Cuttingmoon57 here, and back with chapter twenty-eight of The Tainted Grimoire. And as a side note, any beliefs expressed throughout my story are not my own. They are simply unique to the characters and their personalities. Just wish to clarify that.

Credit for making sure this gaggle of words is somewhat coherent goes to Supreme Distraction. Every writer who wants to be taking seriously should have a beta, and now I have mine. Hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy or anything related to it. If I did, FF12 would already be getting a direct PS2 or PS3 sequel. I also don't own any other anime, manga, or game that I take elements or characters from.

Suggestion: Head to Final Fantasy Wikia for information or images of the main cast if you'd like to see pictures of their appearance. They remain virtually unchanged in my story. (Other non-canon characters will be described.)

"Blah" = talking

"Blah"= thoughts, writing, sound effects, or flashbacks

"BLAH"= Yelling

(Blah)= scene change


"OGMA! LOOK OUT!"

The Bangaa turned around just as the Behemoth's massive claws slammed right into his side, fragments of the armor plates around the impact site splintering off. His body was blown right into the remains of Nivus's ice wall, cracking the ice upon collision before falling to the stone beneath.

Without giving either Gerland or Nivus time to react, it charged the few feet in between it and its targets.

Without forethought, Professor Augustus threw his body between it and Luso, his hands stretched out wide as to symbolize the prevention of passage.

"YOU SHALL NOT PA-"

And without the slightest of hesitation, the Behemoth brought its claws down in a vertical arc, piercing the fragile skin of the Nu Mou Sage.

Augustus takes the blow for Luso!


Professor Augustus

Even in the ever encroaching Mist

There is hope

Chapter Thirty Three: The Mistwalker 3


"Professor!" Gerland called out in a desperate cry, both he and Nivus sprinting the to the Nu Mou's position. As he viewed the man's form, the Behemoth's claws dug deep into his left shoulder and preparing to strike again, he became overridden with a since of guilt and failure. "This was the worst possible outcome!"

"STAY WHERE YOU ARE!"

The force of Professor Auggie's shout was so powerful that not only did the two Templar halt in their tracks, but the assailant itself paused as well. He looked on at the Sage, confusion evident on his facial features, until Auggie continued speaking, the area now completely silent.

The old spellcaster's eyes seemed to glow amongst the eerie Mist, his ashen orbs full of a sort of righteous anger; all direct straight at the Behemoth. His voice was low and vigorous.

"Aero."

Instantaneously, there was a massive explosion of wind right at their feet, so powerful that it blew the Behemoth into the air, unfortunately ripping its claws from shoulder as well. Auggie managed to ignore the pain, solely devoted to eliminating the threat of the monster, which collided with the ground over twenty feet away.

Gerland and Nivus looked on in silent wonder as he wasted not a precious second, pointing his staff in the beast's direction. As opposed to previous times, his voice was now quiet and calm when he whispered.

"Flare…"

The Behemoth's position shone brightly, and in the same instant erupted in a violent outburst of Mist-wrought flames. The Templar duo, even with the large gap in distance, could feel the fire's heat on their armor covered backs. They slowly turned around to face its direction.

An empty, circle shaped depression in the ground stood where they beast had, managing to had scorched the already charred ground. In the center, the Behemoth's seared body, covered from head to toe in burned scales, the spell so effective as to fuse scale and flesh together in some areas through sheer heat alone. Even the fluid from its eyes, once a piercing green, was now all but evaporated, leaving them charred. Lingering smoke rose from nearly every surface of the blast site.

"Amazing..." Gerland remarked inwardly. "For a Flare spell to be this powerful without an incantation…"

"I will not allow anything to touch this boy." The Nu Mou remarked aloud, dropping to his staff, sinking to his knees, and placing a hand on his shoulder wound all in the same motion.

"Professor, are you alright?" Gerland queried, both he and Nivus rushing over to the Sage. The 'Firewyrm' knelt down beside him, while his brother remained standing.

"I am quite fine." He answered with shortness of breath, successfully raising himself to his feet. Using his staff as a walking stick, he gradually began to make his way over to Luso, who still remained unconscious, legs and arms still cut open as per the surgery. "Now if you will excuse me, I must return to work."

"No, professor!" Augustus stopped his forward progress as Gerland protested aloud, still facing away from the Bangaa. Even Nivus looked on at his sibling in confusion. "You clearly fail to understand the severity of your wounds."

"Oh this? It's actually quite shallow. It can wait-"

"Professor, these wounds are anything but shallow! Even a child could tell that. You must-"

"Either way it will be fine. Now, take your positions. We must continue…"

"Absolutely not!" The Templar interrupted for the last time, his voice reaching its peak in volume and effectiveness. "You clearly fail to understand the severity of this situation. You are very well critically injured, we are in hostile territory, our leader has not returned, and Ogma has been rendered unconscious." He pointed to his downed brother, who lay sprawled face down on the stone. "Our dilemma is too great to continue on with this procedure. We must quickly find an exit and…"

Gerland's voice trailed off as a magical pressure gradually enveloped the area, its force so great that it not only brought him to his knees, but shook the surrounding ground as well. His eyes widened and his mouth parted in surprise as Augustus, the source of the pressure, continued facing forward, his voice now considerably much darker than before, regardless that his tone had not changed.

"You're a hundred years too early to tell me what to do."

Beads of sweat rolled down the side of the Bangaa's snout, and fear began to overcome him as the Sage's ashen eyes turned to focus on him.

"The Nethicite and Magicite crystals I've placed in his body have already been activated. If we were to abort the procedure now, there would be no starting over. It must be completed now, or he will never be able to use Mist. I will not permit that outcome."

The spellcaster turned back around and headed towards Luso without another word. The Templar stared blankly at him, then stood to his feet, though a strong hand from Nivus held him back, the brother shaking his head. Gerland stood still for a second before making up his mind, clenching his fist and walking towards Luso as well.

"I have the most experience with magic among my brothers. I will assist you."

Augustus simply smiled, forcibly hiding the pain his wounds caused, before heading straight back into the surgery, pointing where he wanted Gerland to begin.

….

The Reaver, a slightly larger and more powerful offshoot of the Behemoth kind. Their origins are unknown to even the most studious of scholars, though they are revered by many as a creature of the spirit world itself. The green scales that covered their form, toughened to a firmness that can stop a blade, strike terror into all that lay eyes upon it. Blood stains its gruesome claws. A beast of pure, animalistic pride and sadistic nature whose cruelty knows no bounds.

Brought to a state of absolute dread in front of the brown haired Hume Male before it.

Judgemaster Cid breathed out a heavy, labored series of breath, implanting his SavetheQueen into the charred rock bed beneath his armored feet and using it as a ballast to support his weight.

"Hmm…seems like you guys managed to get me a few times." The Hume chuckled lightly, placing a hand over the shallow scars in his breastplate. "Very impressive, though unfortunately I should be getting back…"

He retracted his Knightsword from the ground and re-sheathed it, walking straight towards the transfixed Behemoth variant. Then, as if it were nothing, he simply passed it, as if he hadn't even noticed its existence. The Reaver simply allowed him to pass by unhindered, daring not to make a move at him.

The twenty six bodies of its fallen, purple-hued comrades strewed about the area a grim reminder of the consequences of such an action.

"That thing…" The Judgemaster thought, looking back at the odd structure in the center of the canyon while simultaneously sheathing his sword. "There is definitely something out of place about it…" His thoughts wandered back to what Ensei had said the previous day.

"And then…there is the most dangerous Jagd in Jylland, Jagd Zellea." Ensei chimed in, his voice eerily distant, as if recalling a memory. "It's so hazardous that the government has quarantined the Jagd off entirely, forbidding all entry. There have been rumors that there's something there they don't want the populace to know of…" He received a quirked eyebrow from the Hume Cid, then shrugged in response. "…though those are only rumors."

Cid narrowed his eyes, dashing off in his group's direction at the utmost speed.

"I'll be sure to look into these rumors."

(Jagd Zellea, Outer Rim Isles)

A single Great Tortoise waddled along with heavy steps as it made its way southward. Its vision was completely obscured by the heavy amount of Mist, so thick that vision past more than a hundred feet was impossible. Undaunted, it continued along for the next few minutes until it spotted what looked to be the edge of a cliff. Its suspicions were confirmed upon approaching the edge and looking down in wonder at the one hundred foot drop beneath, ending in rocky spires that climbed from the billowing, pitch black waters.

The boisterous sound of a foghorn averted its attention away from the cliff's bottom. It brought its toughened head up and stared out into the distance, where a large shadow hid behind a fog of Mist. It would poke out from the fog every so often, revealing a sizeable, metal clad galleon.

Its color was comprised of navy blue with its borders a solid white. Cannons were placed all along the main deck, and a rotating turret sat at its center, scanning the cliff side as the ship sailed parallel to the cliff through the black waters. Emblazoned on the main sail of the ship was the elaborate, crimson-hued crest of the Jylland Defenders of the Peace.

…..

A lone Moogle Tinker sat atop the deck railing, staring out into the distance, full of Mist and the Jagd Zellea cliff side. Silence was prevalent around him, excluding the white noise generated from the ship of the engine, the parting waters below, and the general cries of beasts from the Jagd.

"Bensom, what are you doing up this early?"

Upon hearing his name called, the brown furred Moogle's ears shot up, and he turned his head around to face the man.

His eyes rested on an average sized Hume Male, averaging at six feet tall. Platemail armor covered his chest, torso, thighs, and feet; all placed over a thick white, loose fitting shirt with matching pants. A long white coat was draped over his shoulders, flowing down until it reached the back of his knees. His short grey hair and trimmed beard were the signs of his age, and his fatherly voice put the Moogle at ease as he approached.

Jylland Defenders of the Peace, Captain: Roland Fallhorn

"Just thought I'd relax on deck before beginning the morning inspection." Bensom answered, turning back to his previous position. Roland joined him, resting his arms on the railing and staring out at the scenery. A comfortable silence ensued for a full minute, both enjoying the company, when the captain decided to ask a question.

"What do you make of the area around here, Bensom?"

"What do you mean?"

"Look over there." The Moogle focused on the area the Hume pointed at, a small isle jutting from the water around it. On the half closest to their ship, slightly withered but otherwise healthy grass rose from the ground, while the opposite half held nothing but the familiar charred soil that had become a symbol of the region. This pattern began to repeat itself throughout other small islands that they passed, though in varying degrees. "See the grass growing? What do you make of it?"

"I don't understand." Bensom admitted, eyeing the phenomenon with a curious eye. "According to all the books we have on this area, plant life shouldn't be able to grow here at all."

"As we are led to believe." Roland spoke cryptically, a grin playing at his lips. "In truth, many years ago, the terrain here was quite hospitable for such fauna." He pointed his finger once again at an island. "You can tell just by how the soil abruptly stops. The grass isn't growing from the soil at all. The grass was there to begin with."

"So you're implying that something turned the soil into this current state?"

"Exactly." Roland grinned again, patting the Moogle on the back. "Unfortunately, because of government's quarantine on the area, we'll not get a chance to test that hypothesis."

"Captain Roland!" A Nu Mou exclaimed from behind them, hurrying towards the duo as best he could. Both turned to face him as he arrived, his breath shallow. "Our vessel has been reassigned as a prison transport. We're to return to headquarters at once."

"This is a warship, not an escort. Blasted…." Roland let out a sigh, figuratively biting his tongue. "Who's the prisoner that we're leaving our post for?"

"The report didn't give a name, sir. Just that he's from the Galleria Deep."

Roland sighed again, rubbing his temples.

"Alright, let's not waste time. Inform the navigator to plot a course back to headquarters."

The Nu Mou straightened his posture, then saluted.

"Aye!"

(Jagd Zellea, Footfalls of Despair)

Professor Augustus sat along the outside of the magic circle, staring down the brown haired Hume in the center, lying unconscious. Gerland sat directly across from him on the other side, while Nivus remained in the area, on the look out for any sign of another Behemoth offensive.

"Are you ready? This will be the most difficult and painstaking part of the procedure." Augustus queried grimly. The Templar gave him a sharp nod, confirming his understanding.

The Nu Mou slapped his palms onto the circle's surface.

"Let's begin."

Instantaneously, his hands as well as the circle became covered in ocean of minute, blue electrical sparks, growing more powerful with each passing second. Underneath, the circle itself began to glow a bright, tinted yellow, giving an ethereal glow to both the area and Luso himself. As all of this was taking place, Augustus began to chant aloud.

"Encircling Mist, distant thunder, the crystal which divides the light. Dancing fire, restless ocean, sea of clouds, the steadfast earth." The electricity and light continued to build up with each passing word. "Ye who bares the name of man, spread your arms and embrace all creation!"

Gerland moved his eyes over to Luso as Auggie completed the incantation. He expected to see some sort of soothing magical power envelop him.

Instead his ears received the sound of a bloodcurdling scream.

The most powerful, gruesome feeling washed over the young Hume, and his back arched reflexively. He screamed until his voice broke and his eyes rolled back in his head until nothing could be seen but white, the pain so excruciating as to have broken the sleep spell previously placed upon him.

"What's going on, professor?" Gerland queried hastily, confused at the boy's current state.

"This is the last part of the process, magically welding the Magicite and Nethicite into his body." The Nu Mou answered, his palms still placed flat and continuing to feed the circle power. "Unfortunately, it causes every neuron in his body go off at once continuously." He turned his eyes to the Bangaa. "Think of the most excruciating pain you've ever felt before. His is greater still."

"Then, what is wrong with you?" The Templar asked again, taking note of the Sage's strained visage, beads of sweat rolling down the side of his face.

"In order to supply power to this process, I must partly connect my body as well. Thankfully, I only take a small portion of what he's feeling." Gerland watched on as the professor's shoulder wound began to continue spurting blood. The Nu Mou grudgingly turned his head towards Luso, watching as he slipped out of consciousness once more.

"You can make it, boyyou have toor you'll die."

(Aldanna Range, Lezaford's Cottage)

Lezaford let out an exhale of relief as he placed his age body in his desk chair, scooting the piece of furniture forward. It was quiet all throughout the cottage; Clan Gully having offered to hunt for the night's meal.

The Revgaji glanced over at Luso's journal, which sat on the northeast corner of the desk. He placed a withered hand on the elaborate golden ring which graced its front and dragged it to a more readable distance in front of him. Then, he pushed open the cover.

Lezaford leaned forward and progressed to the next page of Luso's journal. As his fingers parted and flipped the thin sheets and as his pupils skimmed over the text, his gradually began to widen. He closed the tome softly, laying it down onto the table after having his fill of reading. The Rev leaned back in his chair, folding his hands and letting out a withered sigh as he stared into his ceiling.

"It has begun."

Just as he spoke those three words, the journal sized book began glowing, grabbing the spellcasters attention once more. He hastily returned to the last of the text filled pages, and watched as the words began to fade with each passing moment. As the last few words left that page, he flipped backwards, the same phenomenon beginning at the bottom and working its way upwards.

His story was beginning to fade.

(Jagd Zellea, Footfalls of Despair)

Auggie brought his hands upward, removing them from the surface of the magic circle. Then, he swiftly brought them together in a clap. At that exact moment, the electricity running throughout the circle traveled towards the edge, containing itself around its circumference. A few seconds passed, and the voltage dissipated, running into the surrounding ground.

"And now…for the finale."

As the Nu Mou said those words, both he and Gerland looked up at the spot above Luso's body. A dense cloud of Mist hovered thirty or so feet above him, swirling violently. It was so large that the Bangaa was perplexed as to how he hadn't noticed its presence previously.

It's swirling increased in the following moments, eventually beginning to spiral down into what seemed like the formation of a tornado. It picked up speed as it grew closer to the boy, and upon making contact with the ground erupted in a blinding, golden explosion of Mist and gale force winds, causing both Bangaa and Nu Mou to shield their respective eyes.

"What now, Professor?" Gerland queried.

"The welding of the Magicite and Nethicite was successful." The Nu Mou replied, the Mist and winds dying down as time passed. "They are absorbing this area's Mist as we speak, and are converting it to power for his muscles."

"So then we are victorious?" The Bangaa asked, his voice elated.

"Yes, I believe so." The Sage replied with a reserved smile. Both males watched on as the winds and Mist cleared, revealing more of the area. Regardless, the Mist was still too thick near the area for Auggie to see Luso properly, but Gerland could just make out the silhouette of the boy lying on the ground, completely motionless.

Once the area was clear enough, Gerland took a few careful steps towards him, cautious not to make any movements that might trigger some negative reaction. He could now make out the boy's form, mouth agape with eyes rolled back as to leave nothing but white. It made the Templar cringe at just the thought of the amount of pain he must have had to endure.

Auggie decided to follow in the Bangaa's footsteps a few seconds later, the Mist around Luso now clear enough for his sense to function. As he approached, he noticed something very odd.

"Why…isn't he moving?"

"Luso…" Gerland spoke softly, his race's naturally gruff voice managing to overcome what little delicateness was intended. He reached for the lance he had previously placed on his back, and nudged his limp body with the butt of the spear. "Come on, Luso…wake up."

Again, after receiving no response, The Templar removed his finely crafted helmet and took to his knees, placing a scaly hand on the boy's forehead and the side of his own head to right side of his chest.

It would be a few moments later that his eyes would widen, and realization would dawn.

"Professor! He has no pulse!"

Auggie's ashen colored eyes grew dark and his visage grew grim. Even Nivus, who had been standing guard throughout the procedure, turned to them in horror.

"I was foolish to think a boy so young could handle this." The Nu Mou darted at the boy with all the swiftness his legs could provide before accidentally stumbling over a rock and falling down. He was beginning to feel the Behemoth's wound he received earlier, compounded by his old age. With all his might, he feebly crawled over to Luso as Gerland preformed rudimentary CPR, forgoing the breathing treatment and focus solely on pumping down on his rib cage. "Gerland, stand aside."

"What can we do professor?" The reptilian warrior queried, obeying the Sage's orders just as the Nu Mou reached the chocolate haired boy.

The Professor cast off whatever fatigue and pain he had, slapping his hands together and producing a large clap sound. Then, he began to rub them together vertically. Electric sparks built up little by little as the rubbing grew more furious, and when they had reached their full capacity, he slammed his palms down on the teen's chest.

Instantaneously, the boy's entire body jumped violently, as a violent shockwave ripped through him. A second later, his body grew limp once more, the color continuing to drain from his face. The Nu Mou tried once more, building up electricity between his palms and slamming it down on him.

"I see. He's trying to jump start his heart." Gerland remarked inwardly, watching as Auggie continued the action over and over, each time to no avail. "But he's clearly at his limit. He can't generate the required amount." Blood began to drip down the corner of the professor's mouth, and the open wound on his shoulder flowed forth like a fresh spring. "And using your bare hands for something like this, the voltage would shock you just as much as Luso. At this rate he could go into cardiac arrest himself. There has to be another way. Think…think…"

He looked around desperately before he laid eyes on the still unconscious form of his brother Ogma.

And the Gae Bolg laying next to him.

"Nivus, toss me Ogma's spear!"

It took Nivus less than five seconds to catch on to his sibling's idea, and the remainder of that time was spent grabbing hold of Ogma's signature weapon and tossing it into the air towards Gerland. The fire wielding Templar thrust a hand into the air, managing to catch the middle of the spear. He simultaneously stood up and twirled it above his head, before slamming its butt right on Luso's chest.

Auggie jumped back in realization as well, scooting back a few feet. Gerland gripped the spear tightly, then pumped magical energy into the spear.

Luso's body thrashed harder than it ever had before, actually managing to reflexively push the spear from him. Gerland jumped backwards, giving a space of ten feet between them, and he watched as the boy continued to convulse before eventually settling down.

All grew quiet as the electricity died down. Augustus watched Gerland in wonder as the Bangaa walked carefully towards Luso once more, his brother's Gae Bolg in hand.

"He used his brother's lightning elemental spear in combination with a magical burst to produce the current we needed."

Gerland knelt down beside Luso and place a gentle hand on his rib cage, which rose and fell with each breath that entered and exited his lungs.

A gentle beat resounded every second.

Gerland flashed Augustus a smile.

The Nu Mou returned it in full force, standing to his feet and brushing off his robes.

"Gather our belongings. Once the Judgemaster returns, we're heading for the portal."

(Aldanna Range, Lezaford's Cottage)

Lezaford threw his cellar door open with his free hand, the other occupied by Luso's journal. He pelted down the creaking, wooden stairs as fast as his age would allow, arriving soon at the bottom, his feet landing on the green, emerald like stone that comprised the room's entire surface.

"I must find them immediately before the boy's life force withers away."

He moved normally across the room, wholly unaffected by the thickness of the lingering Mist and the still prevalent, dark energies of the Jagd that leaked through the portal. He stopped near the pedestal on the outside of the circle that held up the large Magicite stone.

"How much time do I have?" He opened the journal once more, preparing to judge his remaining time based on how many pages had not faded along with the rate at which the words disappeared. However, upon opening its pages, his eyes widened considerably.

All the pages' lost words had been restored.

"W-W…What?"

Suddenly, and without warning, the entire magic circle at the center of the room exploded in a shimmering burst of light and winds, blinding the vision of the Revgaji. His loose robe began to wave about with the breeze generated, and his hands shielded his eyes from the blinding illumination.

The circle's activity died down a dozen seconds later, and the great wizard peered into the giant cloud of Mist that surrounded the five silhouettes at the center.

Lezaford looked on at Professor Augustus, who used his Staff of the Magi as ballast to support himself, the three Templar who each held all the boxes of equipment used, and finally the Judgemaster himself, who carried the unconscious body of Luso Clemens in his arms.

The old Rev could hear the light snoring emanating from the boy's throat.

He stepped forward, a smirk sticking out from his snow white beard.

"Welcome back."

The surgery is a success! What did Luso gain?


(End Chapter Thirty Three)

Character Corner

("Thundrake" Ogma)

Job: Templar/Dragoon

Race: Bangaa (Faas)

Hair Color: None

Eye Color: Yellow

Skin/Fur Color: Bronze

(Description)

One of the three Judgemaster Personal Guardsmen and adoptive brother of Gerland and Nivus. Due to his proficiency with lightning based abilities, he was given the epithet 'Thundrake'. It is emphasized in his signature attack: Using the Dragoon's Jump ability in conjunction with lightning magic. Those who witness it are quoted as "like seeing a lightning bolt."

"Finally some action!"

Ogma, excited about laying waste to the Archbishop guardsmen.

(Likes and Dislikes)

Likes: Lightning storms, fighting

Favorite Food and Drink: Behemoth Steak, Ale

Hates: Not being able to move about or exercise

Dreams: To become a Judge in the Jylland Defenders of the Peace

Favorite Color: Yellow

(Trivia)

-Ogma derives his name from a recurring dragon in the Final Fantasy series.

-He and his brothers represent the three basic magic elements of the series: fire, ice, and lightning, and each receive their epithet from the corresponding elemental dragon

-Ogma is of the Faas subdivision of Bangaa (introduced in FF12), known for their athletic ability.

-Ogma and his two brothers were actually an idea drawn from the original FFTA. In the game, upon finishing the mission where you first rescue Ezel Berbier, a cut scene plays where Judgemaster Cid arrives to arrest the Nu Mou personally. Accompanying him in the cut scene are three Bangaa Templar. Ogma, Gerland, and Nivus are based on these three Templar.


(Author's Notes)

Alright, sorry for the wait on this one guys. I was at a camp retreat for two weeks, so I didn't have access to a computer. Other than that, not much to say. Look forward to the next chapter, as Luso's abilities as well as other things will be fully explained.

And cheers for the return of character corner!