Cuttingmoon57 here, and back with chapter thirty-four 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)= scene change
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.
The six return from Jagd Zellea!
Chapter Thirty Four: Revelations
Augustus trekked at a gradual pace down the flight of balcony stairs, the wooden steps with every contact between them, his feet, and the oak-hewn crutch the Nu Mou had been 'prompted' to use, despite his protests to the Judgemaster and Ensei. Upon reaching the bottom step, he made a right and stopped before a door just to the left of the staircase. A small yank on the handle granted him entrance.
Warm morning sunlight poured in through the room's only, on the far side of his entrance. Just under it, a plain wooden bed frame with a mattress and heavy quilt lay perpendicular. The room itself was quite sparse, the landscape painting hanging on the east wall, the table and worn rug at the center, and the nightstand to the right of the bed being the only attempts at interior design.
A single, blonde-haired White Mage knelt down beside his bed, a Unicorn Staff leaning to the left of her, her head capped with an ivory-hued wizard hat. Her hands were coated with an aura of the purest white, and she traced them little by little over the hump in the covers. As the door clicked behind him, she turned around, relieved at the sight of his arrival. She moved to the side, giving him a warm greeting, which he returned in full.
He traversed the expanse of the room slowly, cautiously gripping the small vial of red liquid in his hands. The boy beneath its covers turned his head towards the oncoming Nu Mou, staring hesitantly at the mixture.
"Here, drink this." The Professor coaxed, kneeling beside his bed and offering him the concoction. "It will help to numb the pain."
Luso sat up, brought his hand from underneath the covers, and grabbed the bottle. The warm fluid left a burning sensation in his throat, though he overcame it with no problem. Coughing, he handed the vile back to Auggie, and pulled the remainder of the bedspread off of his body, turning around so that his legs dangled off the bed's side.
"Does all medicine have to taste terrible?" He asked innocently.
"That's how you know it works, my boy." The Professor responded wryly, handing the bottle to Kanin. She grasped it delicately. "Thank you for taking the time to heal him, Kanin."
"No trouble at all." The girl responded in a pleasant tone. She then turned to Luso, an innocent smile plastered on her face. "Oh, and Luso?" The boy faced her, his eyebrow raised in a curious and slightly wary fashion.
He hadn't even the time to finish before the blunt crown of Kanin's Unicorn Staff crashed down onto his brown haired head. He let out a comically horrid scream, clutching his cranium in pain.
She had already reached the door by the time he had recovered from the initial shock. The White Mage faced him, and they both locked eyes. It was at that moment, that Luso noticed a tear building up on the far corner of her left eye. She spoke softly.
"If you ever die on me again, I'll kill you."
And with that, she exited, the room falling deathly silent. There was a pause of five seconds, before Luso spoke, his voice bewildered.
"Women are scary, Professor Augustus."
"Yes, my boy. Yes they are." The Professor cleared his throat, then turned to the boy. "So tell me. How are you feeling?"
"A little better." The boy admitted, working out the kinks in his arms by winding them around. "Lezaford wasn't kidding when he said it would be the most painful experience I've ever had."
"Indeed. Though that suffering yielded fruit beyond measure." He paused, smiling. "You are now the second of two people in this country that are able to channel Mist throughout their entire body."
"Awesome." Luso remarked, his blue eyes brightening before a curious look crossed his face. "But…what's going to happen? How do I work it anyway?"
"Well I suppose I should start from the beginning. Listen closely." Augustus said after releasing a curt chuckle. "As you've already learned, the two main types of energy in our world are Aura and Mist. Aura is the energy of emotion; the spirit, if you will. It is the power that comes from inside you, projected into a practical use, and is used mainly by non-magical classes such as Fighters. The Air Render you used to defeat Vaticus Finch is a solid example."
Luso listened intently as the Nu Mou spoke on.
"Mist is the physical form of the energy all around us, invisible in all but the most concentrated areas such as these mountains or Jagd Zellea, used by Mages to power their spells. It is absorbed from the outside into the body, then acts as fuel for the magic." Augustus brought his right hand up and snapped his fingers. Instantly a magical fire burned, floating a few inches above his fingers. Luso stared in wonder. "In short, Aura comes from within and Mist comes from the outside, from nature. Both energies can be used by anyone with the proper training, thought most people are born with an affinity for one or the other."
"I'm starting to get it now." Luso spoke. "Though if anyone can use both, why am I the only person who can't?"
"That, I cannot answer, child." Augustus answered gravely. "In exchange for my sight, I was given the ability to see the Mist at every concentration, even within the bodies of living beings. When I previously looked at you, though, there was not a trace. There is something about you that prevents you from using the Mist. Unfortunately, our time together is short, so I could not perform a proper analysis."
"Could it be that it's because I'm from another world?" The chocolate haired boy thought to himself. "But now I can, with the Mist Channeling, right?"
"Correct, but not in the way that you think." Luso quirked an eyebrow, and the Nu Mou continued. "In the past, before I became the dean at the Moorabella Academy of the Magic Arts, I was a professor that intently studied this 'Mist' phenomenon. It was after many months of study that I discovered that, given the right conditions, Mist could be used for more than just powering spells. It would be a breakthrough in the field, though my discovery was baseless without the proper means to experiment. I placed many requests at various locations and pubs, looking for someone to help me. Of course, being a public request, I had to include all the details of what would happen. After weeks of searching, I could not find a single person brave enough to help me."
Augustus turned around and planted himself onto the bed beside Luso.
"It was sometime later that a single male Hume came offering to become the test subject, unable to use the Mist his body naturally absorbed and hoping to gain the power that followed a successful operation. At last, I had found the man I needed, and with Lezaford's assistance, I located the only area in which the Mist was suitable: Jagd Zellea."
The Professor continued on with the tale, Luso completely captivated with the story.
"Much like yesterday, we entered the Jagd. The surgery was successful in the end, though thanks to a miscalculation, the Hume suffered tremendously, much more than you did yesterday." Luso cringed at just the thought of a pain more gruesome than what he had experienced.
"With the success, he gained the ability to channel the Mist throughout his body. During the operation, I fused a Magicite-Nethicite mixture into his body, an action which is just under rewriting DNA. These crystals are able to both produce and absorb Mist, so if they were fused into the body, the body would then be able to absorb it directly as well. His muscles, his senses; every fiber of his being was raised to new levels." He paused, smiling at Luso. "And everything that I performed on him, I repeated with you, Luso."
"Cool!" The boy explained, hopping from the bed and inspecting his body with his eyes. "So what do I do? I don't feel any different."
"Alright, alright, hold on, child." The Nu Mou chuckled. "First of all, close your eyes and calm yourself, and simply focus." Luso did as he was told, shutting his eyelids and relaxing as much as he could in his standing position. He took solid, prolonged breaths, then waited for further instructions. Augustus continued. "Now, what do you feel?"
"My body feels…light, easy to move." Luso answered, slowly moving his arm through the air.
"Good, that is a good sign. Now…keep your eyes closed, and continue to focus." Augustus spoke, eyes darting over to his Staff of the Magi. Suddenly, yet in complete silence, a small, swirling wind built up around it, causing it to levitated inches from the ground. The staff moved with the wind until it was parallel to the floor and the ceiling, and its blunt end pointed straight in Luso's direction.
Then, without warning, it sped straight for Luso's forehead, tearing silently through the wind like an arrow. It closed the distance in a second, before suddenly Luso's head shifted to the side while he simultaneously brought his arm around. The staff whizzed past him harmlessly, and his hand managed to grasp its shaft before it completely passed him. Feeling the hardened wood in his hand prompted Luso to open his eyes, an amazed but heavily confused look on his face.
"What just happened?"
"With Mist channeling, your entire body is able to absorb and use Mist." The Sage began to explain. "The Mist's magical properties enhance your senses as well as your physical body and reflexes." The Nu Mou paused, as Luso dexterously twirled the staff in his hands, amazed at his new found prowess. "Mist is the physical essence of nature itself. Mages like myself merely convert this Mist into spells."
He smiled at Luso, who stared back at him.
"Those like you, who are able to channel it, truly become one with the Mist…one with nature."
"Ah, Luso. Good to see you up and about." Lezaford remarked with a smile from his desk as Luso and Professor Augustus walked out into the main lobby of the cottage. All around the space stood and sat the members of Clan Gully, all seeming to brighten up as they saw the two males enter.
Kanin and Hurdy jumped from the seats and dashed towards the boy, both enveloping him in the largest embrace they could muster, the former's arms around his torso and head rested in the crook of his neck, the latter paws wrapped around his left leg.
Soon after, everyone else began to wander over to him, beginning with Cheney who opted for a one armed, brotherly hug. Both Ensei and Cid chose less expressive actions, the Parivir ruffling the boy's chocolate locks and the Rev giving him a firm shoulder pat.
Adelle was the last to approach, sauntering casually over to him while holding the Professor's pet Dreamhare between her arms. Her own pet cat walked beside her. The Dreamhare leapt from her to the old Nu Mou, and the Sage gave it a warm embrace. The silver haired girl then turned to Luso, a smirk playing at her lips.
"You just invite me into the clan, and now you want to check out, huh?"
Luso matched her sarcastic grin, closing the distance between them and holding out his fist.
"Just a little set back." She met his fist, and the two Hume's knuckles collided, before sharply snapping them back. "I'm here to stay."
"Indeed, you just might be…" Lezaford remarked aloud, pushing back his chair and raising his withered body from his desk. Walking around, he slowly but surely made a path towards the boy, the Clan Gully members parting the way for him, and upon reaching him, handed Luso his signature, worn journal. The Hume inspected it for a few moments, then looked at the aged Revgaji, and spoke.
"What did you find?"
"So far, only a little more than you have been able to surmise." Lezaford glanced around, taking note of the confused and curious faces of the other Gully members. Luso noticed this as well, then let out a sigh.
"I guess I've been a little late on filling you guys in." He motioned for them to take a seat, and the members did so, curious looks still plastered on their faces, wondering what kind of secret this innocent looking boy could possibly have. Once all were seated, he spoke. "Most, if not all of you, will probably think I'm crazy or making this up, but I think its time I let you know what truly happened to me."
He paused, took a deep breath, and with the straightest face he could perform…
"I'm…from another world."
There was a deafening silence for the next dozen seconds. Luso looked around during this pause in sound, and noticed many confused and disbelieving faces, not to mention one cat themed girl that had doubled over in silent laughter. The boy let out another sigh, and pressed on.
And so he truly began, right from the beginning of his last day on earth. He explained his household: the grandfather that cared for him, his mother that was never there, and his helpful older sister Frimelda that gave up her teenage years to take care of them. He told them of the book that he had been mysteriously drawn to, and that it had ended up saving him just as the house fire had all but taken hope from him. He explained it with the utmost detail, and everyone seemed to be captivated by the story, even drawing Kanin and Hurdy to tears. All noticed, however, that the boy mentioned nothing of a dad, though all decided to leave the topic at bay.
"And so, there you have it." Luso spoke in final. "When I woke up, I was in the middle of the Targ Wood, where Kanin found me. The rest…is history."
Luso walked over to Ensei, holding open the magical journal. The Parivir received it gently, and all gathered around to view its text. True to his words, every event and detail that the boy had spoken was inscribed on the tome's worn pages. Ensei flipped to the last page that had any semblance of text on it, and gazed in wonder upon seeing text magically etching itself onto the new page, its words describing what was taking place at that present time. Luso explained.
"For some reason, I'm connected to this book. Everything major event I do, the book writes down what happens all on its own."
It was after this revelation that the more skeptical people in the room began to find some credibility to the boy's story.
"So what is your current goal, Luso?" Cid asked, still slightly bewildered by the sudden amount of information he had to take in. The boy paused for a moment in deep thought, then answered.
"I guess for right now, it would be to find my grandfather and sister. I wrote all three of our names in the book during the fire. Maybe…there was some chance that they ended up in this world too."
"Oh?" Lezaford spoke, quirking an eyebrow. "You wish not to locate a way back home?"
Luso's face grew immediately grave, and he retrieved the book from Ensei, facing away from the rest of the clan. He spoke in a small, sorrowful voice.
"There would be no home for me to return to."
The room grew uncomfortably silent once more, before Lezaford broke the quiet by clearing his throat.
"Very well, my boy, though…I should warn you." He placed a withered hand on the book's cover. "This tome's design is without a doubt Ivalician in nature. The magic volumes of Ivalice have come to be known for their overwhelming power, sometimes beneficial…sometimes harmful. I cannot stress enough the need to remain alert, lest this book be of the latter category."
Luso stared warily at it, then looked back to the Revgaji, giving him a nod of confirmation.
"You guys leaving already?" Ensei queried as he hoisted a large burlap sack onto his right shoulder and carried it until he reached Gerland, handing it to the flame-wielding Bangaa.
It was now much later in the day, somewhere around the early to mid evening from what Ensei could tell from the position of the dimming sky. The orange-yellow sun was already halfway below the horizon line, turning the normally blue sky into the dark shade of orange it adopted every day at this time. This orange light, reflected by the large volume of Mist that permeated the area, gave the range a similar hue. The shrieking cries of birds resounded every minute or so, their presence further supported by the winged silhouettes in the distance.
"Unfortunately." Gerland responded, taking the bag from the Hume. "If we want to make it on time, we'll have to leave immediately. We're lucky that the Judgemaster planned ahead by coming for the Professor early."
"Aye, lucky indeed." Cid remarked, also helping the with the group's packing process. "Who knows how the whole Galleria situation would have played out without your assistance?"
A few feet away stood Professor Augustus and Lezaford, surrounded by the younger members of Clan Gully and the former using his Staff of the Magi to support himself. Auggie's Dreamhare happily leapt into the arms of Kanin and snuggled her, an action which caused her to giggle.
"It was wonderful to meet every single one of you." The Nu Mou remarked cheerfully. "Hurdy, from what I've heard, you will no doubt make a fine musician in the future. Cheney, your cause for all living creatures is noble. Continue on that path." The Moogle and Hume nodded in gratitude. "Kanin, you have begun to develop in your path to becoming a White Mage, though I would not simply stop there." He smirked. "You have the makings of a great Summoner, my dear."
The girl gasped, her hands slapped over her mouth at the man's comment. The Professor turned to Adelle, and it was Lezaford that spoke this time.
"You, my child, are indeed a special one."
Adelle flipped a stray lock of hair from her face, a confident smirk crossing her face as she replied in a jokingly sarcastic fashion.
"And this surprises you?"
"That confidence suits you, my dear." The old wizard remarked. Auggie faced Luso.
"Listen carefully to me, Luso." The Nu Mou began, the boy perking his ears. "This range naturally contains a high volume of Mist. You'll have to remain in this range until your body grows more accustomed to Mist. It should take around three days, but to be safe, give it about four." He paused, coughing, then continued once his throat was clear. "While you're waiting, I would practice your focus. The activation of channeling requires the utmost calmness. With enough practice, you'll eventually be able to activate it subconsciously."
The Nu Mou directed his eyes to his right where Lezaford's pet hulking monstrosity, the Thundrake Gilmunto, rested. All turned in the same direction, Luso's eyes widening as he laid eyes on the beast. The Professor smirked.
"As a final test, I want you to pet it."
Luso hesitantly nodded without making a sound of protest, knowing full well what Augustus had in mind with this exercise. Earlier, as Lezaford had explained, the dragon had been hostile towards Luso because he lacked Mist, something which it had found threatening. Now that he was able to absorb it…
The Fighter took a few, slow steps in the beasts direction, pausing as the creatures eyes flashed open. Taking a large gulp, he continued his trek, shutting his eyes and calming his breath.
Within seconds, everything became quiet around him. Then, the sound of rushing wind passed by his ears. It wasn't a particularly powerful wind, but he could feel it, hear it on a level unlike any he had before. He could hear the rustling of leaves from the few sparse trees that surrounded the cottage, almost as if they were right by his ears. His entire body felt light, easy to move, just as it had earlier that day. He felt as if he were connected to nature, and without even noticing, he had come to a stop just in front of the dragon.
The golden hued beast eyed the boy warily, snorting every few seconds and maintaining its position. Even with his eyes closed, Luso could feel its eyes on him.
Though, it was strange. In his first encounter with the monster, he had been absolutely overcome with terror. This time, however, at this exact moment, he felt no fear whatsoever. He blindly reached out a hand, easily finding the scaly snout of the dragon, as if he knew where it was. He could feel its heartbeat, the sound of its breathing resounded in his ears.
Upon making contact, Gilmunto showed no hostility towards him. It made no move; its tensed muscles simply relaxing. Luso slowly ran his hand over its scales, amazed at their toughness. Augustus began making his way over to him and arrived just as the boy retracted his hand from the beast.
Luso turned to him, and the Sage stepped forward, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Before, in my vision, you were nothing but a patch of emptiness amidst the Mist floating in the air. Now that the Mist is flowing through your body, I can see your outline just as clearly as everyone else."
He paused, giving the boy a hug, which Luso returned.
"You'll grow into a fine young man. I'm sure of it."
A single Hume Ninja walked down the stone paths of the streets of the Grazton Wharf, his footsteps echoing in the silent docks. The smell of sea salt permeated the air, and small gusts blew some of the looser parts of his dark, purple clothing. The numerous, candle lit streetlamps spaced evenly along the quiet lane did little to assist sight amidst the darkness of the midnight hour.
The Ninja spotted another of its kind, though clad in a similar garment of the darkest cobalt and the most elaborate of linen designs. Various tuffs of his dirty blonde hair flared out from under his hat. The purple clad Ninja stopped a few feet away from the other, the shinobi in blue facing away from him. Both were illuminated by the nearby streetlight candle, the light of the flames dancing across their covered faces.
The blue clad Ninja was the first to speak, his voice deep and husky, contrasting his seemingly light frame.
"What is the report?"
"Dread Raven and his assistant Crow have succeeded in defeating Vaticus Finch." The purple Ninja remarked, standing at attention. "Unfortunately, they have failed to acquire the Whitesilver Magicite, and it has thus fallen into the Judgemaster's hands."
"I see." The blue clad Ninja responded after a momentary silence. "I'll have someone find its location. It'll be up to those two to retrieve it."
The purple clad Ninja bowed in reverence, then leaped in a flash, disappearing into the night.
Two figures walked along a worn, dusty path, lined by towering trees. The wide blue sky lay above them, and at its center, the sun shone brightly overhead. Both figures wore straw conical hats, the shadows they created prevalent enough to shield their faces, and their bodies were hidden under tattered cloaks.
"Hold on, you two."
They stopped in their tracks as they heard the sound of a male's voice behind them. Both turned towards the source, setting their sights on a Bangaa Warrior. He gripped a rusty sword in his scaly hand, while his other hand was held out in front of him, palm facing upwards.
A rustling of leaves alerted the two cloaked beings to presences behind them. Four Thieves, three Hume and one Moogle, encircled the two, knives held at the ready. The cloaked figures turned back to the Bangaa Warrior, who spoke again.
"Why don't you just leave whatever belongings you have with us?"
There was a pause for a second, and the taller of the two cloaked figures brought a hand up, gripping the brim of her straw hat in her fingers. She removed it, holding it at her side, and all the thieves looked upon her features.
Large, rabbit like ears stood erect in the air. Emerald green eyes shone brilliantly in the midday sunlight. Snow white hair cascaded down her back.
The Viera looked around, and spoke loudly and authoritatively.
"My name is Veis. Would any of you know where to find House Bowen?"
A new development arises!
(End Chapter Thirty Four)
Race: Bangaa (Ruga)
Hair Color: None
Eye Color: Crimson
Skin/Fur Color: Yellow/Brown
One of the three Judgemaster Personal Guardsmen and adoptive brother of Ogma and Nivus. Due to his proficiency with fire based abilities, he was given the epithet 'Firewyrm'. Gerland was born with the intelligence and magical capacity of a Nu Mou on top of his Bangaa endurance, making him a formidable spellcaster.
"Oh great Belias, the wellspring of flames…"
Gerland, reciting the incantation for a fire spell.
(Likes and Dislikes)
Likes: Campfires, studying
Favorite Food and Drink: Spicy Peppers, hot cocoa
Hates: Large bodies of water
Dreams: To become a Judge in the Jylland Defenders of the Peace
Favorite Color: Red
-Gerland 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
-Gerland is of the Ruga subdivision of Bangaa (introduced in FF12), known for their gentleness and intelligence.
-Gerland 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.
And there we are, the closing of the Lezaford/Aldanna Range Arc. It was a short one, but it was quite necessary. Hopefully I made it as enjoyable as possible.
Next chapter we meet a bunch of familiar faces from A2. Look forward to next time!