A/N: Not mine! Not mine!
Anyway, Marche ruminates and his thoughts explain what happened after the fall of Queen Remedi, before falling asleep and waking up to an attack.
Enjoy! Please R&R!
Rude Awakening by the Cyril Band
A blonde haired boy awoke in the darkness, his heart pounding in his chest as he gasped for air. He sat up in bed and looked around. He was still in his room above the Prancing Chocobo. A peach colored Moogle was asleep in the next bed, and he snuffled slightly as Marche got up out of bed, throwing the sheets back and standing on the wooden floor, which creaked beneath his weight. He stood by the simple vanity and splashed his face in the water basin and letting the water drip off the end of his nose back into the water, making ripples spread and the "plip" echo like a chime in the quiet room.
Marche had blonde hair, with two long tendrils tapering from the base of his bangs atop his head, and one like a ponytail from the base of his skull. He looked into the mirror and saw two blue eyes, sorrowed beyond their years with years of anguish and toil. Was he as alone as he seemed to be?
As if in answer, the Moogle in the next bed gave a little snore, turning over in his sleep. Marche glanced at his friend and gave a small smile. He toweled off his face and walked slowly to the windowsill, and gazed out at the sprawling city and the starry sky. He sat upon its wide edge and opened the glass outward to breathe in the night air. It was a powerful feeling to see the city laid out for him beyond the tiled roof that sloped down outside the window.
The thing he had been fighting for seven years surged up in his chest again, hard, cold, and immovable. It made Marche gasp for breath as he felt it threaten to overwhelm him. The thought that filled his mind as he stared out at the city of Cyril, was not a comforting one, This- this not my world.
It was beautiful, surely. The old style buildings were somewhere between feeling gothic and rustic, and things in this city, were pale, white and yellow. This city spoke of age and market places full of color and life. A place of relaxation, yet the certainty of strife in the next day. He wished it was his world. He wished he felt that innate sense of pride and love and patriotism, for his supposed city. Seven years ago, this was where he had landed in Ivalice and had the sheer luck to meet Montblanc, who to this day, was at his side, sleeping soundly in the bed next to his.
Try as he might, Marche had not been able to accept it for the past seven years- five of which he was struggling against his former friend, Mewt Randell, now His Highness Prince Mewt. And where was Ritz? Where was Doned?
His brother and his two friends had done their best to ensure his failure in destroying the world. And though he had shattered all five crystals, and defeated Queen Remedi, the world remained the same. Ivalice was still a country. There were five races instead of one. And people did not live with their families much anymore- they were too busy questing and fighting and dying.
With the defeat of Queen Remedi and Prince Mewt's failure to do anything, the Judicial system had taken over everything. Or at least they tried to.
They failed rather spectacularly, Marche reflected. The problem was that though judges were very powerful individuals, their universal powers and abilities worked only with the reinforcement from the Queen. It was she who gave them powers and their Swords. Their automatic strength to send people directly to Sprohm Prison for the slightest infraction of her precious, arbitrary laws.
Yes, it was Queen Remedi who kept the world in balance, though it continued to exist. The Judges, with their powers stripped from them, were no longer able to control engagements, they could not send anyone to prison, and worst still- they no longer kept an eye on the size and power of Clans. A few years ago, before Marche had destroyed the balance in the world, things were kept in a precarious, but perfect and functioning order. Queen Remedi's laws were carried out by the Judges and their subordinates. She had made it so that no Clan could have no more than twenty–four people, and thus become too powerful.
But now Clans fought each other to the death and battled over territory under their control- which meant taxes and laws written by Clans on various areas. However, most cities had managed to stay free due to their independent powers- or their own armies, which drove out their regional Clan who had been foolish enough to try to take over. Though Judges became rarer and rarer, Cities which once held pockets of energy from the Queen, did not suffer from death in combat. For some reason, the magic still held, and people were k.o.-ed in engagements that occurred in cities.
Clan Nutsy had strong influence still in Cyril-but Marche had kept their numbers at twenty-four precisely, and always battled with less than eight on the field. He had thought those rules were ironclad, and were of the utmost importance- but now, if he wanted his Clan to survive, he was going to have to expand. The smaller Clans had recognized their obvious fate, and volunteered themselves into a larger Clan, or they had dissolved, and their members were left to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
Marche watched the street below as a Bangaa and a Nu Mou passed, their footfalls clearly audible in the quiet, their banter and chat floating up to him on the third floor, where he sat, perched upon the windowsill, looking down at the two. The Bangaa was strangely tall, and the Nu Mou looked surprisingly fragile. They wore the clothes of a Bishop and a Sage.
For one moment, they paused, looking up at Marche, but their gaze passed over him and they were on their way, continuing to talk and stroll down the cobblestone street. They turned a corner, and went out of sight. All was quiet in the room.
Marche's blue eyes searched the city. Few lamps lit the streets, looking like little golden sparks far away, but the two moons provided most of the light, blue-white, and silvery, making the night look blue. Marche looked at the tiny jewels in the sky, making constellations that he was now familiar with- though they were not the constellations and patterns he knew from his home.
But was St. Ivalice even his home? He had only been there a very short time, and had only met Ritz and Mewt the day preceding his introduction to Ivalice.
Yes. Marche really was alone.
It was not the first time Marche had wanted to cry, but found that foolish pride did not let the tears fall from his indigo eyes.
When Marche woke up the next morning, he was still perched on the windowsill, but a blanket was draped around him, his head leaning against the side of the window, for someone had closed and latched the windowpanes so he wouldn't go tumbling out onto the street below after a three story drop.
A pair of big brown eyes grinned at him as he straightened up, set into a furry peach-colored face beneath two very wide rabbit ears and a shock of blonde hair. "Rise and shine, kupo!" smiled Montblanc. Unlike most Moogles, Montblanc was, as afore mentioned, peach-colored- he also had orange wings and an orange pompom.
Marche stood and stretched. Early morning sunlight was pouring in through the window, and the city was bustling with morning activities. Marche glanced out the window before grabbing his armor and pulling it on over his undershirt and short pants. "What is happening today, Deputy?" asked Marche.
"Kupo. Only dispatch missions. But-"
The Moogle's words were cut short by a banging on the door and someone rattling the door handle. Montblanc froze. Out of instinct, Marche drew his soulsaber and shamshir, one in each hand. The banging continued, growing more frantic-
"Marche! Marche, get up! They're coming!" shouted a familiar voice.
"Move, Human!" said another voice gruffly. And before either of the two could open the door for them, the door was blasted off its hinges, great slashes across it, and splinters flying through the air. A dragoon and white mage spilled into the room, followed by a gunner and a sage. The latter of the two looked slightly battered, with cuts and bruises, while the dragoon's clothing was tattered, though his armor was intact. Only the Human white mage looked unharmed but ruffled.
"What's going on?" hissed Marche, as the dragoon and gunner stood by the doorway, guarding it carefully. Outside in the hallway, loud shouts could be heard, along with the searing sounds of magic and the clash of metal and metal.
The white mage smoothed his robes and held his spring staff closer to his body. It was a beautiful thing, all black and blue, twisting around a light blue orb near its top. "The Cyril Band appears to want taxes paid by enemy Clans. They burst in about thirty seconds ago, Marche."
The sage, who readjusted his energy mace said, "About eight of us are down on the first floor fighting them- the pub is being torn apart. They've just reached the second floor, but the rest of us are holding them off- what do we do?"
"How many, kupo?" asked Montblanc, pulling out his own rod.
"At least thirty- they're storming the place, but-"
Again the Nu Mou was interrupted as a bullet chipped the door frame, with a whiz and a snapping noise, and another clipped the dragoon's cheek, and he roared in fury and screamed, "Basstard!" He charged out of the doorway and yells of pain and fear reached the ears of the others.
"Idiot!" cursed the gunner, firing down the hallway with his peacemaker. The rounds went off, loud and clear, followed by noises of impact, as the Moogle alternately ducked in the doorway and fired.
Marche sheathed one of his sabers and brandished the other one annoyed. "How long can we hold for?"
The white mage rushed to the doorway and slammed the end of his staff into the face of an oncoming Viera, who had previously dodged the gunner's shots. There was a resounding crack as he brought his spring staff down a second time with a move like a baseball swing. "I don't know, Marche." he panted. "Only half of us were up when they broke down the door."
"Is there anyway out of here?" he asked desperately.
"Not on the second floor- and there are still eight downstairs if they haven't been killed yet, kupo." replied the gunner. There was a scream outside the doorway, and a thud as a body hit the wooden floor.
"They won't kill them, kupo- they want money and'll ask for ransom." pointed out Montblanc.
"Clan Nutsy awaits your orders, Marche." the sage said dully. He seemed marginally unaffected, though battered, by the battle raging inside the Prancing Chocobo.
"The Cyril Band can stuff their taxes up their-" Marche began angrily, but he was saved the trouble of swearing irately as a defender pushed his way into the room. The Nutsy Dragoon had been holding him back, his javelin pressed against the other Bangaa's blade. But the knightsword sank down through the wooden pole and slashed across the dragoon's chest, ripping through the armor like paper.
The gunner fired shots pointlessly at the defender, for a huge, reflective white-blue aura enclosed him, blocking all attacks. He and the white mage who were standing by the door were thrown backwards by the gladiator. The Human crashed through the door of the closet while the Moogle was landed with a sickening thud and crack against the vanity, the mirror shattering.
Montblanc raised his arms above his head and brought them down with a smooth swift motion, red light emanating from his fists. Instantly, the defender came on fire, the flames flaring up and engulfing him as he screamed in agony, and vanishing just as quickly. In quick succession, the sage brought his energy mace down on the Bangaa's head, clanging on the helmet.
The defender lay still on the floor and did not get up. The white mage appeared from the closet, holding his arm at an odd angle, but the gunner did not stir. He ignored the defender sprawled on the ground and crossed to the Moogle, his hand glowing with white energy, and the Moogle stirred and shook his head.
"Let's go." said Marche. "I want to teach the Cyril Band something about Clan rights."
The sage smiled, and the white mage grabbed his arm and thrust it upward with a violent movement. There was a click, and he let out a gasp of pain and flexed his arm, tugging at the white and red sleeve of his robe. The gunner reloaded his gun in a few seconds, and small sparks of lightning licked at Montblanc's fingers.
Careful to step on the defender, the five of them exited the room, Marche first with then Montblanc, the white mage in the middle, followed by the sage, with the gunner bringing up the rear. Marche swiftly crossed the hallway, a few bodies blocking the way- thankfully no one from Clan Nutsy. Marche passed a few of his Clanmates, who had successfully driven back everyone from the third floor.
Downstairs on the second floor, the battle was not so simple. The second floor was more like a rectangular corridor going around the inside perimeter, lined with doors leading into rooms for Clans and the middle of the floor was not there, revealing the first floor and pub, which was an open space full of wooden chairs and tables, with a check in desk near the entrance and a wide bar on the opposing wall. One side of the corridor left open except for railings so that the first floor was visible. The hallways were filled with screaming and battling Clansmen.
The five of them charged down the steps, Marche at the head of the party, his sabers whirling. He slashed and sliced a furious Viera, before pushing her body over the railing onto the head of one of her Clanmates, stopping the small Moogle in his tracks as he advanced on one of the eight downstairs. Marche laughed and returned to the fray, slicing everywhere, until a sudden searing pain and a flash of yellow light stopped his in his tracks. The light vanished in a flash, but the pain remained. He saw that his clothes were singed slightly, and knew he was hit by a thunder spell.
Furious, he saw a black mage in a corner of the hall winding around the inside of the pub, wielding a firewheel rod, his face obscured by his huge straw hat. Marche fought his way through to the mage, who was firing off spells left and right. With strength fueled by anger, he slashed at the mage, who managed to block with the rod with swift and skilled movements.
After exchanging at least thirty blows, Marche was getting frustrated, and a bit bruised, though the mage had not a single scratch on him. Marche raised one of his sabers again, and as it was blocked, he moved in unbelievably fast, and thrust his other saber into the black mage's blue-robed chest. Scarlet blossomed there, but the mage did not yell or scream.
He let his rod drop with a clatter onto the narrow wooden floor boards, and touched the blood on his chest with a slightly trembling, gloved hand before looking up at Marche, eyes yellow in the shadows. With a slight croaking noise, he raised his hand to his hat and pushed it backwards off his head, revealing a familiar face. Beneath the brim of the straw hat was an ordinary-looking person, his hair was dark brown, and his eyes a flecked green. It was the face of an innocent, a boy younger than Marche, and he knew who he was.
"No…" Marche reached for the boy as he sank to his knees, the battle raging around them. "Oh, please no…" Marche collapsed to the ground as well, and reached out a hand for the boy- but was stopped short, as a blade sliced across his back. He whirled around, but the offending thief had his arm around Marche's windpipe and was hauling him up, choking Marche, who struggled in his grasp.
Marche and the thief struggled through the hall and down the steps that led onto the first floor, the hold on Marche's throat never loosening for a second. The thief pushed and kicked tables out of the way, and slashed at some. The gash on Marche's back was oozing blood all over the thief, and he was steadily loosing oxygen and his vision became blurred as the pressure built in his head.
The thief's voice rang out tough yet smooth, like wet and rumpled velvet. "Everyone, STOP!"
Eventually, all the fighting ceased as the Cyril Band obeyed orders and Clan Nutsy saw what he was holding. People stopped, lowering their weapons but keeping an eye on the members of the enemy Clan.
"Thank you," said the thief in his velvet tones, looking around at the upper floor and glancing at the people who had fought in the pub. "Now, if anyone from Clan Nutsy moves without my say so, your leader will have a very nasty accident with my rondell dagger. Is that clear?"