A/N: And here's Baralai's part. Hope you like!


Books lay strewn across the newly-consecrated thirteen year-old acolyte's bedroom floor, surrounding the foreign, unintelligible map he carefully unfurled before him. Across the desk in the corner, and on the window sill, brightly burning candles were arranged in preparation for the reading. Down the hall, his parents slept, blissfully ignorant of his designs. He had made them proud today, joining the Yevon priesthood as its youngest member. Ever the responsible one, they had no reason to suspect he would become bored enough to find a reason to light enough candles to burn down the house in seconds.

Baralai had borne witness to this ritual many times, this reading of the stars to find out who would offer the best of themselves to Yevon. Unwilling to be made the center of attention, and a little fearful of what might be revealed, he had endeavored to do it for himself, although he was uncertain that he possessed the psychic capacity. Some of the most gifted nuns could tell people about their entire lives, and maybe the ones that preceded it, by a simple touch of the hand.

Kneeling down before the celestial chart, he offered a brief prayer to Yevon, and a vow that he would not misuse anything he learned. When he opened his eyes, he was met with the ghostly gaze of another staring back at him, one emerald eye, and one ultramarine. He would have fallen over, would have cried out his surprise, but the unknown presence held him paralyzed.

"I wonder what his name is?" A whispered, almost child-like voice, breezed through his ears and mind.

Calm. Baralai felt safe, despite his momentary captivity to the spiritual. The presence was gentle, hypnotizing, lulling him into a dream-like state. Where the vision had been, a cluster of pyreflies had formed, banding together on the map to outline the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Drowsily, he traced the outline of the wheel, stopping at the feminine silhouette of Virgo, his sign. Slight pressure against the back of his hand guided his finger along an unmarked trail, and held it fast when it reached its destination.

Cold sweat dripped down his temples when a phantom pain shot through his back, and he was confronted with a blurred image of the Farplane. His pulse quickened at the sight of his own hands—no, not his—pounding away at the controls of a sacrilegious machina, hidden behind a shell of his own making. Why would he even think to touch such an unholy object?

Just when he felt that the anxiety would consume him, the second vision gave way to reality, and the serene, comforting essence of the presence that had greeted him to start returned. Baralai could hardly believe that some of the clergy did this for a living. How could they survive the stress?

Still, he felt his hand being gently pushed along the map to a new location, thus Baralai braced himself for whatever would come next. It stopped on the moon, the ruling body over Cancer, and he could suddenly hear the sound of rushing water. A blast of salty, humid air gusted in from the ocean that materialized before him, while the floor of his room disintegrated into billions of sand grains. Pale moonlight bathed the beach, making it sparkle as though mixed with countless tiny crystals.

In the distance, a cloaked form approached. Heavily pleated robes, long silvery blue hair separated along the sides of his face, and the tell-tale staff. There was no mistaking it: Somehow, Baralai was standing before the High Summoner.

"An honor, Lord Braska." He managed to choke out, bowing deeply in Yevon.

Braska laughed softly, and pulled Baralai to his feet.

"So, you're the one. Can't say that I disapprove." The High Summoner commented cryptically.

"My lord?"

"Baralai, one day you will meet someone very precious to me. She's strong, but she doesn't do well alone….neither do you, as much as you would believe otherwise. Take care of her for me.." Braska turned, and walked away, leaving Baralai to ponder the vague request.

"Sir, may I know her name?" Baralai called out, but the High Summoner had already dispersed.

A sharp glint of sunlight broke through Baralai's closed eyes, forcing him to rise from the floor he had slept on. A small, slimy wet spot coated the chart, where he had apparently passed out. The candles on his desk and the window sill were still burning, but mostly melted down. Long, waxen stalactites clung to the wall where it had dripped. At least the house was still standing.

For now, Baralai decided it was best to take his mind off the future, and start planning on how to preserve it. If his parents walked in on this mess, they would probably kill him.