First, I'd like to apologize for the delay. There were several… unprecedented problems that arose and it took me this long to battle them. Anyway, without further ado, here is… the disclaimer:
Final Fantasy X and PlayStation are owned by Square Enix and Sony, respectively, meaning they do not belong to me. I am in no way, shape, and/or form claiming to be the owner/creator of these concepts, though I do claim any characters not apart of the original Final Fantasy X storyline (such as Rayne and Marcus) mine. As such, I would appreciate fellow authors and readers to give credit where credit is due and not steal any of my characters and/or concepts. Thank you, and have a pleasant day.
(The New Journey)
"So, why you wanna come and watch us practice today, Lady Rayne?"
Rayne smiled from her place in the shady sand. Even ten years after Braska dropped her as his guardian and left her on Besaid, Wakka still insisted on calling her that.
"No particular reason, Wakka. I just needed to get out of the village."
He turned to her and smirked, "You worried about Yuna, ya?"
Rayne looked at the sky, "That. And something else"
Wakka shook his head and laughed, bouncing the blitzball back and forth between his legs over and over, "Same old Lady Rayne, ya? Just as vague and mysterious as ever."
"Ah, Wakka." She sighed as she leaned against the natural rock wall, gazing at the other Aurochs practicing in the hot white sand. "The only reason I seem a mystery to you is because you aren't clever enough to figure out the rest of the world."
All of the Aurochs heard this and began whispering about it, one of them unfortunate enough to be in Rayne's hearing range. "Jeez, that's cold, ya?"
"Botta!" The blitzer snapped to attention. Rayne glared at him. "I want you practicing, not chatting! The blitz tournament's coming up very soon, and I want the Crystal Cup here in Besaid! Is that clear?"
He saluted, "Ma'am, yes ma'am!"
"Good," She coolly said. "Now, get back to practicing." She glanced around at all of the Aurochs, who had stopped to watch the spectacle, "That goes for the rest of you, as well."
The Aurochs saluted, "Ma'am, yes ma'am!" And balls started flying everywhere, the players suddenly on overdrive.
Rayne smiled and crossed her arms behind her head, closing her eyes, "Ah, the influence I have. Please, allow me to bask in the ambience."
Wakka laughed and shook his head, "You really are something, Lady Rayne."
Silence followed his comment, followed by Rayne opening her eyes and asking in a quite voice, "Wakka, have I gotten stronger?"
"Eh?" He missed a kick and the ball smacked him in the head, he looked at her in shock. "What're you talking about, Lady Rayne? You've always been strong."
She sighed and looked at the sky, "When I arrived on Besaid, ten years ago, I was timid, naive, and acted foolish. I just want to know, have all of these years on Besaid changed me? Have I gotten any stronger, not physically or in magic, but as a person?"
Wakka dropped his ball and preformed the Yevon prayer, then knelt before her and looked at her, "In all of the years I knew you, Lady Rayne, I never thought of you as weak. Sure, in the beginning you were skittish, but you grew outta that. And now, other than Lu, you're the scariest person I know, and I think Lu got some of it from you! But you have changed, if that helps. You've changed a lot."
Before Rayne could answer, a cry of "Look out!" was heard, followed by a blitzball smacking Rayne in the head. Stunned and fearful cries rang out from the Aurochs and Wakka stumbled back. Rayne grabbed the blitzball and stood, her face lowered to stare at its rough and sand worn surface.
"Uh… Lady Rayne?"
Her head snapped up and, over the heads and shoulders of the blitz players she was about to scream at, she saw something that made her stop. Something yellow… with a human figure to it… drifting in the ocean. She sighed, "So it begins…"
She turned her focus back on the blitz players and her eyes glowed, making them shrink back in fear. She held up the ball dauntingly, "You boys want this? Well," She threw it up into the air and served it like it was a volleyball, and everyone watched as it soared into the air, out over the ocean, "Go get it."
The Aurochs were about to oblige when they saw it fall from the air and hit something in the water. When Tidus lifted his head, Rayne leaned back against the rock and watched the scene unfold, zoning out when the boy had reached shore. 'So, he has come. Which means Auron may still very well be alive, and we will meet him soon, in Luca. And we will go to Zanarkand, where my baby will…'
"Hey!" She shook her head and snapped out of it, facing Wakka and Tidus, who were looking at her with odd looks on their faces. Wakka waved to her, "You alright?"
Rayne nodded and stood straight, "So, this is the Sin boy."
"It's Tidus." He automatically answered. "Who're you?"
Wakka smacked the back of Tidus's head, "Show some respect. This is Lady Rayne."
Rayne laughed a little, then walked forward and reached out with her hand, "You can drop the 'Lady'. Wakka just never outgrew calling me that."
Tidus nodded and took her hand, shaking it. "Nice to meet ya, Rayne."
She nodded, "Pleasure to meet you, Tidus."
When they stopped, Wakka took a step backwards, "I was just takin' him back to Besaid to get him somethin' to eat. You comin', Lady Rayne?"
Rayne sighed and smiled, "I believe I will."
As they walked, Tidus looked around him with his jaw dropped. Rayne saw this and chuckled, "Enjoying the scenery of Besaid?"
Not looking away, he nodded, "Yeah…"
When they had arrived at the cliff above the waterway, Rayne stood back and watched Wakka push Tidus in, then dive in after him. She walked to the edge and the orange haired blitzer waved up at her, "We'll meet you there, ya?"
She nodded as they swam off, then took a moment to look at her reflection in the water. Even if ten years in Besaid hadn't changed her mentally, it had physically. She was still wearing the same style of outfit she had bought in Luca, but it was now made of the Besaid fabrics, which were far more comfortable. She still had her hair done up in the same fashion that Rikku had done it, but years under the Besaid sun had made it a bit darker, and several years of stress had assured the presence of streaks of grey. Her eyes were still blue, but instead of icy like they used to be, they were darker, almost navy. She had also gained a bit of weight, which was actually an improvement, seeing as she had almost been a stick when she had arrived in Spira.
Despite everything, though, Rayne was happy with the changes. It made her feel… more Spiran, and she was happier in Spira than she had been at home. True, she missed her brother and family, but… this place seemed to fit better. Then again, maybe that was just her motherly instincts for Yuna talking; they always spoke in favor of Spira.
Rayne snapped out of her reverie and looked up, catching a glimpse of Tidus and Wakka disappearing around a corner. She sighed and turned, taking the scenic route back, where she had only a few encounters with fiends. Over the years, Rayne had cut back quite a bit on training and had all but forgotten her Sphere Grid, but she still head out to fight, every now and then. And, despite her irregular appearances, she fiends still knew her, and the smart ones avoided her.
When she made it to where Wakka's water route came back to the land on the ledge that overlooked the village, she sat on the ancient railing and looked over the edge, waiting for them to appear. Not long after, Tidus and Wakka came trudging up the hill, water dripping from their clothes, and playfully pushing each other. When they saw her, they walked over.
She stood and turned to them, smiling and nodding to Tidus, "Welcome to the Besaid Aurochs."
They froze and watched her walk away, Tidus mumbling when he thought she was out of earshot, "How did she know? Did you tell her?"
Wakka sighed and shook his head, "Nah, that's just Lady Rayne. She always seems to know. It's like she's psychic, or something. But she can't be; she's a terrible card player."
They shared a quick and nervous laugh, which was quickly ended when Rayne turned and smirked, "Wakka, I've been letting you win all of these years. Now let's go, I'm getting hungry, as well." She walked off with a smile, imagining the looks on their faces as they ran after her. Along the way back, they were caught up in a few engagements, but Rayne sat all of them out. When they arrived at the village, Wakka held Tidus behind to show him the prayer, but Rayne walked ahead and went to the hut.
She found a pot of stew boiling on the fire, so she made herself a small bowl and ate quickly, washing it afterwards and walking to the Temple. When she had walked inside, several people stopped their prayers and turned to bow to her. "Lady Rayne."
The Temple monk heard this and walked up to where she was standing, her staring at the entrance to the Cloister, her eyes half lidded as she listened to the Hymn of the Fayth. "Are you going in?" He asked in a low voice, "They've been down there for some time."
Rayne shook her head, "Yevon willing, she will succeed. She has the heart and soul for it. She's just taking her time, not wanting to mess it up. Besides, you and I have no clue what goes on in there, or how difficult it is. It is her first aeon, after all."
The monk nodded and backed away, leaving Rayne to gaze at the Cloister. No matter how calm she may have sounded, she was frightened. Sure, she knew the outcome, but she didn't know the process. These years in Spira had taught her much about Yevon, and she knew how much having faith in Yevon cost. So, yes, she was worried, but she wasn't about to show it to that monk. She never had liked Yevon much, anyway…
She turned as the Temple doors opened and Tidus walked in, shaking his head when he had to adjust to the changes in lighting. When he saw her, he walked up cautiously, whispering, "What is this place?"
Rayne turned back to the Cloister, "The Temple of Besaid; a Temple of Yevon." She looked at him again, "You have come on Wakka's suggestion to pray for relief from the Toxin, no?" He hesitated, then nodded. "Then pray to one of the statues. I suggest that one." She pointed to the newly added statue of Braska, knowing what would happen when he walked towards it.
He did, and the monk began talking to him, a collective gasp as he babbled about Sin's Toxin. She sighed and shook her head. An annoying scene from the game, but, she supposed, a necessary one. He walked around and talked to a few people, then walked back to her. "What's a summoner?" He flinched as the people gasped again.
"One who summons." She replied. She could have laughed; she always wanted to make that sarcastic answer. And she did laugh when he looked at her blankly, "They are those who pray to the fayth in order to obtain power. The statues of four of the greatest are in this temple," she gestured to the statues of Braska, Gandof, Ohalland, and Yocun, "and the statue of the first and her husband are above those." She gestured to Yunalesca and Zaon.
He nodded, still not really understanding. She sighed, "Go back to the hut and have a rest. You can explore more later." He nodded and walked out.
After a few moments, the monk walked over to her and muttered, "I'm going to speak with the other guardian. Will you oversee the Temple?" When she nodded, he walked out. After he had left and she was sure that all of the people were deeply in prayer, Rayne walked up the stairs and entered the Cloister, deciding to wait for Tidus's arrival.
She was standing in the back and staring at the grey walls around her for about an hour before she heard the doors to the Cloister open and slam, followed by the klotz of boots as Tidus ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. He had just entered the square room containing the Besaid Sphere when she walked up behind him and twisted his arm behind his back, pinning him to the wall.
"Uwah! Lemme go!"
"Fool!" She hissed in his ear, "What are you doing here?"
"Rayne?! Argh, they said that the summoner has been down here for too long! Ugh, I was gonna try and help."
"And what could you possibly do, huh? What could you do that we, the guardians, can't?"
"I—! ... Uh… I don't really know…"
She held him for a moment longer, then released him. "Grab the sphere and come with me."
He rubbed his arms, glared at her, but obliged, seeing as he had no clue what he was doing, "Jeez, you sure have a grip for an old woman."
She rolled her eyes, "I'm only twenty-eight, soon to be twenty-nine. That's not that old. Now, place the sphere here." She tapped the groove in the pedestal. He put it in and jumped back as the wall broke apart. He was about to push the pedestal in when she grabbed his arm, "Not just yet. Have you found the Destruction Sphere?" He shook his head and she sighed, "Come with me, then."
She lead him to a glyph, "Touch it." He did, and the wall slid up, revealing another room with a purple sphere. "Grab it and come." She led him back to the room where the Besaid Sphere had been, "Put it in the groove."
He stopped, looked at the sphere in his hand, then turned to her, "Why?"
She groaned, "Just do it!"
He did, hesitantly, and watched as a single purple line shot out of the side and disappeared around the corner, jumping when he heard an explosion a moment later. "What was that?!"
"Let's go see, shall we?"
They walked down the corridor that had previously been a dead end and found the lower half of the back wall had been blown away, revealing a small room with a treasure chest.
"Go on and open it, Tidus."
He did, and he pulled out a finely crafted staff with a ball on top. He studied it, asking as he poked the ball, "What is it?"
"A summoner's staff. It is called the 'Staff of Wisdom'. A powerful and useful weapon. Make sure to give it to the summoner, when you have the chance."
He nodded and sheathed the staff beside his sword. They then walked back to the pedestal, where he was about to push it in when Wakka pulled him into a headlock. Rayne sighed and pushed it in herself, leaving them to argue. When the lift had formed, they had finished talking and jumped on, while Rayne calmly walked on after them.
Wakka started talking about Lulu's temper and, when the lift had reached the bottom, was still going on about it. Rayne walked off first, followed by Wakka and Tidus, and two sets of eyes fell on them when they walked into the small circular room.
Lulu turned to them and raised a questioning brow, "Rayne? Wakka? What, didn't trust us with this?"
Rayne grunted and walked towards the entrance to the Chamber, standing directly in front of it at staring, not saying a word. She heard voices talking behind her, but they ceased when the Chamber opened and Yuna shakily walked out. She collapsed, nearly busting her head on the stairs, and everyone gasped. Rayne made to move, but Kimahri beat her to it and caught Yuna. Yuna then stood and flipped her hair back, looking around and smiling as a trickle of sweat ran down her face.
"I did it. I have become a summoner."