they say Yunalesca floating over the city. And she'd gained legions of followers almost instantly.
The Hymn Of The Fayth echoed throughout the city and, high above it, Lady Yunalesca reached out her hands and waved them in the Yevon prayer.
While Yunalesca's appearance restored the faith of many who had lost theirs, there were some, like Isaaru, who had their suspicions. And few, like Kimahri, who knew the truth.
That Yunalesca was the architect of the Spiral of Death. She was Yuna's nemesis, and a shadow from Spira's past. When eventually the truth of the Farplane and how she had returned was revealed, it was a horror far too dark for any nightmare to compare to.
This was no Second Coming, and Yunalesca was no Saviouress. She was an Unsent demon in disguise, come back to damn us all.
"Come As You Are" written and performed by Nirvana, Copyright Geffen records