A/N: Greetings, readers: This is as the summary says, a novelization, meaning that there will be additions of scenes and characters, scenes changed, expanded, or reduced. In other words, it won't be what I've played in the form of a novel. Please note that I constantly revise my chapters, so be sure to check back from time to time if prompted. A big thanks goes out to my beta reader, OceanLord who is still looking over what I have as of now.

Disclaimer: Xenogears and its universe are the property of Square-Enix. Other than my original characters, scenes, and so forth, everything is theirs, excepting the occasional line or reference to historical figures and events. Use of any of the author's material without prior consent shall result in the offender suffering eternal misery and woe...or something of the like.

Part One: The Man from the Mountain Village

Chapter One: Lahan Village

The village of Lahan was one of many small and isolated villages situated between the Blackmoon Forest and the eastern mountain range in Northeastern Aveh. There were little more than a hundred people living in Lahan, and their village had been run by old Chief Lee for the last eighteen years. Yet in all his years as Chief, he never could have expected what had happened three years ago on a fateful summer's night three years ago.

During a thunderstorm, with millions of droplets beating relentlessly on the roof and windows, Chief Lee was having his customary nighttime cup of tea before going to sleep, when suddenly there was a knock on the door. Surprised, the arose from his chair to answer.

The man standing outside was a tall figure clad in a long blue cloak, and covering his face was a white mask resembling a fish's face with a fixed smile. In his arms, he carried a boy about fifteen-years-old. The kid was horribly wounded and needed immediate medical attention; however, the cloaked man just asked the Chief to take care of the boy and gave the kid's name: Fei Fong Wong. He left the boy with Chief Lee and disappeared as if somebody were tracking him down for reasons of great evil. The inhabitants of Lahan never saw him again, nor did they ever discover the cause of Fei's injuries.

Despite the isolationist attitude of the villagers, they accepted Fei almost as though he had been living in Lahan his whole life. During the three years Fei had lived in Lahan, he had grown to be very happy there. Although amnesia, probably caused by multiple head injuries, had erased all memory of his life before awakening in the village, Fei was very knowledgeable and proficient in many different and deadly forms of martial arts. One of his favorite pastimes was teaching his skills to the children and a good few of the adults in the village.

Lahan was a peaceful village, but Chief Lee was no stranger to war. He had once served twelve years in the His Majesty's Army, primarily maintaining the Gears, and during that time he'd risen to the respectable rank of Staff Sergeant. However, there were times when he had to help repel enemy attacks. Therefore, he had certainly earned the right to a quiet, peaceful life.

'Gears' was the name given to giant humanoid battle robots controlled by a single pilot who sat in a cockpit inside the machine's chest. The majority of the world's militaries employed the use of Gears for combat and taking up the majority of their forces as opposed to infantry, naval, and air forces. Civilian construction workers also used Gears, but these were not battle capable.

Chief Lee watched his surrogate grandson training. The young outsider, Fei, was a true warrior. He would be able to take out many enemies with his bare fists and his Chi, a form of Ether, which was somewhat akin to magic, for lack of a better word. All living creatures had some kind of Ether coursing through their veins, though no scientist was ever able to explain exactly what Ether was. Perhaps it was energy borrowed from the planet, or maybe it was just spiritual energy. Some Ether was used as offensive magic, whereas other kinds had the ability to heal. Whatever its use, Ether remained a mystery.

Martial arts were not his only pastime: Fei was also an exceptionally talented painter. Whether it be landscapes, portraits, or just random images that popped into his mind, Fei would almost bring these images to life on canvas. Chief Lee had always suspected that some of the inspirations had come from lost memories. Another thing Chief Lee had suspected about Fei, and he hoped to God that he was wrong, was that the boy's past would catch up with him, thus putting him and the village in danger... the very same danger plaguing the rest of the country.

While the villagers of Lahan and the surrounding villages in the region were, for the most part, staunch pacifists, the rest of the Kingdom of Aveh was in turmoil. For the last three hundred years, war had raged on and off over the continent of Ignas between the Kingdom of Aveh and its much larger and more powerful neighbor to the north, the Empire of Kislev. The fighting had gone on for so long that everyone had long ago forgotten what had started the war in the first place; they only knew years of meaningless violence and hostility.

Twelve years ago, under the reign of King Edbart IV, the two enemies had almost achieved peace, but something unexpected had happened. A man named Hafez al-Shakhan, who had emigrated from an island nation in Aquvy, had founded a movement of radical nationalists called the National Brotherhood. Shakhan was a devout follower of the Ethos Church, and he had started to gather followers in Aveh who agreed with his hard-line views and who had no desire for peace with Kislev. Instead, they wanted Aveh to take over the enemy country. Within three months of the Brotherhood's birth, Shakhan staged a coup that killed the entire Royal Family, and Aveh fell under his brutal, murderous dictatorship.

After Aveh fell into the hands of the Brotherhood, rechristened the National Party, the widespread violence resumed with renewed vigor, and the situation deteriorated much faster than it had in the entire war. Then suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, a huge and powerful force known as Gebler, from the mysterious Holy Empire of Solaris, appeared in Aveh and added its own military might into the area.

Amidst all this was Lahan: alone, isolated, and vulnerable in the morass of tragedy, violence, and hostility.

Fei Fong Wong watched one of his students throw her opponent on the floor and punch him in the side of the head, though the protective gear the kids wore prevented any real injury. "No," Fei said, his dark brown eyes widening as he ran over to the eight-year-old girl who just executed that technique on a boy the same age. "Do it like you really mean it!" said Fei, pushing back a wayward strand of his long brown hair, which he always kept tied behind him, and demonstrated the proper way to execute a right hook, throwing his fist above the girl's head.

"Yes, Master Wong," replied the girl and she bowed to Fei, who shook his head with a slight grin.

"Nikki, I told you: never bow with your head down," said Fei, though he did not recall where he had heard this. "Always look at the person you're bowing to, because if you're about to fight him, you must never assume that he's gonna fight fair, you understand?"

"Yes, Master Wong."

Fei had an assistant in teaching martial arts, who was also his best friend. Timothy Winters was a bit taller than Fei, with black eyes usually alight with mischief. He had been a friend to Fei ever since he had woken from his coma. "Last round!" Fei barked, and the kids got into a fighting stance. "Begin!" The students started sparring again.

"Alrighty! Everyone remove your sparring gear and get into formation," Timothy commanded after a few minutes. When the students got in line he said, "Attention, bow!" The students and the instructor bowed to Fei and began to file out of the dojo. They had decided to close early because it was the day before Timothy's wedding; he was going to be married to Alice Calley after four years of dating. Alice, like Timothy, had stood by Fei's side while he was recovering.

"You ready for tomorrow?" Fei asked as he packed his gym bag and put on his sneakers. Timothy had proposed to Alice over three months ago and whenever someone mentioned it, he would get a wide grin on his face. It was as if he still could not believe he was getting married.

"Yeah, it still hasn't hit me as reality though. Still hard to believe she said yes."

"I know, especially with your pathetic excuse for a proposal." Fei's grin broadened as his friend glared at him, causing Fei to laugh at the memory of that night. Timothy had taken Alice for a romantic picnic in the mountains about an hour's walk away. Everything was perfect until Timothy suddenly blurted out, "Hey let's get hitched!" Despite being asked to get "hitched", she accepted his proposal.

"You'll never let me forget that, will you?" Timothy groaned, as if he really believed that Fei would do such a thing.

"You're damn right I won't." The exaggerated seriousness in Fei's tone made both men laugh. "You've both been really good friends to me these past three years. I wish you both all the happiness in the world."

Timothy laughed again and pulled his friend into a one armed, brotherly hug. "When are you gonna get yourself a girl, man? You can't stay single forever, can you? It's a known fact that Sakura likes you. She's a nice girl, try going out with her."

Fei rolled his eyes at this. Alice's friend, Sakura was nice enough, but Fei found her a little annoying. She was a rather pushy girl, always flirting with Fei no matter how many hints he gave her that he was not interested.

"Guess not," Timothy added when he noticed Fei's expression. "You'll find 'the one', one day. Oh, can you go check on Alice for me? I have to discuss things with my old man and Chief Lee."

"Sure thing." The two men walked to the door and just as Fei was about to reach for the knob, it burst open. A young boy, about ten years old with red hair and large brown eyes, barged into the dojo, pushing past Timothy and stopping in front of Fei. He had the expression of someone perpetually annoyed. Dan was definitely the textbook definition of a brat, but Fei knew he would grow out of it eventually.

"There you are, Fei," said Dan. "I gotta talk to you about something!"

"What the hell is this, Dan?" Timothy cut in crossly. "You can't just barge in here like that!" Dan was Alice's brother and the very unwilling soon-to-be brother-in-law of Timothy.

"Damn," hissed Dan. "Timothy's here too. "Mind your own business, Timothy! Until you marry my sister, you got nothing to do with me! I'm here to talk to my friend Fei!" Timothy raised his eyebrows as Dan continued. "Anyway, I gotta talk to you privately; One on one, man to man."

"Sounds important."

"It is!" Dan jumped up and down impatiently. "That's why we can't talk about it here! There is someone listening who could cause problems." He then shot a nasty look towards Timothy.

"Alright, I'll meet you later."

Dan nodded. "I'll see you around, Fei. Goodbye Timothy… take care of yourself until tomorrow." He then shot a less than complimentary hand gesture to Timothy and stalked off, slamming the door behind him. Both martial artists sighed exasperatedly.

"What's his problem?" said Fei as more of a rhetorical question. Dan never liked Timothy very much. He thought of him as a muscle-headed buffoon. In fact, Dan had once outright told Alice that she would be better off with Fei. He guessed Dan would have something to say about that.

"As of tomorrow, I'll be that kid's brother-in-law. That's how life is. I gotta take the bitter along with the sweet," Timothy deadpanned. "Anyway, see you 'round."

As he left, Fei called: "We still up for drinks tonight?" Timothy gave him a questioning look. "You know, celebrate your last night as a bachelor."

"Damn right I'm up for it. See ya, Fei." With that, Timothy left the dojo, which was located next door to the house Fei lived in with Chief Lee. Fei then locked up before leaving for the day.

Lahan was a small rural village whose people were happily behind in these tumultuous times. They were distant from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Aveh. For over three centuries, Lahan had not concerned itself with the outside world any more than the outside world had concerned itself with Lahan. Thanks to the pacifist attitude of the village, the villagers were excluded from the four-year military service that every other able-bodied Avehan citizen had to commit to upon reaching the age of eighteen. However, occasionally someone like Chief Lee or the storekeeper, old Mr. Sykes, volunteered to serve.

This was a place where women still wore long dresses and carried water in buckets from the well conveniently located in the town square, while the men put in long hours tending the farms. The patter of chickens in the backyards mixed with the cacophony of sounds from pigs, cows, sheep, and goats living comfortably among the villagers. No one in the village owned anything more advanced than a tractor for working the fields. In fact, the most common method of transportation was on horseback.

Alice and Dan lived with their uncle and aunt. Their house was adjacent to the windmill where Rob Calley and his wife Leanne worked to provide the village's basic electric power. Dan stood by the door of his house; it was time for the 'serious conversation'.

The kid cracked his knuckles. "Allow me to get straight to the point: As you know, my sister is getting married to that muscle-headed buffoon, Timothy. But, I always wanted you as my brother, not him. It's not too late, ya know? You could steal Alice and run off with her!" Fei stood there, flabbergasted that Dan would seriously consider such a radical plan. He had to double check Dan's expression to confirm that he was serious.

"Dan," he said slowly, not knowing how Dan would take this. "You know as well as I do that Alice is like a sister to me." It was true. He could honestly say he loved Alice, but not in the same way Timothy did. "And I want my sister to be happy. You have to think about how she feels. Sure, Timothy isn't too bright, but he's a good man and he'll make Alice happy. Isn't that what you want?"

The kid bent his head and muttered, "I guess you're right. I do need to think about Alice's feelings. Besides, once they have kids it'll be easier to get them to tease him." He grinned evilly at the prospect of being the mean brother in law. "But, Fei, you've been such a good friend to her these past three years. I'll never forget that. But if Timothy breaks her heart-"

"He'll hear about it from me," Fei finished half jokingly. "But, I can assure you, that ain't gonna happen." He then said his goodbye to Dan and went back to Alice's house. An attractive young woman with shoulder length black hair and brown eyes was waiting for him, standing in front of the door like a guard. It was Sakura, and she was eying Fei with interest.

"Hi, Fei," she said in her very high pitched, grating voice.

"Hey, Sakura."

"You wanna see Alice?" Fei nodded in response. "It's considered bad luck for a man to see the bride on the day before her wedding, but I think we can make an exception for you." Much to Fei's relief, she moved aside without saying anything else.

Alice was upstairs in her room, putting the finishing touches on her wedding gown. She was a petite, willowy woman with long, tousled black hair and large, dark eyes. She knew she should feel joyful beyond words, but she did not. She loved Timothy more than her own life, but after knowing Fei for those three years, she had started to develop feelings for him too. However, it was against Lahan tradition for a village native to marry one who had not grown up in the village. Even if she could marry Fei, she could not just throw Timothy aside like that, not after all this time together.

There was a knock on the door and Alice said, "Come in." She expected one of her bridesmaids, but to her surprise, it was none other than Fei. "Hi Fei, this is a pleasant surprise."

Fei just shrugged and then noticed Alice's wedding gown. It was made of an almost completely white silk, except for the gold trimming at the bottom of the hem. "Looks good," he commented. Alice nodded, and for a few seconds nothing was said.

"So, what brings you here today?"

"Came to check how you're feeling." Fei grinned. "You ready for tomorrow?" Her expression faltered a little. "Alice, don't tell me you're getting cold feet." Alice hastily shook her head.

"No, that's not it. It's just that… oh haven't you thought about things this way? If…If only you were born here in Lahan, if we would've met earlier…" Fei could see where she was going with this, but said nothing. "Never mind," said Alice quickly. "Have you seen Dan?"

"Yeah, he's outside up to his usual mischief." Alice raised her eyebrow in doubt.

"He's not devising a plan to stop me from marrying the uh, what was the title? Oh yeah, 'muscle-headed buffoon,'?" Fei shook his head, trying to suppress a laugh, but to no avail. "Ugh, that kid," growled Alice. "I told him I had a job for him to do!"

"Oh, really; what kinda job?"

"I wanted him to call Dr. Uzuki and then go to his house to collect camera equipment for tomorrow."

Citan Uzuki was the village doctor who had arrived in the village about the same time Fei, with his lovely wife, Yui, and adorable daughter, Midori. Many in the village considered him eccentric because he lived on the summit of a mountain, and had an obsession with tinkering with machines. Fei replied, "Heck, I'll do it if only to get a taste of Yui's cooking. Besides, I wouldn't rely on Dan to handle such delicate instruments anyway."

Alice giggled at this. "Thanks Fei." He nodded and walked up to Alice, resting a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"Everything will be ok, Alice, I swear" Fei said, reassuringly. Despite what she said earlier, Fei could tell she was having second thoughts about the marriage. In response, Alice hugged Fei tightly, taking him by surprise, but he returned the embrace.

Fei returned to the house he shared with Chief Lee. The old door opened with a creak. On the ground floor was a foyer with two rooms on each side. To the right was the kitchen where a maid was working, the delightful smell of a simmering soup emitting from the pot, and an elegant but homey dining room. To the left were a living room and the chief's office.

Chief Lee sat on his favorite armchair reading a book, when Fei came in. He was a very old man with a bent back, and almost completely bald except for a shock of white hair and a moustache. He closed his book and placed it into the black fabric of his robe. "Ah, Fei," he said, eyes twinkling. "Closed early, eh?"

"Yeah," Fei answered as he sat down. "Wanted to prepare for tomorrow."

The chief sighed and smiled. "Ah, marriage," he mused. "Such a beautiful thing, it is. When will you set out from the village and find yourself a nice young lady to settle down with?" The smile on Chief Lee's face told Fei that he knew exactly what he thinking.

"Maybe it's time you set out from Lahan, Fei. It is a big world out there… maybe you'll find something about your past if you go on a journey. I'm an old man; a quiet peaceful village such as this is the ideal place to finish my life in. However, you are a young man, and-"

"Chief, there is nowhere I'd rather be but here. Regardless of where I was until three years ago, Lahan is now my home."

The Chief nodded. "I understand, Fei, but think about it."

"I will, Chief. Alice asked me to get camera equipment from Doc. I'll be back later tonight." As Fei got up to leave, Chief Lee called, "Be careful on that mountain path!"

Thousands of miles from Lahan, hidden from the prying eyes and ears of civilians, there was a gathering of soldiers led by a Captain of regal military discipline and bearing. The Captain paced the floor of the hangar while the squad stood at attention. His superiors were sending him and his squad on a high-risk reconnaissance operation with a good chance that none of them would come back alive. His instincts told him regardless of whether they succeeded or failed, he would not make it through this mission.

"Each of you were hand-picked for this operation because you are the best for the job," announced the Captain. "Success is everything; failure means death for us all. Everyone get ready, we leave at 1500 hours."

"Yes, sir!"