DISCLAIMER: I will say this only once- I do NOT own FFX or its characters. It all belongs to the respected creators. So no stealing, or my rabid turtle will eat your souls.
Author's Notes: This is a Yuna/Tidus centred fic and it takes place in Spira. I will mention other characters from FFX, but it will be focusing mainly on Tidus and Yuna. PG13 just because. The first chapter may be longer than the ones in the future, just because I'm trying to fit so much information into it.
Summary: Tidus, a young Yevonite Warrior, is about to uncover something shocking about a newly celebrated Children of Light ceremony, a secret so deadly that it will put him in mortal danger and turn him into an enemy of the temple. How can he put a stop to the evil that has seeped its way into the Order of Yevon? How can he choose between following orders and staying true to his faith, or saving the beautiful and kind-hearted Yuna, the temple's next target?
Enjoy! Review and let me know what you think.
The drumbeats began; they started off slow and mellow and gradually ascended into a fast-paced passionate rhythm that drowned out every other sound. Stars peered down from the inky black sky as if curious to witness the ceremony taking place below.
Somewhere in the ranks of Yevonite Warriors positioned behind the platform, a young man stood breathlessly in wait as the moment of truth drew nearer. It had been six years since Tidus had last witnessed the Children of Light ceremony back in Zanarkand. Six long years since he stood in the crowds and heard his mother's name called out. Six years since he saw his mother appear on the ceremonial platform to accept her fate as a Child of Light. He remembered the way her blonde hair fell across her shining blue eyes, the look of nervous excitement on her face. Ivory white skin flickering gold in the firelight.
He remembered her eyes landing on him, him alone amidst the multitude of joyous faces, and how she offered him a sad but loving smile. She was reluctant to leave her husband and son, but ecstatic at being chosen to go to the Farplane and live in luxury beyond human imagination. He could see tears in her eyes, but the shine of her teeth in that eager grin had overwhelmed them.
The drumbeat was almost unbearably intense. Tidus licked his lips and felt a drop of sweat snake down between his shoulder blades under his Yevonite Warrior uniform. He itched to brush it away, but he fought the temptation and kept his gaze respectfully ahead. He prayed for a cool ocean breeze to lift up soon, and relieve him of the sweltering tropical heat of Besaid.
"I present to you the Maester of Yevon, Lord Seymour!" a voice shouted out above the drums. Tidus could not see to whom the voice belonged, for his attention flew immediately to the centre of the platform, where a tall gaunt figure stood. He saw a mass of blue tentacle hair and broad sharp shoulders beneath a robe of dark purple. Tidus could not see the Lord Seymour's eyes, but he remembered them from his youth. They were cold and grey, bereft of any gleam of kindness or love.
Lord Seymour raised both his robed arms dramatically, and simultaneously all the drums stopped. He made a ghastly silhouette against the firelight, and the voice emerging from his thin reptilian lips was softly chilling.
"People of Spira, loyal followers of Yevon!" he said theatrically. "Tonight you are to witness the annual Children of Light ceremony, the holiest and most ancient of celebrations in the world. Many of you have seen it before. You have seen the faces of those blessed by the hand of Yevon himself, chosen amongst an entire planet of people to accompany him in his kingdom, the Farplane. Some of you have never seen it before, and to you I say watch carefully. Every ceremony is history in the making, and you are among the most fortunate of all to be here tonight to lay eyes upon it!"
Tidus closed his eyes for a moment took a deep breath. Lord Seymour spoke those very same words to him in the crowd six years ago. Not a single word had been changed.
"I alone hold the power to See for myself what Yevon desires. The gift of the Sight has been bestowed upon me for this occasion and this occasion only. It was revealed to me in a prophetic dream not long ago, and tonight I shall unveil the Child of Light!"
At this, a wave of uproarious cheers erupted from the audience, and Lord Seymour patiently waited for the noise to fade away. He held up his hand regally for silence before continuing.
"My people . . . I give you the chosen one . . . Lady Yuna, daughter of the late High Summoner Braska!"
The noise from the crowd was almost deafening. Feet stomped on the earth, hats were tossed into the night sky, streamers flew through the air, flowers and small gifts were thrown to the platform, and even small children were flung up in the air only to be caught once more by their delighted parents.
A new figure appeared, coming forward from the doors of the temple behind the rows of Yevonite Warriors. Tidus did not bother to stay reserved as he craned his neck to lay eyes on the chosen one.
She beautiful. Not beautiful in the obvious way, although she was pleasant to the eyes, but beautiful with her subtle charms and swan-like grace. Beautiful because of the way her footsteps were silent on the ground, coy like the tread of a wildcat in the night. Beautiful because of the way her bicoloured eyes reflected all the admiring faces staring up at her. She was beautiful because of the gentle sway of her hips, the way her hair gleamed in the firelight, and mostly because of the aura of quiet strength that radiated from her elegant body. She was humbly seductive, so naturally alluring. Tidus had never seen her before, although he had heard her name spoken occasionally during his time on the island. Perhaps she spent all her time in the temple studying the arts of being a priestess, as many village girls often did.
Her father, the late High Summoner Braska, had passed away ten years ago after finally defeating the demon monster Sin for all eternity. It was because of Sin's defeat that the Children of Light ceremony even existed, for it was then that Yevon had made his desire to have his mortal children with him in the Farplane known. Braska was the greatest summoner ever known in Spira, and because of his sacrifice, the world now lived in peace without fear of destruction.
Tidus gaped at her, and all his training on how to be stone-like in exterior seemed to have vanished from memory. As she walked past, he caught a glimpse of her expression and was instantly surprised to see such sadness there.
How could she, the chosen one, the Child of Light, hold such misery in her eyes as she made her way to the platform? He watched her carefully until she came to stand in front of the Yevonite Warriors, her back turned to them. He could tell by the looks on the people's faces in the audience that some were also confused by her despairing appearance. There was no shine of happiness in her eye, no spring in her step.
"Lady Yuna, you have been chosen. The decision is beyond your control, as Yevon himself has commanded it. You must accept your fate as one of His beloved, or face exile and excommunication from the temple. Do you understand?" Lord Seymour asked gravely, taking bother her delicate feminine hands within his own large pale ones. Tidus saw her hesitate, and swallow thickly.
". . . Yes," she said at last, in a very small voice. "I accept my fate, Lord Seymour. I am honoured to be a Child of Light."
Tidus felt a shiver go down his spine. His mother had quoted those exact same words, but her voice had been happy. Lady Yuna's tone was morose and subdued.
"Face your people for the last time, Lady Yuna. Tonight, you go to meet your destiny," Lord Seymour said with a mysterious air, gently turning her around to face the audience once more. "Now, go and prepare for your journey into a new era of life."
He let go of Yuna's hands, and dropped to one knee, bowing his head before her. On cue, the audience did the same thing, and the league of Yevonite Warriors followed suit. Tidus chanced a quick look back at her from his kneeling position, as she stood tall among a crowd of lowered faces. She turned around in a circle to get a look at everyone, and her mismatched eyes fell to Tidus.
He blinked in surprise, and then realized that he was the only one looking at straight at her. Everyone else was bowing before her, their eyes lowered to the ground. She stared at him, and though he tried, he could not bring himself to look away. He offered her a tentative smile, apologetically, and she gave him a trembling one in return, her eyes never leaving his. Something in her expression told Tidus that her smile was not heartfelt, though very pretty. He felt a strange wave of curiosity and puzzlement. What could possibly be troubling this girl? Should she not be the happiest person alive tonight?
It was too late for him to gaze at her any longer, for she suddenly left the platform and made her way back to the temple, where two unseen guards pushed the doors closed behind her.
Only when the sound of the doors being closed was heard did Lord Seymour rise again and bid everyone else to do so.
"The chosen one will never return, my friends," he said, his voice echoing in the silence of the village square. "She has left you forever. Do not grieve for her, nor envy her. Feel only joy and happiness for her fortune, and know that someday you yourself may be the next beloved child of Yevon. Go back to your homes and pray for Lady Yuna's safe journey. Good evening, and Yevon bless you all."
He bowed once to the crowd, and then swiftly left the platform to finish off the private ceremonial business he had to attend to as the Maester of Yevon.
"Yevonite Warriors, fall out!" a harsh voice called out. Tidus and the other warriors instantly relaxed, knowing that their duties were done for the night. Tidus bid his fellow soldiers good night and began to head out of the main village square when his best friend Wakka caught up with him.
"Some ceremony, ya?" the giant Besaidian native chuckled, clapping his big hand on Tidus' broad shoulder. "Good idea to send the Lady Yuna to the Farplane, seein' as how her dad's the one who defeated Sin. Smart move on Lord Seymour's part, eh?"
Wakka was a large specimen of a man. He sported bizarre red hair, bulging muscles, kind russet eyes, and a huge smile that was practically infectious. He had been Tidus' best friend since early childhood, and Tidus had even been forced to live with Wakka and his family after his mother had been chosen and his father disappeared.
"Huh, no kidding. I suppose her looks had nothing to do with it?" Tidus grunted, feeling a stab of resentment towards the Maester. What right did that man have to claim he knew the will of Yevon? What right did he have to take away Tidus' mother, or anyone who meant something to anyone for that matter?
"Oh, shut it, ya great blasphemer. Have a liddle faith, ya?" Wakka teased. Tidus grinned at him and shook his head.
"Did you see the look on her face?" he inquired suddenly. "She didn't look happy at all. What do you think could be wrong with her?"
"I didn't see," Wakka shrugged. "Maybe she was just nervous about bein' up in front of a big crowd."
"Yeah, maybe," Tidus mumbled, unconvinced. He had seen no fear in her eyes, only sadness. It wasn't right . . . he knew something was definitely wrong, but what business was it of his?
Just then, the two young men were interrupted by Lieutenant Gatta, who came panting up to them as if he had been running at top speed.
"General Luzzu wants to see you in his office, Private," he gasped, wheezing in an unprofessional manner. "Now."
Tidus nodded and saluted, and then waved goodbye to Wakka, who stifled a yawn and waved tiredly. The blonde-haired blue-eyed Yevonite Warrior jogged back up to the temple, which was now humming with the prayers of monks preparing to Send the Lady Yuna to the Farplane.
He pushed the doors opened and trotted through the main hall that was crowded with monks and priests praying heatedly, and headed towards a small chamber door to the right of a large statue of Lord Braska.
"You wanted to see me, General?" Tidus asked cautiously from the doorway. General Luzzu was sitting idly behind his large wooden desk, his booted feet propped up on the surface and leaning back precariously in his chair. He bolted upright when Tidus walked in, looking momentarily flustered at the sudden intrusion before regaining his composure.
"Uh, er, yes! Yes, Private, come in. Please," he faltered, after clearing his throat in a business-like fashion. Tidus bowed and walked into the cramped office, and stood to attention in front of the desk.
"I'll be brief, as it is almost time for Lady Yuna's final Sending," Luzzu said curtly. "It is tradition that the chosen one be accompanied by a Yevonite Warrior, as you well know, and I need a man to go to her room to receive her for the ceremony. I'm ordering you for the task, Private, and I know you'll do a bang-up job. Don't disappoint me."
With that, Luzzu kicked back and placed his feet back up on the desk and rested his hands behind his head lazily. It was obviously a dismissal.
Tidus blinked at him for a long time, processing the information in his head. It was a prestigious task, one usually reserved for elderly warriors.
"May I ask why, sir?" he requested cautiously.
The general raised an eyebrow at him. "Lady Yuna requested your presence. That is all, Private. Dismissed."
"Sir, yes sir!" Tidus replied, saluting to his superior. He then spun around on his heal and hurried out the door to the Preparation Room, a chamber that had been built exclusively for this ceremony. It was difficult to repress the slightly pleased look on his face at the news. The lady herself had asked for him? Wait until Wakka heard about this.
The hallway that led to the room was long, dark, narrow, and secluded, for it was shut off from the rest of the temple. Tidus swallowed nervously and began to make his way down the corridor, relying on light from the moon cascading in from the skylight to guide his steps. What would he find in the Preparation Room? What would he say to Lady Yuna when he received her?
Before he even realized it, the door loomed up before him, the wood gleaming in the moonlight from the sky window above. Tidus took a deep breath and rapped sharply on the door twice.
There was a long pause. Then . . .
Such a sad, lonely voice.
Tidus opened the door and peered in warily, unsure of what to do or say. It was a small circular room with only one large window overlooking the sea, lit only by candles and moonlight. Lady Yuna stood in the ceremonial garb traditional to the chosen women, next to a large mirror across the room from the door. Tidus gaped at her for a moment.
Her bicoloured eyes glistened with unshed tears, and her expression was that of defeat. She wore a pale white dress that flowed freely around her graceful legs while hugging her upper body. Her arms and feet were bare, and she wore no jewels.
"Er . . . good evening, my lady," he stammered, confused yet again by her despondent look. "Are you ready?"
Yuna gazed at him with unreadable eyes. He blinked and shifted the weight on his feet uncomfortably. He opened his mouth to speak again, to prompt her for an answer, when she suddenly hurried across the room and grabbed his arm in her delicate hands.
"Help me," she whispered desperately, gripping his bicep. Tidus stared down at her questioningly, not at all minding how close she stood to him, how tightly she held onto him.
"I-I'm sorry, Lady Yuna?" he asked.
"Help me," she whispered again. "I beg you."
"Uhhh . . ."
"It's a lie, all of it! The ceremony is a sham!" she blurted, her tears spilling over.
"Lady Yuna, I don't understa-"
"They're going to kill me unless I get out of here," Yuna interrupted, releasing him and beginning to pace around in a frantic circle. "That's the whole point of the ceremony. It's a sacrificial rite, that's what it is!"
Tidus blinked at her stupidly. What on Spira was she talking about?
Sensing his confusion, Yuna paused and took a deep breath to calm herself.
"I cannot tell you everything right now, there's not enough . . . look, all I can say is that Lord Seymour plans to kill me before the sun rises, so that Sin can return with even more power to destroy than ever. Do you understand?" she said slowly, looking up at him with wide, anxious eyes.
Tidus opened and closed his mouth repeatedly. "Sin? No, that's . . . that isn't possible. What do you mean the Maester is going to kill you?"
"I haven't the time to explain it all!" she said with exasperation, running her fingers through her silken hair. "I swear, if you get me out of here, I will answer all of your questions. But please, you must decide now!"
"My Lady, I have a job to do. I don't know where you got these strange ideas from, but I can't let you ruin the ceremony for the rest of Spira. Now please come with me to the priests for the Final Sending!" Tidus begged. He didn't want to believe her. He couldn't. It was heresy, plain and simple!
"No!" Yuna hissed, backing away from him. He took a step towards her, but she spun around and grabbed something from the table nearby. When she faced him again, there was a dagger aimed at him.
"Please, let's not do this. If you put the sword down, we can both-"
"I won't go!" she cried, taking a swing at him. He saw the move coming and dodged it easily. From the way she held the dagger, and her clumsy attack, he could tell that she was inexperienced.
"Do you really want to be exiled and excommunicated when you have a chance to be happier than you can ever imagine?" he inquired, pacing around her like a predator circling its prey.
"At least I would have my life," she shot back, keeping her mismatched eyes on him suspiciously. "And I already told you, the ceremony is a lie! If you help me, I will tell you-"
"I don't know what game your playing at, but if I don't hand you over you to Lord Seymour in time I might lose my place as a Yevonite Warrior. I am begging you, my lady, put down the sword and come with me to the Sending room!" Tidus implored.
"Your mother was a chosen one, wasn't she?"
"What did you say?" he asked in a low voice. Yuna slowly lowered the point of the blade, but held it firmly in her hands.
"Six years ago, your mother was chosen. Do you not wish to know what happened to her?" Sensing that she had struck a chord with him, Yuna obviously wasn't going to drop the subject.
"She was a chosen one, and is now living in the Farplane. End of story," Tidus said darkly.
"That's not true! The temple has betrayed all of Spira, and if you help me escape, I promise you I will tell you the whole story. Please . . . you must believe me," Yuna pleaded. For a moment, Tidus was dumbstruck by the sincerity in her eyes.
His head was swimming with new thoughts and emotions. It couldn't be true. Why would the temple lie to all of Spira? Why would they want to kill the Lady Yuna?
"Please . . ." she whispered urgently, gently lowering the blade. "I am no liar. I swear on my father's soul that I speak the truth."
There was a loud sharp knock on the door. Both Tidus and Yuna jumped at the sound and whirled around to face the wooden door, where a voice called out,
"My Lady Yuna? Private Tidus? Are you both ready yet? The priests and the Lord Seymour are waiting."
Neither of them could respond. Tidus' mind was racing with any possible answer he could give, and Yuna stood motionless with wide, frightened eyes. Slowly the Yevonite Warrior turned to face her. She stared back, and silently mouthed the words,
"Lady Yuna? Is everything all right?" the voice asked, clearly puzzled. Tidus swallowed thickly and turned his back to Yuna.
"The Lady and I are almost ready, Private Datto," he called back reassuringly. He threw a glance over his shoulder at the girl behind him, and muttered quietly, "Take a sack of gil that can be easily concealed. Keep the dagger, and bring a change of clothes if you must."
He heard her sigh a breath of relief, and she moved to carry out his command. Tidus scratched the back of his neck in agitation, wondering what the hell he was doing. How could be agree to help some silly heretic? This was bad, this was a mistake, it had to be . . .
"I've lost my mind," he whispered out loud.
"Private Tidus . . ." Datto called, beginning to sound annoyed. "I must ask you to hurry. The priests are getting impatient."
"One more minute, Datto," Tidus snapped, and began looking around for a way to sneak out of the room. He spotted the window and began taking a step towards it, when there was a loud bang from the door.
"Tidus, I don't what's going on, but if you don't open this door right away, I'll-"
"Hold on, will you?" Tidus growled, making his way to the window. Yuna stood nearby with her bag, ready at any moment to do as he told her. She glanced nervously at the door and unconsciously moved closer to Tidus as if for protection.
"That's it, I'm coming in!" Datto yelled.
"No!" Yuna gasped, backing up against the wall. The door burst open and Datto strode in, sword out at the ready. Tidus whirled around to face his fellow Yevonite Warrior.
"What's going on here?" Datto demanded, slowly advancing. "My lady, has he been disrespecting you?"
Tidus moved so swiftly that Datto didn't even have time to blink before he had sidestepped the blade and delivered a sharp punch right between the man's eyes. Datto went limp and sagged to the floor, his blade clanging loudly on the flagstones.
"Let's go," Tidus said grimly, grabbing Yuna by the wrist.
He headed towards the window, and without a moment's hesitation, he hefted Yuna up into his arms and threw himself through the glass and out into the night.