Author's Note: Disclamer: This is not mine, only the plot, which is based off of the original one, anyway.

I recently got back into FFTA and fell in love with it all over again. I am forced to take some liberties due to the fact that the story is set up as a game, and I am writing to try and make it in a plausable fantasy world. (for instance, chocobo are transportation, and the geography is of my own choice) Anyway, this story takes place after Marche destroys all that crystals and defeats Queen Remedi. Please read and review. Be gentle, this is my first story. Thank you!

Chapter One

Retrieving the Candoan Cardkeeper

Two people walked down the streets of Candoan, wary of everything that moved beneath the pale, blue-white light of the two moons. One was Human, his white uniform glowing with moonlight in the dark blue city, an orange sash across his chest, and a lavender-white turban atop his head. The other was a shadow- a flicker, as she darted around him in a blur of dark purple uniform. An assassin. Beautiful and fast, with browned skin and white hair and long, ochre rabbit ears, she surveyed their surroundings carefully.

They walked down the cobblestone path of the town. Houses, gloomy storefronts, and low stone buildings loomed up through the dim around the two. The paladin looked relatively calm, but something crossed his face every time he caught sight of the Viera as she flashed at the edges of his vision.

"Stop that." he said, tilting his head slightly. "It's making me anxious. Besides, no one's even here, Chiko."

She flickered into sight at his side, walking at a brisk pace, her short assassin's cape fluttering behind her noiselessly. All she said was, "Hush," in the quietest of tones. With most of her face veiled, he could only see her violet-blue-gray eyes, and they narrowed as they approached an alleyway.

The pair stopped before the even gloomier little lane. At the end of it, he could see a sign protruding from the right hand side, and it read, "Berbier's Law Cards". The two glanced at each other and the paladin nodded. The Viera seemed to vanish as she sped down the lane, and he unsheathed one of his two knightswords- a lionheart. It was blue bladed, curving, and elegant. He made his way down the little side street swiftly.

They stopped, backs to the wall on either side of the door. The two looked at each other, and this time, Chiko, the assassin nodded. The paladin in his glowing white uniform held his arm out sideways and pounded on the wood with a fist. They stayed on either side of the door, waiting to pounce once it opened.

They stayed outside for about a minute, before the paladin said, "He's knows it's us. He doesn't want to do any missions for Marche."

"Then we have to break it down." hissed Chiko, anger evident in her voice. "No one escapes Clan Nutsy that simply. Ready, Nothclif?" and she crouched down low in front of the door. Nothclif copied her, sheathing his sword.

They rammed the door with their shoulders, and it gave a shudder before crashing magnificently onto the wooden floor. The two jumped over the mess and glanced around the shop, before proceeding at top speed to the door behind the counter. Nothclif thrust it open, and met with a sudden thud, as a very heavy object collided with his chest.

He staggered backward, the breath knocked out him, but Chiko leapt into the room and found their quarry, clutching a vesper mace. Without hesitation, she pointed the tip of her masamune katana into his face, nicking his Nu Mou's snout. "Don't move, Ezel." she commanded.

The room looked like a storeroom, stonewalled and cold, with boxes of strange items lined against the walls, piled high in teetering towers, and a case of books covering one entire wall, some of the writing on the spines glimmering dully in the gloom.

"Ah… Chiko." he said slowly, though there was a hint of fear in his voice. Nothclif stumbled in, looking dazed and pressing the center of his chest experimentally. "I thought it was the Doned Faction again." Ezel was a blue-skinned Nu Mou, with a pink pointed snout. Like all Nu Mous he only came up to about a Human's navel.

She cocked an eyebrow skeptically. "Really?"

He held his position, sniffing indignantly. "Yes. They've been badgering me at all hours of the night to hand over law cards. They think they own Candoan."

Chiko smirked- or at least appeared to. It was difficult to tell with the mask. "Well, in that case, you'll be relived to know that we have a job to get you out of Candoan. Not that you don't already know that, seeing as how you've been avoiding your Clan duties for the past few months."

"Look, Chiko, put the katana down so we can have a proper conversation." His words rang false in both of them, and Nothclif took out his lionheart again, thrusting it toward Ezel Berbier's chest. "Ah." He said simply, "Not as stupid as you look, are you?"

Chiko did not lower her weapon, in fact she brought it close enough to touch if he flared his nostrils. "I could kill you right here, and right now, you know."

"Ah," he repeated, but softly, "However, I'm sure Marche wouldn't like that. If I die, then there won't be anyone to carry out that job which I am ignoring so determinedly. This would be failure, and failure-" he said pointedly, "is simply not an option for the two of you is it? Not with this mission."

"Oh, shut up." said Nothclif. He looked tempted to roll his eyes but did not.

"Bervenia Palace." said Chiko simply, "Marche wants a book from the Bervenia Palace Library."

"Oh, right, like it's very, very simple to break into Bervenia Palace in the first place." said Ezel sarcastically. Chiko slashed a rip in his robes with one swift movement before raising the point back up to his nose. "Hey!"

"I have the details here," said Nothclif, taking out a scroll from his bag. He held it about a foot out of Ezel's reach, though Ezel did not motion to receive it.

"Why should I? Other than the fact that Marche's my friend?" he asked.

Chiko snarled, "Because he's your Clan Leader that's why. Because this book is the key to success in our missions."

"And what would happen if I refused?" he said.

"We'd arrest you ourselves and dump you in Sprohm Prison. There's a lovely bounty on your head that would pay very well." replied Chiko darkly.

"But as a further incentive," added Nothcliff on a falsely bright note, "You will be paid handsomely for this mission. Twenty thousand gil."

"And an anonymous tip-off that you are in Jagd Dorsa up north." continued Chiko.

"That's not very much," he said querulously, but stopped short as Chiko put another small cut on his snout.

"And," said Nothclif, pulling his sword away slightly, "The investigation would be headed by us, and we might just claim that you died in during the arrest. Clan Nutsy can be very violent."

"Now you're talking, paladin." Ezel smiled, "Anything for Marche."

Chiko nodded, they sheathed their blades. Ezel held his hand out for the scroll and Nothclif passed it to the Cardkeeper. Ezel opened it with a small flick. "This won't be easy, you know."

"You will be with people who have thief and ninja skills," said Nothclif. "Getting in shouldn't be a problem. Despite your blatant lack of Clan pride, Marche puts a large amount of faith in your abilities, Ezel."

Ezel blinked slowly. "He's a good boy, isn't he? Oh well, I guess I'll have to do this." He glanced down at the scroll. "I have until Kingmoon's full. That's only a few days." He looked upward as if he could see the starry sky and the two moons that hung there, through the stone roof. When he looked back down, he grinned. "Did Marche really send you two all this way from Cyril? That's at least five days travel."

"So you'll do it?" inquired Chiko a bit skeptically, not taking her eyes off the tricky Nu Mou.

"I need the gil to relocate." He gestured around himself to the towers and mountains of boxes. "I'm becoming too prominent in the business world of Candoan."

"Isn't that good though?" asked Nothclif, lowering his hand from his chest.

"Well it actually is a good thing- that is," he said darkly, "Until the Palace Legion comes to barge down your door. I was actually quite nervous when I heard you two knocking, then panicked when you broke down the door-" he paused, then added sharply, "Which I will be expecting you two to pay for."

Nothclif grimaced. Chiko did not seem at all abashed; instead, she seemed quite angry. "You didn't answer the door, you silly old Nu Mou." she snapped back. "We had to break it down."

"I thought it was the Palace Legion! What was I supposed to do? Let them in and serve them refreshments? 'Where should I put your coat, hat, and big shiny javelin, Mr. Templar of the Palace Legion? On the coat rack or the table in the corner with the half a dozen others?' Honestly, you Viera girls-"

"Alright! Alright!" interrupted Nothclif as he watched Chiko's hands curl around the handle of her masamune, and her ears twitch in anger. "We need to get back to the Chocobos before dawn and they try to run. Let's go, Chiko."

Huffily, she followed Nothclif out of the storage room and into the main shop. Ezel closed the door after them as they exited back out onto the little dingy lane, and wished them a very frosty good night.

Once back on the main cobblestone road, they sheathed their weapons again, and strode purposefully toward the western edge of the city, toward Nubswood. They walked along in silence, Chiko sometimes flitting in and out of sight as she darted around him.

They entered the dark and gloomy woods, trees looming up palely in the darkness as the followed the dim path. When Nothclif looked up, he saw that the starry sky was barely visible through the gaps in the trees, and moonlight drifted down in angular puddles upon the forest floor. They walked for several minutes, but about halfway through the wood, they heard a soft thud on the path behind them, and a voice called out, sudden in the silence. "My brother wishes to see the Cardkeeper of Candoan. And he sends the two of you to fetch him."

They whirled around and saw a familiar boy standing on the path. It was Doned Radiuju- Marche's younger brother, who chose to lead an enemy Clan. He was a shortish boy, younger and smaller than Marche, with a brown helmet of hair. He wore a green vest with a large white collar, and a blue, vertically striped shirt that poked out from beneath his vest in light blue swaths of lace. He also wore boots and several belts.

Nothclif made to draw his lionheart, but Chiko grabbed his wrist, not looking at him. "Wait- he's not alone!" she said urgently.

Doned smiled, "Yep," and let out a long, piercing whistle. All around them, several people rustled out from the cover of the woods, all were grinning maliciously. Many were Human and Moogle, wearing the green bandana-scarves of Thieves. A few were archers, soldiers, and one white mage. There must have been twenty people bordering the path, surrounding Chiko and Nothclif.

For a few desperate moments, they scanned the crowd, looking for an opening, anything. When their gaze swung back to Doned, he smiled.

"That's right-" he said, his eyes bright with a childish sort of glee. "You're surrounded."

"You're breaking the Law- the maximum you can have out on the field is eight-" began Nothclif vehemently, but Doned cut him off.

"What Law? Ever since my dear brother has destroyed all the Crystals of Ivalice and defeated Queen Remedi, the judicial system is falling apart, and Laws can no longer be upheld without her magic." He shrugged carelessly, "No Judge has appeared for our apparent engagement. There are no rules, there are no Laws, and if I K.O. you right now, you will stay that way."

"What do you want, Doned?" asked Chiko, her eyes blazing and her voice flat but fierce.

"I want Candoan- I want the entire western region under the control of the Doned Faction. And I want," he smiled, "My brother's Clan under my control as well. Oh, and Cyril too, the Human city at the center of the four regions." he added as an afterthought.

Nothclif bristled with anger beside Chiko. "Marche would never let that happen!"

"But it's started already- this is merely a small part of the Doned Faction." He gestured around at the Clansmen waiting for an order.

"You cheat!" snapped Chiko. "Clans are only permitted to have twenty-four people at a time, including the Leader and the Deputy!"

Doned placed his small hands on his hips. "As if that matters any longer. One Clan will have control of Ivalice sooner or later. It might as well be my Clan." He frowned at Chiko, watching her defiant eyes. "Hey! I remember you! You're the Viera who nearly killed me at Sienna Gorge!" He narrowed his eyes in disgust, which Chiko had been doing for past few minutes.

"I wish I had now, upon reflection." she retorted. Doned sniffed airily.

"Take her. Leave the Paladin as a message to my dear brother. I want the Viera." And for a young boy, he grinned with evil beyond his years. Nothclif yelled as a dozen thieves fell upon him, knives glinting in the small puddles of moonlight that drifted down between the tree leaves, as did the drops of blood flying through the air that splattered on the bark.