Growlanser 3: The Dual Darkness

Author's Notes: After going for so long without seeing a Growlanser fanfic(of ANY kind), I've decided to step up to the plate and fill the gap. Basically, this is going to be a novelization, so those who have played the game will know what to expect. As for those who haven't...get it! NOW! It is a wonderful tactical RPG, and I highly recommend it(tell you the truth, I didn't even like FFT, and I still like this.:D).

One other thing worth pointing out...there will be slight changes in the dialogue and perhaps actions. There are good reasons for doing so, so please don't complain because I'm not doing copying the script word-for-word. That'd be pretty boring for those of us who have played the game, yes?

Enough of that, though...on with the story!

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters inherent in this fic...sadly, they belong to Atlus and Careersoft. Too bad...Yayoi is HAWT!

Prologue

Xironia Federation

"It was you, wasn't it? You killed him!" a scared, yet enraged voice screamed into the night.

"...That realization has come too late to be of much use to you now," came the reply. The voice was smooth, confident...and as oily as the wiliest snake. "But then, you never were much of an assassin, or a thinker."

"Dammit!" the first voice spoke again.

Soon, the cloud cover of the deep night broke, allowing the full moon to enlighten the scene below, which seemed typical of most action-adventure movies; one man, a young boy almost, clung to the top of a cliff with one hand, his other arm hanging limply at his side, the clothing covering it bloody and torn. His silver hair, almost the same shade as the moon, shifted gently in the wind as he searched for a way out of his predicament while trying to maintain his precarious hold.

The other, standing on top of the cliff face, was an older, taller man, his own silver hair slicked back, dressed in black leather armor. He sneered down at the boy as the moment was savored, his pale skin almost glowing in the moonlight while his sunken eyes danced in twisted joy. Suddenly, he knelt down, reaching for the boy's hand.

"No! Don't touch that!" the boy screamed in even more anger.

Ignoring the demands placed on him, the man loosened, and then pulled free a gem from the ring that was settled on the boy's finger. Holding it up to the moonlight, the gem sparkled, and the man's twisted grin seemed to grow even larger.

"So, this is the Invisibility Gem...captivating," he said, whispering the last word.

"Give that back! You have no right to that!"

The man leisurely looked down on his prey and chuckled as he pocketed the Gem. "If you require this bauble to carry out your job, you aren't much of an assassin, are you? And besides, what good is a dead man going to do with it, anyway? It will be put to much better use in my possession..."

The boy's eyes widened, and despite the strength of his voice, fear and a pleading note came through. "Dammit! No!"

The man's eyes glowed maniacally as his grin took on a sharklike quality. "Oh, yes...the higher we climb, the greater the fall...see?"

With contemptuous ease, the man ground his foot onto his prey's fingers. Stubbornly, the boy refused to let go, a grunt of pain his only indication of how close he was to letting go. But before he could prepare himself for anything else, the man kicked his hand off of the ledge.

"AAAAAAAAHHHHHH...!"

The man's grin remained in place as he watched his pathetic rival disappear into the inky black night. It was not until he heard the barely audible CRUNCH! that he allowed himself to move away from the cliff, heading back to his employer to report a successful job.

"What a coward...just like your parents, Gray..."

Dark Mountain

Finally done with putting out the last of the fires left from the attack, the man slumped down into a makeshift chair, mopping his forehead beneath his headdress. His eyes surveyed the area sadly.

It had been so brutal, and yet so quick...none of them, not even the Lord, had known what was going on until the attack had started. And by then, the best they could do was only contain the devastation.

Heaving a sigh, he returned to his feet to continue his rounds until a call caught his attention. It was one of the acolyte messengers, one of the few to survive the attack.

"Master...Master, Peter wants to speak with you...!" he called.

Normally, the Spirit Master would berate the youngster for speaking so loudly, but given what they had just endured, such a rebuke would be beyond pointless. Hurrying over to the fallen form, he knelt near the man's head. A quick glance confirmed what he had feared...there would be no hope for this man...especially not after he dared to confront their attacker in direct combat.

The prone Spirit Messenger's eyes opened, and a second later, focused. "M, Master...how bad is it?" he asked in a soft, yet surprisingly strong voice. Though, the Master thought, perhaps it's not so surprising...before his calling as a Spirit Messenger, Peter was one of, if not the, strongest swordsman in the known world. It should come as no surprise that even near death's door, he was able to stay so strong.

"...I'm afraid that it looks bad," came the answer at last.

Peter nodded and lay his head back down. "Thought...so. Master...as I...advance into...the cycle, please do me...one favor?"

"We owe you much more than one favor, Peter...name it."

"My daughter...tell her...tell her I'm sorry...and tell her that I love her...have always loved her...very much. Please..."

The Spirit Master nodded, and placed his hand on the dying man's shoulder. "I swear to you by the Dark Crystal...she will know, Peter. Go now into the cycle with no regrets."

A final, shuddering breath escaped the man's lips before a glowing aura formed around it, Within short order, the aura coalesced into a medium sized orb that hovered above the expired body momentarily before one of the higher-ranked acolytes muttered a spell, granting the soul direct access to the Underworld. With the gates they had erected around the world destroyed, this was the only easy way for souls to continue in the cycle of life.

Slowly standing, the Spirit Master showed no outward emotion, but he was deeply saddened by this loss. Everyone here at Dark Mountain had had high hopes for Peter...many had even expected him to become the next Spirit Lord in short order.

The thought of the Spirit Lord brought the Master from his reverie, and he headed toward an area that was cordoned off to all but the healers and himself. It wouldn't do to have the acolytes see their leader injured as badly as he was in the attack, after all.

As he entered the area, he could feel a steady increase in Dark Power. Concerned, the Master tried to discern its source...and as the power built to increasingly high levels, he suddenly realized it came from the Lord's room.

Confused, and more than a little worried, he ran once more, entering the room where the Dark Lord was to be recuperating...and instead saw him finishing a few chants for an Art.

The Spirit Master blinked as he took in the scene; the Dark Lord's battered body half-kneeling, half-slumped in the middle of a large circle with various symbols of their order woven into it, the lines glowing with the Dark Power they were being infused with. He had never seen this type of ritual for an Art before...unless...

"Dark Lord!" he gasped.

The man turned to his subordinate and friend with a fiercely determined expression on his face, even through the mask of bandages. That look alone stayed the Spirit Master's initial action to stop his leader from completing his task.

"Master...you can't do this! Its..."

"Improper? I know, old friend...but I must do this, or the world will suffer the same fate as we just have...only far worse. I will not let him have his way...Zion MUST be stopped, and I will do whatever is necessary to insure that he is!"

"...I understand, Dark Lord. I will stand aside, and pray for your success."

The visible portion's of the leader's face softened, and he answered in turn, "Thank you...I leave the task of managing Dark Mountain to you...Stay strong, all of you...I promise I will return...and Zion will be stopped! Once that is done, I will return to the cycle...but only after my goal is accomplished."

That said, the circle grew ever brighter, forcing the Spirit Master to shield his eyes. Thus doing, he missed seeing the Dark Lord's body fall to the ground as his spirit left it, again hovering just as Peter's soul did over the spent form. Instead of disappearing into the Underworld, however, it spiralled upwards before disappearing through the ceiling...and into the world...

Aggressival Capitol, Blizkriea

The highly decorative office was silent and dark, almost brooding along with its lone occupant, who stood staring out the window. The view was impressive, commanding a large span of the capitol's royal and business districts...but the man's mind was not on the view at all...rather, it was on the upcoming conflicts.

It was a game he would have to play carefully...but also quickly. Time was running out, not only for the citizens that were starving, but also for himself.

In answer to that thought, there was a knock at the door, and it opened immediately afterward. The urgent steps on the carpet told the room's occupant all he needed to know about the visitor before he even turned.

"Prime Minister...what brings you here at such a desperate time?"

The Prime Minister was a little unnerved at the commander-in-chief's almost unnaturally calm tone, but his business kept his tone as firm as it always was. "I have been sent by His Majesty the King on a matter of great urgency."

One didn't need to ask, but the commander did anyway. "Mmm...Xironia Federation, right?" Coming from him, it was more a statement than a question.

A smirk appeared on the Prime Minister's face. "Yes...the King has grown impatient with your efforts. Your sincerity in defeating them is being...questioned. It should be trivial for our military to overrun a nation of farmers and simpletons!"

"The concern is noted...our bellies all cry out for the days of bounty past." That was more than true enough...though the military was kept better fed than most anyone else, the commander kept himself on the brink of nourishment, to remind himself of the stakes should he fail. "But...should we wage a full-scale assault on Xironia, would it not be likely that they would simply enlist all their farmers to defend the kingdom?" This was said as he turned a critical eye on the Prime Minister.

"Of course...and that would decrease their crop output, naturally...but waging a war after the harvest is even more foolish! Have you not noticed that we have starving masses now, commander? Fully half of them will starve this winter...half, commander! The King will not stand idly by while that happens!"

A smirk appeared beneath the commander's mustache. "There is no need to be so concerned, Minister. I have a plan in place to take control of Xironia...and with a minimum of bloodshed, since our next goal will be conquering Schelfengrif."

A slight frown appeared on the Minister's face at that, but he nodded agreeably. "Very well...I will take you at your word, and inform the King." A barely detectable threatening tone surfaced with his next words. "I pray that you are correct...for your sake."

The confidence, along with the smirk, never left the commander's face. "You won't be disappointed...nor will you have long to wait for results."

Another nod from the Minister, and silently he left the office.

Notes:

Blizkriea - They never DO mention the name of Aggressival's capitol, so I just picked a variation of the infamous 'Blitzkrieg' attack pioneered by Germany in WW2...since the Aggressival name is indicative of their nature.:D