Warnings: Eventual slash (at least one-sided), some messing with canon, doesn't actually contain much of the game, crossover, spoilers through the end of the game, contains viera males (they do exist, according to SquareEnix... and there are only a few mentioned here anyway), lots of narrative.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter novel, concepts, and characters belong to Joanne Kathleen Rowling and associates of whom I am not one. Final Fantasy XII game, concept, plot, characters, and locations belong to SquareEnix and various others who I really don't have the space to name, it suffices to say that I am not among them.
In a house on a world called "Earth", a mother died protecting her son. This was an act of desperation by the mother, who could have lived, and done entirely in vain. The murderer used a spell called the Killing Curse, which killed the mother in an instant; when the same was done to the son, he did not die.
The boy watched his mother die from the inside of his crib. He was young – 15 months to the day since his birth – and did not yet understand what "death" was. He did not understand that his mother would not get up from the floor, that his father would not walk in the door any minute to say good night, or that the strange man before him wanted him to be dead because of a misunderstood power known to this Earth as "prophecy."
The dominant race, "humans", were mostly ignorant that prophecy existed, and the small percentage that DID know – such a small amount that, somehow, the rest of the planet did not know of their existence – did not really know. They did not even understand what truly made them different, their magic.
They used magic for silly things – getting things from across a room, picking up objects, travel, and killing each other – and never bothered to understand that magic was created from Mist. On this earth, Mist had a low concentration that did not foster the diversity of other worlds, but it was enough for magic, and for Prophecy.
Prophecy was, in fact, highly concentrated Mist. This Mist was what protected the toddler, as it wrapped protectively around its chosen child, casting a spell called "Reflect" which did not exist on this Earth. The Reflect did exactly as its name implies, and reflected the Killing Curse back on its source, ripping the murderer's soul from his body.
Reflect could not stop the non-magic that came with the Killing Curse. It was penetrated by a bit of the murderer's soul, which latched on to the nearest living thing. The Mist roiled angrily and pulled at the piece of soul, trying to wrench it out of the head of the boy who was now screaming in pain.
In an act of desperation, the Mist pulled, and brought the boy to a world where Mist was in a far higher concentration. It took the boy to the Golmore Jungle in Kerwon, which was part of the Great Continent of Hume Empires, Ivalice. In this jungle, the Wood as its denizens referred reverently to it, there was a village, at least one hundred feet above the ground, where lived the Wood's favored, the viera.
The child landed in front of one such viera, a middle-aged female – at 114 years (1) – Salve-Maker called Dyjs. She was only half surprised at the sudden appearance, having felt a swell in the Mist beforehand, as had all the others in the village, who were doubtless on their way to see why the Mist had suddenly concentrated so.
Dyjs slowly stood from where she had been making her medicines, perking her long, rabbit-like ears forward in curiosity. The Mist swirled idly around the child, both that of the Wood and that which came with him.
The wind blew, and she could hear the Wood singing curiously and in a rather pleased manner... yet he was a hume child, with hume ears rather than viera, and he was not awake. Deciding the Wood would not be so pleased without reason, Dyjs strode forward, the tall heels of her shoes silent on the platform. Kneeling before the child, she saw he was young, looking not two years old. The Mist had thinned some around him, and the song of the Wood lost its curious tone.
Despite what he was, the Wood liked this child. She said he could hear her, was listening, even though he was asleep. A hume cannot hear the Wood, she said, but this hume had a magic that wanted to hear her. He was good, and kind, and even though he was small now he would grow to be a wonderful viera.
Dyjs asked if she was to ask Jote to call a meeting with the leader of the male viera (2), but she said no. The Wood wanted him to stay in Eruyt.
Moreover, the Wood wanted him to stay with her.
"Dyjs, is this a responsibility you can take on?" Jote's voice broke through the Wood's song gently, and Dyjs stood from her crouched position, allowing her sheer white skirt to settle back to its accustomed place at her upper thigh.
"I can," she confirmed. "The Wood wishes it, so it is my burden to take. He will be trained in my way until he is of age by hume reckoning to decide." The Wood told her he would not want to be a Wood-Warder, but Dyjs kept firm to it. The Wood took into account his decision, and so would she. Again she kneeled and picked up the small sleeping form, careful to keep her long nails from him.
She wondered, for an idle moment, if this was why the Wood had not called to her at the last meeting of mates. If she had, even now she would be in the males' village for some time before giving birth and nursing ended. The child turned automatically toward her chest, breaking her from the thought. He would be old enough to have been weaned by now, so it was likely only habit that caused the child to do this. The Wood agreed and told her to prepare food for the child; he would wake again soon, confused, hungry, and low on Mist-reception Power.
If this was the child magically exhausted, Dyjs wondered how strong his base magic was.
Jote watched from above as the small hume – aged six years, approximately – loped along the ground after some young Wood-Warders in training. Although he was not a viera, he had quickly taken to their ways, too young to be like his birth people.
When he had awoken after his arrival, Jote recalled that his speech and motor facilities were limited when compared to a viera of comparable age, be that male or female, but were perhaps advanced for a hume. He had understood some of what they said, claiming he was called "Harry". He asked after his mother and father, only to stop when the Wood sang. Then he cried.
His parents were "gone" the Wood said, returned to nature. Jote understood they were dead.
As part of his integration into viera society, the boy was renamed Lejn, and it wasn't long before the toddler's short memory completely erased any acknowledgment of his hume name, parents, and heritage prior to his arrival in the village. Lejn was perhaps more wily than the children he played with, but he was quick to learn patience and how to behave appropriately with the other children. The younger females he played with realized he was a hume, but for a hume he was quite in tune with the Wood, and he was accepted for this.
Jote stepped slowly back on the platform as Dyjs approached the playing children, likely for training Lejn. She had more important matters to deal with than watching children at play; after all, it wasn't every day that males walked the paths of the village, and certainly not without the Wood calling for a meeting.
"He thrives," Jote informed them, a small gust of wind the only sign of the Wood's song on her ears. She turned to the males, daring them to rebuff her.
There were two males, both of them dark-skinned Rava (3). Just as the females, they had long feet and had to wear stiletto heels to walk comfortably. Their dress was more immodest than the standard female's, consisting mainly of a metal loin cloth with some vine-like, flexible metal winding around the upper thighs and lower stomach. The tail-ornament was slimmer than those worn by females (4), and they were both muscular, Wood-Warders of the male village. Their ears were also slimmer, making them appear longer than they were.
Of the two, it was obvious to Jote which was the leader. He was young yet, not fifty, but he was notably in charge of the younger male with him. The other was only just coming into adulthood, the Wood wouldn't assign him a mate for some time.
"He thrives, yes," agreed the leader. He was Hrel, son of the males' chieftain. Jote had given birth to him, but she was not his mother in the hume sense. "But he is a hume. The Wood does not suffer humes to walk her verdant path." He recited the Green Word verbatim, as any viera could.
"The Wood herself brought him to us," Jote continued. The males, of course, knew this. When the Wood had admitted the child, she had sent Mjrn as an emissary to the males, to tell them what had happened. The Wood would not have told them unless they asked, and even viera could be irrational at times; for Jote, the best example of this was Fran, and the viera who slowly followed her from the Wood.
"If he is to be suffered-"
"He is not suffered," Jote interrupted calmly. They were not the first young males she had dealt with. They were not as level as the females and forgot, sometimes, what made them superior to humes. "Lejn walks as a viera through the Wood and she embraces him. He learns with our daughters and listens to the Wood."
"The ears of a hume are dull to the Wood," the younger recited. He was Sian; in time, the Wood would mate him to one of the apprentice salve-makers, Ktjn.
"His ears are dull, but he hears her all the same," Jote informed them. "Lejn will walk here so long as it is the will of the Wood. That is the Green Word."
Both males were suitably chastised as the wind caressed them, the Wood delivering her verdict on the matter even as Jote said it aloud. The Wood was forgiving of them; they were young, and while females sometimes gave in to their wanderlust, males never left the Wood, instead giving in to anger and distrust. Males had their own faults just as females had theirs.
The quiet clack of small heels heralded the approach of a group of children, Lejn among them as his gait was not as light as the others. Jote deftly stepped forward, allowing the children to pass her by. Lejn was not as fast, nor as graceful as the others, but he was learning. His shoes had short heels because hume children had such small feet, but Jote thought he would be more… viera-like as he aged.
The males watched a moment before seeming to settle. They returned to their village.
Careful, moving quickly, never stopping but never going too far. Creeping, slowly, low to the ground, then up in a tree, running along the paths. Lejn did his best.
He had grown into his body – he was of decent height, taller than some viera females discounting the ears, but shorter than others. He was naturally on the thin side, comprised of compact muscle and hard bone as he grew and learned. His hair was black, the natural opposite of the viera, and his skin was tan, but still paler than any veena viera – still, he kept to viera tradition, his wild hair grown long and tamed by its own weight.
The flexible metal of his clothes coiled and stretched as he stalked his prey, a small group of Wood-Warders following behind. His attire covered more than most males, but they were the ones who crafted his clothing, and followed their style rather than that of his peers. The metallic tendrils wound around his upper legs and lower stomach, climbing to his chest from the material that covered his groin and buttocks.
He sprung forward, using the extra length his stilettos added to his legs to his advantage. A dagger was taken from the holster at his waist, ignoring the bow strapped to his back, and stabbed down viciously, humanely.
The Vorpal Bunny barely saw him before its eyes clouded over with death.
Lejn put his blade under the tail and pulled up, cutting off the key ingredient that he required for his Vision Dust. The Wood-Warders collected their arrows; some had struck the rabbit, but it was a quick creature and avoided most of the projectiles. Still, had it not been for the Warders, Lejn wouldn't have been able to retrieve the tail. He thanked them.
His feet were silent as he followed the Warders back to the village. They walked in silence, listening to the Wood. A few Panthers sought to threaten them, but weak ice spells were sufficient to ward them off.
Lejn was tired. The hunt had been long, and he was not a warrior who was accustomed to such things. Worse, the journey had brought them to the Feywood, where crueler beasts dwelt, Mandragora and worse. They had not gone far, but it was enough for Lejn to realize that here the song of the Wood changed, something darker trying to draw him to somewhere he neither knew nor liked. Worse still, the Wood-Warders seemed to have not heard that song.
He shuddered at that thought, but could do nothing about it. He would tell Jote and Dyjs, and they would scold him for being so humely stubborn as to follow his prey out of the Wood, and that would be the end of it.
Soon after, Lejn was instated as a full Salve-Maker of the viera. He did his job with pride, knowing that as a hume it was a major accomplishment to have such skills, especially when so young in comparison to many viera when they mastered the art. But he had been taught by Dyjs, and she was always pressing him onward in his training because his life would be so much shorter than that of a viera. If he was to accomplish something, he had to learn fast.
The Wood told him that she had designs for him. He would not mate to a viera, for that would result in an abomination, a feol, and though he was near to viera he was not truly one of them. The Wood wanted him to do something, and he would know when she told him of it.
So Lejn waited for the time when he would be needed, sharpening his skill with his bow and dagger, the only weapons he found himself capable of wielding, and doing his best to increase his ability with magic.
"There is something wrong! I have to go after her!" Lejn protested. He stood before Jote, pleading. "She left of her own will, but what happened after was not. Allow me to go after her; she will return to the Wood after this, I am certain! Humes will not have dulled her ears!"
"It is the will of the Wood that any viera who abandons her is lost to us," Jote's voice was calm, but Lejn wished there was some concern there, some forgiveness. He was not ignorant; he knew that he felt emotions differently from viera, and despite that they had raised him for decades, it was against the inherent nature of a hume to be like the viera. He could not be so calm, so unforgiving, even when the Wood whispered to him that now was not his time to leave the Wood, soon but not yet.
"She has been gone less than a day; surely the Wood tells you of her current peril as she does me!" Lejn protested further. He wasn't asking for much. Just one Wood-Warder to accompany him to the Henne Mines.
"Surely the Wood tells you that others will rescue Mjrn, as she does me," Jote countered.
"I will not trust her life to humes! That they rescue her does not bring favor to the viera!" Lejn knew his statement was contradictory, but he was also not the same as a normal hume. Perhaps it was from being raised in the Wood, or it may have begun with his natural affinity toward the Mist that made him a greater caster of spells.
Jote stood taller, looking down on Lejn, telling him she knew of his hypocrisy. "Time will tell." She retired then, but Lejn was not contented. He had always listened to the Wood, ever since he was a child and learning to speak and run. But, then, the Wood had never before told him he could not do what he wanted.
He apologized silently to the Wood as he exited the village, his dagger and a pouch full of salves bouncing at his hip, with his bow and a quiver of his own special arrows strapped to his back. Many viera watched from above, wondering how the Wood would react; they were not deaf to the Wood telling Lejn he was not to leave yet, as it cried desperately for him to remain, but his mood was identifiable by the suddenly audible clack of his stilettos as he left.
In less than an hour he reached the edge of the Golmore Jungle and took his first step out onto the Ozmone Plane.
It was... big. Well, it wasn't that big, but this was only a place where a Refuge Crystal had been set up, a special rare magicite that was placed in location of import or where weary travelers frequented, which warded off fiends. There were two in the jungle – one, a special teleportation crystal, was in the village, though it had never been used in Lejn's lifetime, and the other was near the sleeping place of a great wyrm – so he knew well the effects, but the amount of space such a thing worked on was limited. It best extended in closed spaces.
It was when he left the small clearing that he became overwhelmed. There were no trees keeping close to him, no cries and screeches of the jungle, and the Wood's voice was not the voice of the Wood but of the Plane, and the Plane was wild and warlike. It resonated with the Garif. Lejn had once met a Garif who came to trade for salves, and he knew they were a warrior race for all they claimed peace with the land.
Now he saw how they were both. The Plane was vicious and unforgiving. The sun beat down from above unforgiving and unfiltered by the leaves of trees. The fiends here were larger and no less dangerous than those of the Wood – excepting a few breeds living nearer to the Feywood – and it was only luck that Lejn stumbled down a special path while fleeing a giant quadrupedal fiend with a split jaw and shaggy brown fur (5). It was obviously a path for beings with longer legs, perhaps the black and red avians that had stood near the brown fiend, but Harry loped quickly down the steep path.
What made the luck good was that the ravine below was where the Henne Mines lay in wait. Lejn quickly got off the ground and gazed about him. It was big above, when he entered the plain, but now it was as if the sky's only goal was to swallow him whole as he stood at the bottom of the ravine. A great gash ran through the middle with a drop to parts unknown. Across the gash, a great bipedal beast looking to be made of mossy rocks stomped about angrily (6). The Plane sounded especially angry around it, and Lejn found himself unconsciously backing away even though it was too far away to try and fight him.
When his back pressed against the wall of the cliff, Lejn tried to regain himself. He cut off his awareness of the Plane as best he could, and it calmed him some, unnatural as it was. Then he observed the sky, and thought.
It was only the sky, and while he had never seen it so entirely unobscured, he had known it was there. The sky and the sun high above were necessary. He should not fear it, no matter how great and terrible it seemed to him.
When reasoning failed him and his fear did not subside, Lejn ran along the rock wall to where the Henne mines' entrance gaped at him. The sky was swallowed by stone, and that was unfamiliar too, but Lejn still felt more secure in the less-open environment. The mist tingled along his skin, and he could feel the magicite buried in the caves. His magic would be stronger here, like in the Feywood.
It wasn't comfortable or comforting at all, but it was energizing. He wished he had the senses of a viera so that he could follow Mjrn's scent, but he could hear the Mines drowning out the Plane, and that was enough for him. Humes were linear creatures supposedly, so the path to Mjrn would not be complex.
The Mine's song didn't call out to him especially. It was indifferent, conditioned to be so since the humes had started removing magicite. It did not lash out, but it fostered strong fiends out of a passive aggression.
Passing an iron gate, Lejn shuddered. He would not go that way; the terrible wyrm that lay waiting there was far too strong for the likes of him. His magicks would be of help perhaps, but one lone hume against a giant wyrm? No. It was on par with the Wyrm of the Wood and would never be felled by one like Lejn.
The steelings were easily dispatched – whether by arrows or from area effect spells, Lejn knew better than to let them near enough to bite – but when Lejn came to the first intersection, he was attacked by flan, en masse, and there was no keeping them away. It took him three tries to find out what spell element he was supposed to use against them, and by the time they had all melted and no more were dropping from the ceiling or spawning, he was exhausted.
If only Jote had agreed with him and sent some Wood-Warders!
Lejn collapsed under the switch that would open to path to Mjrn, casting healing spells on himself. Slowly, he got up to pick up his fallen arrows, the ones that had flown wide or been stuck in a flan that eventually melted. Each was tipped in a special poison that Dyjs had taught him to make, but it was meant for living fiends, not fiends like flan. He would have to create some elemental arrows to deal with them in the future. Some of his poison arrows were snapped in half, cutting down his supply significantly.
He sat again, still below the switch, and quite suddenly it flipped again all on its own, as if someone had flipped another of the switches in the Mines.
The flan fell upon him again, and Lejn knew no more.
Author's Note: This story should be pretty short, only 5 chapters (I have an outline – it doesn't cover the amount of chapters, but looking at it I figure 5 is the upper limit with how I want to write this). This chapter is just a teaser though, mostly so I'll actually write the rest of it and to gauge interest. I have other things that I really ought to be working on before I pay any attention to this.
I know precisely what I have planned, but there is one matter I can be quite flexible about. The pairing is Basch/Harry... but I'm bouncing between it being one-sided and Basch reciprocating. I've posted a poll on my page.
(1) Viera live thrice as long as humes (wizards live about twice as long as muggles). 114 is late-30s. Not quite middle aged, but old enough to be considered out of her prime.
(2) Yes, there are viera males. According to the sources I found, the men and women live separately and only come together when it is necessary (couldn't find a physical description so I made so guesses).
(3) There are three types of viera – Rava (dark skinned), Veena (fair skinned, like Fran), and Feol (half-hume).
(4) I was very careful to spin the camera around and found that viera have metal rabbit-tails attached to their clothing. Not sure as to the purpose, but I can say that they are not actual tails.
(5) The breed of gator living in the Ozmone Planes. I don't recall the name and can't be bothered to look it up right now. The "avians" mentioned after are, of course, chocobos.
(6) The Enkelados, a type of slaven. This is a mark issued by a garif in Jahara.