All characters not original copyrighted to Square-Enix, and used for non-profit amusement purposes.Author's Note: Just something that came to me recently. Please read and review. Comments, compliments, and constructive criticism is appreciated. Flames are to be submitted in writing to the complaint department. ---points to a hungry-looking Chocobo Eater--- This story starts before Jecht is sent to Spira…
The boy had forgotten his name.
He had forgotten everything about himself, even how to feel emotion.
No… no, that was wrong, wasn't it… He could still hate.
Hate for the daughter of the man who took his future from him. Hate for the man who plagued Spira, turning innocents like him into monsters.
He could still feel despair.
Despair that renewed itself with each summoner that made the journey to Zanarkand. Despair for each guardian that threw their humanity away to stop Sin, only to know the ultimate horror of becoming Sin themselves…
He had been trapped in spirit form for far too long, unable to interact with Spira save through the form of his Aeon, the mighty dragon Bahamut. Yu Yevon's magic would not let him rest completely. On and on, he and the other fayth were forced to dream, conjuring up memories of Yu Yevon's old home and the people he had sacrificed to become Sin.
At first, he had turned to other pursuits, but after a thousand years, the novelty of being able to go anywhere in Spira in almost an instant had long since worn off.
The others rarely left the temples anymore. But the fayth of Bahamut could not simply rest. He came when a summoner called to him, wanting the power of his Aeon, but for the most part he roamed Spira, trying to find some way to rid himself of despair.
He had yet to find something.
Nothing was interesting anymore. The closest thing that came to being interesting was the newest addition to their never-ending dream, a young human woman, dying of a disease that even the strongest potions and white magic couldn't cure, who willingly gave of herself, having Yunalesca turn her into a fayth so that her son would never be alone, never be unprotected.
If he remembered how, he would feel pity for her. For after she became a fayth, she found herself in the dreaming Zanarkand, quickly joining the others in despair as she saw her son rapidly degenerate into total insanity, and worse, finding out that all of her faith, all of her belief in the teachings of Yevon were all worthless.
The teachings of Yevon…
The man who stole their lives from them, who cursed Spira with Sin, being revered as a god in a lie perpetuated so long that most of Bevelle even forgot that they were lying.
The concept would have made the fayth of Bahamut laugh, if he remembered how.
But he did not. All he did was watch, observing as the woman cried, her soul in eternal pain from her mistakes and losses, warping her Aeon form into a twisted, demonic-looking creature in constant physical pain.
Her Hymn, echoing for all time throughout the temple at the ruins of Baaj, was among the saddest he had ever heard. The fayth of Bahamut sometimes observed those rare few that visited Baaj, all of whom noted an intense feeling of sadness and failure overcoming them.
The fayth sighed, although he needed not to breath. He rarely visited the dream Zanarkand anymore, preferring to remain in Spira. The same cycle of years occurred in the dream Zanarkand, never changing, always resetting to the moment before Bevelle launched its attack, an attack that never occurred in the dream, allowing Zanarkand to proceed as it should have been.
But today, on a whim, he had noticed something different. Hope had lit the eyes of the other fayth. Even the gruff, stubborn, cynical old fayth of Yojimbo seemed to be in better spirits. The fayth of Bahamut was confused. But then he noticed something…
Jecht was missing. The star player and current coach of the Zanarkand Abes had vanished without a trace. Confused, the fayth had sought answers, coming upon the fayth of Anima.
She had a newfound hope and confidence in her eyes as she told him that she had sent Jecht to Spira, in the hopes that he could break the cycle that kept them all trapped.
And save your son from himself, the fayth of Bahamut added mentally. But still, he had to admit that with someone from the dreaming in the real world, he might be able to make a difference.
The fayth of Bahamut tried not to allow himself to hope. But as Jecht proceeded, the brash, arrogant man maturing and finally starting to accept himself, a small sliver of hope began to make its way into the fayth's heart.
When Braska's group reached Zanarkand, all the fayth left their temples, gathering together to watch and see what would happen. So much had occurred, and the fayth of Bahamut so desperately wanted to believe that the cycle would end, allowing them to rest at long, long last…
Then Jecht said something that dashed the hopes of the fayth into the tiniest particles of dust.
"This is the only way we got now! Fine. Make me the fayth."
Anima's scream of despair and agony echoed throughout the temple, the fayth falling to her knees and sobbing. Yojimbo just shook his head sadly, as if he had excepted this to happen.
"It was a desperation play at best, Anima. None of us will hold it against you…" he said before going back to his temple.
One by one, the fayth faded away, each one having given up totally on hope. Soon, only the fayth of Bahamut remained, staring in numb shock as Jecht and Braska joined Yunalesca in her private chambers. Only Braska emerged, Jecht's body and soul transformed into a fayth, the fayth of the current Final Aeon, one that was doomed to become the host for Yu Yevon, the previous host finally being freed to pass to the Farplane, leaving the other to damnation.
As Auron led Braska out of the ruins to their doomed confrontation with Sin, Bahamut looked into Auron's eyes. There was the pain of losing one whom he had become close friends with, but there was also a spark of hope. That this might be the battle that put down Sin forever.
Bahamut closed his eyes and thought back. He knew better. He had seen this too many times before…
"I know this is a horrible thing that must occur, Gandof, but what choice have we? Lady Yunalesca, there is no need for a choice. I, Sir Rodigan of the High Knights of Bevelle, brother and guardian to Gandof, master of the 13 Ultimate Fiend Slaying Techniques, do hereby volunteer to become the fayth of the Final Aeon."
"Ohalland, you've said it yourself. This is no time to start thinking about ourselves. I swore to you that I'd always have your back, either in the Blitz sphere or on this pilgrimage, and I meant it. I'll become the fayth. And together we can score one heck of a goal for all of Spira."
"My lady, what choice do we have? This is a bad thing to happen, I know, but it is also the only thing that could happen. Beloved, I know how you feel, but our feelings for each other must come second. If it might benefit the future of Spira, I will gladly give my life. It is the highest honor for which a guardian might ask. Use my life, Lady Yocun, and rid Spira of Sin."
Bahamut remembered them. Those three and countless others like them. All willing to give of themselves to stop Sin, all of whom came to know the ultimate horror, that their faith was meaningless, and that all they did was help perpetuate an endless spiral of death…
"I think this one will be strong… Like my husband's Aeon, Paragon…" Yunalesca said, startling the fayth out of his memories. To his surprise, Yunalesca was standing right next to him, smiling that sad, hopeless smile of hers.
She patted him lightly on the head, and walked out to start summoning pyreflies again, preparing the Spectral Keeper fiend for the next time a summoner and their guardians would come by. The fayth of Bahamut stared at her, a cold fire starting within his gut as he watched her clean up the Cloister.
"Why?" he said softly, not even aware that he asked the question.
Yunalesca turned to the fayth, confused. "Why what?"
"Why go through with this over and over again? Why keep this hopeless cycle going?" he asked.
Yunalesca chuckled softly. "It's tempting… It's tempting to just abandon my post and go to the Farplane for rest…"
"That doesn't answer my question. Why do you do this still? I know for a fact that you have lost all hope of Sin ever disappearing. So why do you still do this?" the fayth said.
"Ah yes… Why… Why give the people of Spira false hope… Why continue giving them temporary respite with the Calms, when the peace of death would be so much better… Why continue facing the sorrow of those guardians who live on…"
She gestured, and the pyreflies swarmed, showing memories of guardians past.
A tired, ragged young Ronso, tears streaming down her face, hefted her war hammer, glaring at Yunalesca.
"Why you no tell them what would happen?! Kiara could do nothing but watch as friend Rodigan get possessed! Could do nothing as Lord Gandof die! What happen to them?"
Yunalesca shook her head sadly. "They chose to die because they had hope. They chose to give that hope to Spira."
Kiara roared. "That tell Kiara nothing! WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM!?!"
Yunalesca sighed. "The same thing that happened to me. I turned my beloved Zaon into the Aeon Paragon, as I turned Rodigan into the Knights of the Round. The Knights defeated Sin, and Yu Yevon, the creature that was once my father, possessed them, forging them back into one creature, one that would eventually become the newest Sin. As for Gandof, well… His bond of friendship to Rodigan is what powered the Knights of the Round, as my love for Zaon powered Paragon. Once the Final Aeon was possessed, that bond was forcibly severed, cutting the strings of life. The agony was great, but short-lived…"
Kiara stared at Yunalesca in growing horror. "So… So Gandof die for nothing… And Rodigan now trapped… Rodigan will become Sin…"
Yunalesca smiled her sad little smile. "No. They died to give Spira hope, to give them a chance to rebuild and recover before my father comes back.
"False hope," Kiara snapped.
"Even false hope is better than nothing…" Yunalesca sighed.
Tears flowed down Kiara's face as she howled her sadness to the heavens. That howl turned into a snarl of rage as she charged Yunalesca, swinging her hammer wildly. Yunalesca slew her quickly, blasting a hole in the Ronso's chest that killed her instantly. Yunalesca shook her head sadly as Kiara dropped limply to the floor, and began to dance a dance of Sending…
A powerfully built young man stood before Yunalesca, a whip in one massive hand, a clawed gauntlet over the other. His massive, solid chest was covered in scars, his skin stained red with blood, and around him swarmed a cadre of lethal fiends. An Adamantoise, two Malboros, three Tonberries, five Jumbo Cactaurs, and two Iron Giants, all standing around waiting for the young man's command.
"Why have you returned, fiend trainer?" Yunalesca asked.
"I need to know," the young man said, "I need to know the truth. When Ohalland's Aeon, Leviathan or whatever you called it, defeated Sin, something came out of it and possessed him. Almost immediately, Ohalland began to cough up blood. Before he died, he said something about our work all for nothing…" Tears were flowing freely down the man's face as he spoke now, "…he died praying that Spira would forgive him his failure…"
"Mortianus…" Yunalesca said to the fiend hunter, who shook his head and interrupted her.
"What did he mean by that?" he demanded, "Ohalland and Vega were buddies of mine, and one of them died in my arms, coughing up his guts. What I want to know is what happened to the other one. WHAT HAPPENED TO VEGA?"
Yunalesca shook her head sadly. "When Leviathan defeated Sin, he destroyed the host of Yu Yevon, freeing the fayth of the previous Final Aeon he had possessed. Yu Yevon needed a new body, and Leviathan was the closest one."
Mortianus scowled. "So my buddy's gonna come back as Sin now."
Yunalesca nodded. "I'm afraid so."
"Everything we did… All we did was just advance the same, sick cycle… Fayth help us, the Al Bhed were right… It is all pointless…"
Yunalesca shook her head. "No. They did not sacrifice themselves in vain. They…"
"Save it, bitch. Just die," Mortianus said, motioning the fiends he had brought with him to attack. Yunalesca just sighed, and prepared to annihilate them all in a single blow…
It was the sound of the music that called Yunalesca. A sad, haunting song she could not help but answer. He found the bard sitting cross-legged on the long inactive fayth statue of Zaon, playing his flute and crying.
"So it's over, then. Eden, once Ayliu of Bevelle, has defeated Sin," Yunalesca said, smiling softly, "A new Calm is upon Spira."
"Strange," the bard, a handsome young man with elven features, said, his voice amused, but his tear-streaked eyes angry, "that I do not feel calm."
Yunalesca sighed and sat down next to him. "It's understandable, Madra. I could sense that you loved Ayliu, even though her heart was already promised to Yocun."
Madra just chuckled softly. "I could not have her heart. So I decided on the next best thing, to keep her safe, to be there for her always. But I couldn't do that, now could I?"
Yunalesca closed her eyes. "So you figured it out, then."
Madra nodded. "Took me a while, but yeah. That thing I saw come out of Sin… That's the real Sin, isn't it? That's why Eden sounded so horrified when it entered her and dragged her out to sea. Because she knew that she was doomed to become Sin. That's also what killed Yocun, when it forcibly cut off the connection they shared…"
Yunalesca nodded. "Close enough," she said.
Madra bit his lip, and placed his flute in his lap. "Tell me this. Tell me that one day, this will all stop, that the Final Aeon will someday destroy Sin completely before being taken over…"
Yunalesca sighed, and shook her head.
Madra closed his eyes, tears flowing steadily down his face. He began to laugh, slowly at first, then faster and faster, his laughter the laughter of the hopeless and the mad, halfway between hysteria and sobbing.
Now Yunalesca began to cry. "Please don't do this… Don't let your beautiful voice be twisted in anger… This is the only way, the only chance Spira has at any kind of hope…"
Madra's laughter turned to a scream of fury, as he whipped out his sword from his sitting position, intent on decapitating the figure next to her. Yunalesca didn't even turn as she summoned lightning to kill him…
"It is a hard thing I must do, I admit. But after a thousand years, I cannot think of anything better," Yunalesca said, dispersing the images of the past and slowly walking back to her private chamber, "When this newest Final Aeon, whom I have named Gargoyle, defeats Sin, a Calm will descend upon Spira. Life will have a chance to grow, and the cycle will continue. It is a tragic fate, but the only one Spira has."
"It's madness…" the fayth of Bahamut said, his voice almost a whisper.
"It's the only way. Surely you must understand this," Yunalesca said, her voice confused, "When you and the other fayth willingly gave of yourselves to become the first Aeons…"
"Willing?" the fayth of Bahamut said, the coldness and fury in his tone giving Yunalesca pause.
The fayth slowly floated up to Yunalesca, looking her directly in the face. His mouth was in a death's head grin, his teeth clenched tightly together, and his eyes glittered with the rising force of his anger.
"You think we willingly became fayth? Willingly let bodies and souls get warped and twisted, becoming trapped in enhancted stone for all time?" he said, his voice growing in intensity.
"That is… That is what I was told…" Yunalesca said, suddenly faltering.
Yunalesca shivered in growing fear as the fayth of Bahamut began to laugh, pyreflies swarming around him.
"You stupid… sick… worthless… BITCH!!!!"
Before Yunalesca could react, the fayth transformed into an Aeon, Bahamut's massive claw wrapping around her throat and slamming her into a wall of the ruins.
"DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT WE WANTED THIS, YOU ARROGANT WHORE!?" Bahamut bellowed, fury overtaking him, "I CAN STILL HEAR MY MOTHER'S SCREAM AS I WAS TAKEN FROM HER BY YEVON'S PRIESTS!! AFTER OVER A THOUSAND YEARS, I CAN STILL HEAR MY PARENTS' SOBBING, I CAN STILL SEE THE ARROGANT SMIRK ON THE FACE OF THAT BASTARD YEVON!! YOU MISERABLE BITCH, I HAD MY LIFE STOLEN FROM ME!!! WE ALL DID!!! AND YOU DARE THINK THAT WE WANTED IT!?!? RRRRRRRRRAAAAGHHHH!!!"
The holy ring that floated behind Bahamut began to spin as he roared, gathering energy for a point-blank Mega Flare.
Yunalesca, gagging in Bahamut's powerful grip, quickly cast a banishment spell. Bahamut's roar of fury as his Mega Flare dissipated and his body vanished into pyreflies, turning back into the ghostly form of the fayth, echoed throughout the ruins.
The fayth glared at Yunalesca as she coughed, dusting herself off as she recovered from the aborted attempt on her life. She looked at the fayth and shook her head, heading back to her private chambers.
"If I am wrong, I am sorry. But what can I do? There is no other way to do this. Sin is eternal. And nothing you or I could do can change that."
The fayth wished he remembered how to cry. Instead, all he could do was sing…