(I wish but) I do not own Capcom, Breath of Fire or its characters. But for the most part the characters in this story and world are my own creation.

Chapter 21: The Ties that Bond (1)

"Well child? What is it that you see?" the rich speech of a woman dressed in finely woven golden dress inquired suddenly as she looked on at the young blond girl standing before her.

"I see shoes moving along a dusty path and I can smell salt in the air. They are near the sea, Mother Jebel..." She whispered hoarsely as small beads of sweat rolled down her face as she continued to concentrate.

The woman in the golden toga turned to the young woman sharply "Look harder, Maya! Try to see their faces! You must show them to us! You must tell us more about them!"

With her hands outstretched upon a cool slab of marble with plain carved religious icons, Maya once again focused all of her concentration on the group. She could just make out their fuzzy voices.

"...Boats. I hear something about boats, Mother Jebel. But I can't see anything more." She offered weakly finally collapsed to her knees from the strain of the mind connect. Withdrawing from the mouse's mind, she took a deep breath. It was much harder to connect with the minds of the beast of the wild fields than with those of other people, yet it had to be done.

Walking briskly to the crestfallen girl, Mother Jebel loomed over her "You must try harder, child. We need to know where the beast is in order to destroy the filthy abomination. I admire your dedication but it's simply not enough, my dear." She gently scolded as she bent down to pick her up. (2) "Now go and pray to the goddess and ask her for strength during your trials."

Maya nodded her head in response as she turned and slowly left Mother Jebel in the Room of Relics. Following her heels, the middle-aged woman locked the door and untied her neatly braided coiled hair, symbolizing that religious practices were over and she was now ready to be approached by the unsaved.

"I see what you mean." A hard voice reverberated within the room "And you think she is the one of the legends also?"

Mother Jebel walked over to a huge bookshelf lined with well-used scrolls, leaflets and other paper material. Within the chaos sat a rolled up green lined cloth. Unrolling it revealed one particularly worn parchment. With the paper resting gently within her hands, Jebel made her way over to the marble slab and placed the delicate relic upon it.

(3) "This is one of the oldest scrolls telling of the history the goddess of Eva, the earth mother, Gi." She began pointing to the ripped end of parchment. "It was written in old tongue, most of it lost in translation into modern language. Notice the difference in writing styles in the text. This show how many different hands wrote this story over the years. It was estimated that over seven languages were used in its writing. "

"So what do this have to do with the matter at hand, my lady?" came the man's rough reply

"The girl you just seen was able to translate all of them in a matter of minutes." Mother Jebel offered solemnly. "All without knowing any of the old languages."

The man stiffened slightly at the remark "She could be making it all up, you know."

Mother Jebel, crossed her arms under her breast taking a defensive stance "That would be highly unlikely, Sir! First of all our daughters are not taught to lie, it is a sin against the goddess.

The man snorted in response "Then I see that you don't realize how many of your daughters are secretly dating my men." The woman face reddened as she continued on angered.

"Secondly, she is able to use magic, something only those of the higher power can do. The Daughters of Eva are seen to be more than regular mortals to the unsaved but she...she is truly different. I believe in my heart she is the one the scrolls mention, Commander Kenneth."

The Commander ran his hand along her salt and pepper hair and gave a sharp sigh.

"Unfortunately my lady, I don't believe in such nonsense. If she is as you say then she must be put to the test." With that he unlocked the heavy door and went his way. Mother Jebel leaned her hands upon the table, releasing a shaky breath. It was too close for comfort for her to deal with this particular unsaved.

When the signs of the spawn first began to surface, she didn't know what to do at first yet she knew she needed help in a big way. At first Mother Jebel and some of the other mothers went on a pilgrimage across the nation to raise awareness to the unsaved but many of the fallen had ignored their warnings. In desperation, she turned to the leader of one of the greatest army known, Commander Kenneth. He was reluctant to aid them, at first calling their cause "religious nonsense."

Yet, in a strange turn of events, the goddess gave her the answer to her problems when Commander Kenneth sent the message in the form of a one winged angel.

Mother Jebel fondly remembered the time Maya immediately took to the girl and aided her during her short stay at the church grounds. No one else noticed it but she did. Maya had yielded to her destiny and begun her following that day.

Realizing the bargaining chip she held within her hands, Mother Jebel notified the Commander that she had important information concerning his troops, especially one very important prodigal soldier he told her about in confession. She knew the exact location of his son through Maya's mind connections.

Only, she wouldn't tell him where he hid until he helped her finish her mission to kill the Blue beast.

His personal vendetta against his son made for the most awkward of situations in turn making the bargan just right for him. Now as strange bedfellows, they have come together in a turbulent stalemate.

"Sister Jebel." a plump woman dressed in similar garb called out to her as she walked by the doorway "Has any progress been made? What of the Commander?"

Wrapping her hair back into the coil Mother Jebel walked outside of the Room of Relics, linking her arms together with that of her sister "Let's not talk about such things in the open. One never knows who might be listening."

(Elsewhere on the grounds, Within the Chapel of Recovery)

"Earth mother, I don't understand. Why do I have to do this? Why me? Please tell me what to do!" (4)The young woman mulled over with her fingers continuosly folding in different positions. Praying in front of the cool marble statue before her had always calmed her but now it only made her more nervous.

She was earnestly trying to play the role called for her to do, save the earth at all cost. When it all came down to it, it was a simple decision, kill the girl and the child shall follow. Yet her heart was troubled. Why did she want to spare the protector's life, especially since she is protecting the destroyer of the universe?

When she tried to mind connected with her, a stronger force always impaired her vision, sapping her of her strength in the process, as if to warn her to stop. Yet the loss of her energy was never painful or harsh, it was calming, almost loving in a sense. A sickening knot twisted in her gut the more she thought about what she had to do. Why did she have to do this?

"Please give me a sign, Earth Mother! Please tell me what I am doing is in your will!" Maya questioned solemnly. The sculpture continued to glare down at her, no great visions, no all-knowing songs, no mystical replies, and no nothing. Defeated, Maya gave up on her prayer. Bowing gracefully in front of the statue, she asked the earth mother for forgiveness of her disobedience.

'Praying without full concentration or heart is almost as bad as spiting in another person's face,' she repeated the well-drilled lesson thoughtlessly.

Walking past the other young women deep in prayer, Maya made her way outside the cathedral in to the bright sunlight. Lifting her closed eyes to the warm rays of light, a gentle breeze caused her blond hair to swirl around her face. The beauty of nature didn't calm her as she thought it would. Her mind drifted back to her earlier thoughts. Was she able to do it? Could she actually save the world like the Mothers whispered to her?

"How could so many unsaved take these simple pleasures for granted?" she thought sadly "If they just appreciated the plain wonder of life and nature the beast would have never came, I wouldn't have to make all of these choices. I wouldn't have the weight of the world upon my shoulders!"

Sighing, she sat down upon the cathedral white stone steps. She knew the Mothers would call her to mind connect with the protector of the beast again in order to see if she her progress. The Mothers always pushing her to do more, ignoring the toll it took on her body. All the time it took the Mothers to create the ultimate plan for peace, how could she tell them about the uneasiness she was feeling inside? Could she turn her back on the only family she ever known over this nagging feeling of empathy?

"Damn it all!" she swore under her breath, quickly recanting it.

Death of the girl and the beast, it was all the Mothers wanted lately. All the teachings of love all others, put away wicked practices and thoughts, to place your faith in the goddess, where had they gone? She didn't want to be the person they were asking her to be. She wanted to be free to love, desire and hope. She was beginning to feel like a puppet on a string that the Mothers planned, produced, and ultimately directed.

Mother Kaina voice echoed in Maya's brain. "We must stop the Awaking. You are our beacon of hope! You shall be our weapon!"

Mother Beca chimed in hauntingly "You must become the warrior for the goddess!"

The eldest, Mother Jebel's voice came as a soft whisper, "You are important to us, Maya. As a child we once saved you, now you owe the goddess for her blessings! Your wonderful powers will heal the world in her name! You must save your family."

"Why won't they leave me alone? I just want to be left alone," she whispered to herself, grabbing her hair in her hands. Nothing was making sense anymore. She loved her Mothers, they raised her, sheltered her, gave her peace of mind, the love and understanding she needed. But now it seemed they were hell bent on causing nothing but turbulence, all in the name of the goddess and for what, because of some strange powers that suddenly began to develop within her? She had the ability to do things, things people have never witnessed before. Capabilities the unsaved couldn't even contemplate.

Yet, with all this she couldn't understand why she felt so alone. So powerless.

"I could just leave, never come back..." she reasoned within her inner self.

"But they took you in when you where left on these very steps as a baby, how could you leave the only family you know." Came the reply of her soul.

"I don't know what I'm supposed to do! Why doesn't the goddess answer my prayers? Why doesn't she give me guidance?" she cried inwardly

Feeling a light touch upon her shoulder, Maya's head jerked up in surprise. There casting a shadow upon her stood a smiling, slightly heavy young girl. Her hazel eyes shined bright with compassion and worry as they look upon Maya. She was the only girl that wasn't jealous of her new found "fame" of the Mothers. The only one other than the mothers who knew her secret abilities, her best friend, Shana.

"Are you okay, Maya?" she asked softly. Maya nodded, placing her head upon her arms as the tears began to fall. Shana took a close seat to her friend, placing an arm around her.

"You can always leave the sisterhood, Maya. You can live me and my family, if you want." Shana offered honestly.

Maya chuckled slightly as she turned to her friend "Shana, you have six brothers and four younger sisters, where in the world would I sleep?" Shana openly smiled giving a full view of her bucked teeth in the process

"The same place I sleep, standing up in the broom closet!" With that she let out a hearty laugh. Her infectious banter crawled into Maya causing her to laugh out loud. Wiping her tears away, Shana hugged her friend.

"Have faith, Maya. Whatever it is called for you to do, it will be done when the goddess chooses it to be done. I know the Mothers are putting you in the spotlight as of late. Lately, I haven't been feeling too holy around them either, not that I ever felt holy. As a matter of fact, I feel so naughty that I need to cleanse myself in the river with the studs from Alliance soldiers." she added devilishly.

"Shana!" Maya roared with laughter at her friend ratings. She never thought of Shana of as just a "friend", she was too dear to her heart to be labeled with such a simple term.

Shana gave a sideways glance to Maya "What does it feel like? I mean, being in favor with the Mother's? " She questioned shyly.

Maya took a deep breath as she look towards her friend. "It's one big pain. I keep thinking they only like me because I can give them something they need or that they listen to me because they are afraid of what I might do. I wish I never had these powers. I hate feeling that I owe them for being me."

Shana slowly nodded her head to the response "Wow, I never knew you felt that way. I'm sorry that I made you think of it. I hate it when you get sad and depressed and stuff, so lets promise never to talk about your powers ever again, deal?" She offered her hand to shake.

Giving her friend a slight smile and grasping her hand, Maya replied "Sure."

Standing up and stretching, Shana pointed over to the cathedral gardens "Let's go and spy on the Alliance solders bathing. Come on before the Mothers come looking for us!"

The young woman raced off a best as she could, not waiting for her companion to follow along.

Maya turned back towards the cathedral to see the statue of the earth mother and made a vow. She would protect this world, not because of the Mother's teachings, not because of the Earth Mother, not because of the undeserving unsaved that walked this planet. No, she would save the world in honor of her friend, the only person that didn't care what she was. The only person she knew that loved the simplicity of life like she did.

'In order for Shana to live, I must save the world. I will destroy the beast all those in it league.' Maya didn't feel so bad after that though flashed in her mind.

With a slight smile, Maya stood up and walked towards the sweet-scented flower garden to where Shana was busily looking through a crack in the garden wall at the naked men in the river.

Author's notes

(1) PLEASE reread chapter 12! I realized that I had posted the rough draft copy and not the finshed text. This chapter will make more sense if you do.

(2)The plot thickens around the Daughter's of Eva, they will play an serious part in what happens to Maya in the chapter's to come.

(3)Take note that the Mother's have a scroll...details to follow.

(4) I loved Sailor Moon growing up. Fellow "Moonies" know where i got this from. I had to put this in here!