A/N: Hm, well, finally decided to start the story I had begun to plan for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Was originally gonna wait for more information to be released buuuut...now I want to write the story before I feel bound to making it follow their rules and world. Not to mention it looks like it's gonna be so cool I couldn't hold back any more!
This story is meant to take place before the game begins, but in the event of this story being unable to fit in with future canon...think of it like an alternate universe story (which it will more than likely end up being).
Just...enjoy the story for what it is! :D
I'd also like to thank Animangame02freak for her review on my Dark Waltz story (which is a semi-prequel to this story, though it is not required for you to have read to understand what goes on in this, it's more of something I wrote to have my OC and Noctis together before I started this). But still, if you're reading this Animangame02freak, thank you for your review. I do appreciate the advice you gave and thank you for taking your time to review the short story. It got me motivated to start writing the main story! I hope you, and anyone else reading this, are able to enjoy how this tale unfolds.
Lux Crystallis is Latin for "Crystal's Light" (according to my friend who has taken Latin, at least).
Edit 2011: Due to the recent trailer that was released, I have decided to change the names I gave Noct's friends to that seen in the trailer! So I will be editing chapters 1-9 to adjust for this (and fixing up any other mistakes that may have slipped through the initial postings). This shouldn't affect any new readers to this story, but is mainly a reminder to any old readers.
Edit June 2013: Well, two years after the last edit! With the E3 trailer of 2013, and the change from FFvsXIII to FFXV, I have changed Noctis' kingdom to its proper name. Also, I have changed Noctis' father's name to what was mentioned in the trailer, Regis. Other editing has been done, from fixing typos that managed to make it through, and just altering sentences here and there. Nothing major changed to the plot or anything. You're always welcome to point anything that I may have missed out! Author's Notes will be remaining as they are. Hopefully this will be the last major edit that I have to do.
On with the story!
The setting sun cast its warm glow on the surrounding land. Long shadows reached out from the skyscrapers of the city, blanketing part of the ground in temporary darkness. At first glance, one would hardly think this was a place caught in a time of war...but that was exactly the case. For years, the neighbouring kingdoms had been locked in a long cold war, causing most citizens to live in fear during their daily lives. At a closer inspection, the sun-blanketed land looked dreary, as though it had seen the cold war for far too long.
Why did this war come to happen in the first place? It had risen due to the Crystals. For a time, all the kingdoms had once used the power of the Crystals, their people bathed in the protective light and living sheltered lives. Over the years, however, wars, real wars, would wage across the lands when one kingdom desired more power. What was once a peaceful continent became caught in the spiral of death and destruction that war brought. Only one thing saved them:
The kingdoms stopped using the power of the Crystals.
Some had been destroyed in battle, while others intentionally demolished. In the end, the kingdoms felt the warmth from the Crystals never again. No longer wielding the power of the Crystals, the kingdoms found other means by which to live. This change caused them to no longer have to fight each other to obtain more power.
All, at least, save for one. Living fairly isolated from the rest, one kingdom, Lucis, continued to use the power of the Crystals. To them, nothing was more important. Their Crystal gave them what they needed to sustain their lives, and, unlike the other kingdoms they only used it in defence, rarely in offence. To them, the Crystal was their guardian, forever protecting them from the harshness of the outside world.
However isolated they were, though, they could not remain so for long. With the world changing its life-style around them, the denizens of Lucis remained much as they were, continuing to live by their traditions. The other kingdoms did not like this. Some wanted the last remaining Crystal for their own people, to bring back the prosperity the Crystals gave to their kingdom, while others wanted it destroyed.
So came the cold war.
Tensions grew between the divided kingdoms, but none made a move. None wanted their dark history to repeat itself...unless it was completely necessary. Even if the kingdoms would not attack them directly, those of Lucis still had to defend themselves and their Crystal from others. Marauders from the various kingdoms would often infiltrate in and try to take the Crystal or destroy it. Protected by a line of kings, their Crystal continued to remain safe...for the time being.
Sitting atop a boulder, a young man watched the sun set across the sombre land. Out here, on the edge of his city, he could find at least some small sliver of relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the city and his duties. Along with bringing life to their kingdom, the Crystal's powers could also be used by special individuals. More often than not, these people were part of the royal bloodline, but now and then, commoners proved to receive this special gift as well—the Crystal did not care if one was "royal" or not. Noctis was of the former who could use the Crystal's power. Tossing a few pebbles in his hand, Noctis chucked them out to see how far he could throw them as he watched the sun slip past the horizon.
Noctis Lucis Caelum. He was the last heir to the Caelum Dynasty, the family that ruled over Lucis. Gifted with the greatest amount of power from the Crystal his people had seen in generations, he was charged with protecting their eternal guardian. He was not the only one, however. All those that wielded the power of the Crystal, along with even more who could not, were to protect it. The Crystal had to remain safe, no matter what. Without it, their way of life would collapse around them.
A cool breeze blew past as Noctis looked up to the darkening sky. The first few stars that hung in the night sky began to shimmer into existence. His dark clothing began to fade into his surroundings as the rays of light could no longer reach over the horizon. Out here, he could forget the sorrows of their world and his people...at least for a time.
Something made a light snap behind him, drawing Noctis from his thoughts. Despite growing tense, the Prince remained still, giving no hint that he knew someone, or something, was behind him. The only part of him that moved was his eye that twitched slightly as he sent a thought out. One single command, that was all it took before...
"Okay, okay! You got me!" called out a voice from behind. "Noct! Put your damn weapons away already!" Sighing in amusement, Noctis kept his back facing to the person while he allowed the weapons to ease up slightly. "Showoff..." grumbled the person.
"Well, at least you set a new record this time!" laughed out a new voice, this one deeper. Jumping up from where he sat, Prince Noctis turned to greet the people that had found him out here. A man stood by a car that had stopped on the side of the road while two more were heading to where Noctis had been. A light smile crossed his face; he knew who these three men were well enough.
"You'll never reach him no matter how hard you try. You know that, right, Prompto?" called out the person from the car as he pushed up his glasses.
"Oh, you be quiet, Ignis. You don't even try!" shouted back the blond who had all of Noctis' weapons hovering around him.
Crossing his arms, Ignis sighed. "I just don't know why you try too, Gladiolus. It's simply futile."
The tallest of them there let out a hearty laugh, the scar on his face stretching with his skin. "Maybe so, but I just like to think of it as practice for Noct." Gladiolus looked back to the Prince who was heading over to where they stood. "Gotta keep your skills form getting rusty."
Noctis chuckled lightly at his three friends. It was a small game they liked to play on him: seeing how close one could get before Noctis noticed their presence. They never got really far before...well, Prompto was proof of the final result of the "game". This was the power that Noctis controlled thanks to the Crystal. With his telekinetic powers, had nearly a whole arsenal of weapons at his disposal. All it took was one thought from him before they sprung into action.
"Yeah, great, we know he's not getting rusty. Can we end the demonstration now?" pleaded Prompto. Noctis could not help but smirk in victory. As quickly as they had appeared around his friend, the weapons disappeared from sight, the few tendrils of light and crystal shards that hung behind in the air being the only indication that they had been there in the first place. Only once the weapons were gone did Prompto breathe a sigh of relief.
"You really do like coming out here too much," commented Gladiolus once Noctis neared them. "What is it about this place?"
"I just like the view," shrugged Noctis. He glanced up to the night sky. Away from the city, this was one of the few places where more than a couple stars could be seen at night. That was his main reason for coming out here so often, but he did not let his friends know that. "What are you guys doing out here anyway?"
"On our way back from one of the other towns. Prompto begged us to help him in this street match."
Noctis nodded in understanding. Together, the four of them were the best of friends. He did not often talk about it, but Noctis was glad he had them. They helped bring some joy and excitement into his otherwise tedious, routine-filled, almost-dull life. Gladiolus, his friend with the scar, was of the City Guard. Though a military man, and from a military family, he was not like the other cold-hearted soldiers that were so uptight and tense during this cold war. Ignis, the young man with glasses, worked for the royal family. As such, he got to spend the most time with Noctis during normal work days. One could always count on him to make level-headed judgements on matters. Lastly, Prompto, the spunky blond, was Noctis' childhood friend. Working his way up to become an athlete, he was always good for a laugh. Noctis did not want to even being to think of what his life would have been like without knowing them.
"Ready to head back to the capitol?" asked Ignis. "Your shift to guard the Crystal starts soon, right?" Noctis merely nodded in response.
"Shotgun!" shouted out Prompto as he hurried forward to the car.
"Ah! Not so fast there, buddy," countered Gladiolus as he pulled Prompto into a headlock. Noctis covered his mouth to stifle a laugh while Ignis merely shook his head. "You always get to ride in the front. How 'bout giving someone else a turn?" Prompto continued to struggle against Gladiolus' hold on him. Muffled yells in protest could be heard from the blond. Faster than previous times, Prompto managed to pull himself out of the headlock, gasping for air as he rubbed his neck.
"Not my fault you don't call out shotgun before me!" coughed out Prompto. "Man! When was the last time you showered?"
"Take another whiff and find out!" grinned Gladiolus as he tried to pull Prompto into another headlock, but this time the blond was too fast for him. Laughing to himself, Noctis watched as Gladiolus proceeded to chase Prompto down. The Prince took a seat in the back, not wanting to get involved with the matter of who got to sit in the front.
"Either get in the car, guys, or you two are walking back. Then you can enjoy all the time you want chasing after one another," commented Ignis as he slid into the driver's seat.
"Safe!" cheered out Prompto as he hurried into the front passenger's seat before Gladiolus caught him.
"Wuss. Bah, let's get going," sighed out Gladiolus gruffly as he took the seat next to Noctis. Once they were all settled, Ignis started up the car and pulled back onto the solitary road.
"So, Lucis' Millennial is next week, you guys excited?" asked Prompto with a grin.
"Oh joy, I get to deal with the security that's being set up for the night," sighed Gladiolus.
"Preparations for it are quite the workload," commented Ignis.
"I just don't want to deal with all the people..." murmured Noctis as he propped his elbow on the door.
"Yeah, but think of how all the girls will look!" laughed Prompto with a sly grin. "I don't care about the dignitaries that come for the sake of saving face, I just want to have some fun." While he may have glanced over the matter, the others knew he was right about the dignitaries. For Lucis' Millennial, representatives from the other kingdoms would be coming. It would be a night of politicians lying through their teeth and acting as though the cold war was not even taking place. They were only coming to keep up appearances, after all. To not, well, some would take that as an act of aggression and the cold war could turn into a very real war.
"That's all you ever do," huffed Gladiolus. "Seriously, when do you work?"
"Hey, I'll have you know that my training is very serious!"
Noctis grinned slightly as the two friends bantered on. Despite all the arguments they may have, he knew it would take a lot more than that to stop them from being buddies. Noctis stared out the window, blocking out the quibbling that filled the car. Up ahead loomed the capitol city of Lucis. Lights from all the buildings glowed in the night, blocking out more and more of the stars the closer they got.
A wince flashed across Noctis' face as pain suddenly spiked up in his head. Placing a hand to his temple, he tried to rub away the pain like one would a headache. As fast as it rose up, the pain subsided. He glanced over to see if any of his friends had noticed. With Gladiolus and Prompto still teasing each other, and Ignis focused on the road, none of them there had noticed the Prince's moment of discomfort. A soft sigh escaped him in relief. He would not want his friends questioning him over something so triv—
"Unngh!" cried out Noctis as the pain returned, this time worse by tenfold.
"Noct, you okay?" asked Ignis as he spared a glance in the rear-view mirror. Gripping his head, Noctis tried to respond, but the pain was keeping him from doing so. It felt as though someone was splitting his skull open with a searing-hot weapon.
"What's wrong, Noctis?" questioned Gladiolus. Ignis began to slow the car down so they could see just what was wrong with the Prince.
"No!" gasped out Noctis through the pain. "Don't...! Hurry up! Get back to to the city!"
"What's going on?" asked Prompto as he turned around in his seat to get a better look.
The pain lessened, but it did not go away. Now that it was no longer giving him a splitting headache, the Prince could tell that there had been something more to that pain spike. Something like...a cry for help. "The Crystal," he whispered out through ragged breaths. "Something's threatening the Crystal!"
"Impossible!" barked out Gladiolus.
"At a time like this?" pondered Prompto.
"Don't ask for details, just go!" ordered Noctis. Without being needed to be told twice, Ignis put his foot down on the accelerator and the car sped off for the towering buildings. Noctis only feared that it might not be fast enough.
"Just what happened?" asked Gladiolus while Noctis tried to rub the pain away.
"I don't know..." he winced. "When the Crystal feels threatened, often those connected to it feel some sort of pain, minute pangs, normally. It may vary in strength from person to person, but I've never felt anything this bad!" he explained through clenched teeth. "Whatever's going on, the Crystal must feel extremely threatened."
The Crystal was no ordinary crystal. It was not just some lump of carbon that had been through intense amounts of pressure. Even after all these years, no one could quite explain it. The Crystal was alive somehow. Sometimes, it even seemed to have grown its own consciousness. At least, that was what some believed. Over time, the denizens of Lucis, and those of other kingdoms, forgot about the life of the Crystals, using them as nothing more than power sources. But those who studied, or those who could use the power of the Crystal, like Noctis, knew there was much more to the Crystals than most believed.
"Destruction or capture. Any bets?" offered Prompto as they raced through the multi-lane highways, slipping past the many cars and other vehicles . What had seemed like a calm night for the city proved to be quite wrong once they entered. Sirens wailed and people seemed panicked as they rushed through the streets.
"Not now!" scolded Ignis. If their Crystal was truly in such great danger, it was hardly any time to be making such bets. "Noct!" he suddenly shouted as the Prince opened his door while the car was still racing along.
"What are you doing?!" yelled out Gladiolus in surprise. Reaching out, the City Guard grabbed Noctis by his coat.
"Getting to the Crystal faster!" he huffed back, trying to wave Gladiolus off of him. "It'll take too long to drive through the streets! You guys help with the reinforcements, but I must do what I can now!" His scarred friend let out a reluctant sigh before letting go.
"Make sure to leave some fun for the rest of us!" called out Prompto over the noise of the wind whistling past the open door.
"No promises!" grinned Noctis before he jumped out of the vehicle. As he rolled to take the impact of his landing, the car was already gone from sight around a curve in the highway. Rushing forward, Noctis ran as fast as he could towards the origin of the distress. Their Crystal lay at the heart of the city. While it was actually not that far away, driving would have taken too long for Noctis' tastes since there was no direct road to the Crystal's Temple. Gripping onto the railing, the Prince leaped over it and hurled towards the ground below.
The telekinesis he got from the Crystal's power not only made him able to control weapons with his mind, but he could do other things as well. Just mere feet above the pavement on the next level of the highway, Noctis utilized his power. One second he was falling to the ground, the next he appeared yards away, sprinting towards the other side of that highway after a flash of light.
Teleportation was also under his control. It was not all-powerful, as some believed. To be able to teleport somewhere, he had to be able to see it. On top of that, the range of this ability was limited. Even with those restrictions upon it, being able to teleport certainly did have its advantages as he proved again and again while racing towards the Crystal's Temple.
Panting hard, Noctis finally had the Temple in his sights. He came to a near-skidding halt as he stared at the scene before him. While it must not have been a large group to be able to make it in this far, the marauders had been able to establish a foothold at the base of the Temple. Noctis cursed under his breath as he saw his citizens fall before his very eyes. As much as he would have wanted to help them first, the protection of their Crystal was more important. All of them there knew that.
With a thought, he vanished from where he stood and quickly felt himself falling towards the ground. Holding out a hand, he gripped the spear that materialized before him and jammed it into the side of the Temple. From there he stood and stared up the wall. Having the Crystal rest on the top floor was certainly aesthetically pleasing, but for times like this... Perhaps it was time to build a new Temple for the Crystal.
The top floor now in range from where he stood, Noctis teleported himself up and broke through a window before he fell back down. Buildings could be rebuilt. Windows could be re-paned. People...yes, even people could be replaced over time. Their Crystal...it was the only one like it left. No matter what, it had to survive.
Noctis moved so fast it was almost like he was moving on pure instinct, shards of glass falling off of him as he ran. The Prince allowed himself only a moment of relief when he saw the glow of the Crystal up ahead. At least it was still there. However, the pain that still gave him a headache reminded him that the danger was far from over.
His stomach suddenly churned in discomfort when he saw the bodies lying dead on the ground. It was not so much that they were dead that upset him, he had seen his share of death in his life already, it was the fact they were the other Protectors of the Crystal. Like Noctis, they could wield some form of the Crystal's power, yet they had been bested. At least now he knew why the Crystal was in such distress.
"How nice of you to join us, Prince Noctis," greeted a man who was standing closer to the Crystal. His gaze moving over to the Prince, the cloaked man tossed a body of another Protector to the side. "I was beginning to wonder if you would be rushing to the aid of your precious Crystal." The man spat the word as though even saying it was like poison. Noctis studied the man for a moment. In the lighting created by the Crystal, and with how much the cloak hid any distinguishable features of the man, Noctis could not tell who it was.
"You have gone too far," began Noctis, his voice surprisingly calm despite the current situation. "There will be no escape for you!"
The man let out a cold laugh. "If that is the case, then so be it. But with me shall fall this wretched thing. The Crystal Age is long gone, young Prince! It is time you people change...or die with it." Without warning, the cloaked man raised his hand and shot a spell at Noctis.
Caught off guard, the Prince could do nothing. The spell hit him dead on and shot him flying back towards one of the pillars. His body ached with pain from the attack. That spell...it was unlike any other he had gone up against. Where could this man have learned such a spell? But now was not the time for such thoughts. Pulling himself back up, Noctis' eyes changed from their normal blue to a blood-red. Such was the effect of him using all the power of the Crystal he had at his control.
Not wasting another second, Noctis had all the weapons at his disposal appear around the cloaked man. While any other person facing such an attack would have been skewered withing the second, the cloaked man still stood, unharmed. It looked as though the weapons had been stopped at the edge of some protective spell that encompassed the man.
"So foolish," taunted the cloaked figure. With a wave of his hand, Noctis felt himself sent flying across the room after being hit by another powerful spell. As he skidded across the floor, he suddenly came to a stop. Head pounding in pain from both the attacks and the cries of help from the Crystal, Noctis tried to pull himself up...but he could not. He cursed under his breath when he saw the binding spells cast by the man that held the Prince in place. "Witness...the end of what you people blindly believe in."
"Stop!" shouted out Noctis, his eyes reverting back to their normal blue. As much as he tried, he could do nothing. The pain in his head rose to such extremes as the man neared the Crystal that Noctis could not even use his abilities. Never before had he felt so...helpless. He watched as the man held his hand out to the Crystal, a look of twisted glee on his face. The closer the cloaked man got to the Crystal, the more frantically it began to pulse.
"What? NO!" roared out the cloaked man as he suddenly recoiled from the Crystal. It began to glow brighter and brighter. With it, Noctis felt the pain in his head rising. Closing his eyes from the brightness, it took all of his strength to keep from crying out in pain.
The Prince winced as though it had been all of his bones breaking at once. But...he was still whole. The breaking had come from somewhere else. Tentatively, Noctis opened an eye a fraction. The glow from the Crystal had died down enough for him to be able to see what was going on. A quiet gasp escaped him when he realized what it was that had cracked.
Before his very eyes, the Crystal that sustained his home and their entire way of life began to shatter. Originating in its core, the cracks spread out through the entirety of the Crystal. Horror struck Noctis like never before in his life. How...how could this be happening? What was happening? Judging by what the man had said earlier, not even he was expecting this. A final crack rang through the air and then...all was silent.
Noctis suddenly cried out as the pain returned worse than ever. The pain splitting through his head had to be related to what was happening to the Crystal, for in the next moment, it completely shattered. Breaking free of its containment, the shards of the Crystal went flying off, moving so fast they looked more like comets. They broke through the walls of the Temple, going off to who-knew-where.
The cloaked man swore loudly as he slammed his fists against the ground. "What did you do?!" he demanded, focusing his attention back on Noctis. "Where did the Crystal Shards go?" Rising up, the cloaked man headed towards the Prince. "Tell me, and I may yet give you a quick death."
Noctis could only let out a raspy breath. Whatever had happened...it left him feeling as though a hole had been ripped through his chest. Barely able to turn his head, the Prince saw one of his weapons lying on the ground not too far away. Holding out his hand, he willed it to return to him...but it remained where it was. It had been a long time since he felt such fear. His powers...his abilities... Concentrating harder, he tried again to make the sword move. Try as he might, the weapon remained completely still.
As the footsteps neared him, Noctis quickly looked up. The cloaked man loomed over him, only now could his face be seen. Dark hair framed his face, and his eyes... His eyes were so dark, Noctis believed them to be like bottomless pits. "Where did the Crystal Shards go?" he asked the Prince once again. Pursing his lips together, Noctis said not a word. "So be it..." Holding his arm out, the man readied a spell. This one would finish the Prince off.
The cloaked man cried out in surprise as shotgun rounds tore through his arm. "I've had enough of this," he hissed out before disappearing into what seemed like a portal of darkness.
"Noct!" called out Ignis. Multiple footsteps rushed towards where Noctis lay.
"Who the hell was that?!" questioned Prompto while Gladiolus helped the Prince up to a sitting position. Supporting most of his weight on his arms, Noctis shook uncontrollably.
"Just what went on here, Noct?" asked their scarred friend.
"I can't... The Crystal... That man..." said Noctis between each breath he took. His mind was racing like crazy, unable to process what had just happened.
"Calm down, Noct," reassured Prompto. "Wait until you can complete your sentences before trying to explain."
"You're safe now. Relax, and tell us when you can," murmured Gladiolus.
"Whatever happened, I assume it has something to do with this," commented Ignis. After pushing up his glasses, he pointed to where their Crystal once rested.
"It can't be!"
"It probably had to deal with that light from earlier," sighed Ignis. While his friends stared in shock at the absent Crystal, Noctis held out his hand towards the sword that remained on the ground. He concentrated so hard that he caused more pain to himself before he finally gave up.
"My powers...they're gone..." he breathed, not wanting to believe his own words. Dead silence fell between the friends as they looked down to the Prince.
"You mean...you can no longer use the abilities the Crystal gave you...?" whispered Prompto.
Noctis buried his face in his hand and remained silent. The feeling of the hole in his chest sank deeper. He never realized just how much the Crystal's strength had been a part of him. Without it...he felt incomplete as a person.
He felt useless.
"The Crystal shattered when that man tried to take it..." he managed to explain after he collected himself, his voice still shaking. They had to figure out what to do next as quickly as possible. A full recovery from this would have to wait. "The pieces shot off... Perhaps it was...some self-defence we didn't know it had." Grunting, the Prince managed to rise up.
"So the shards of the Crystal are out there...somewhere?" pondered Ignis.
"They just have to be!" exclaimed Prompto.
"What are we gonna do now?" questioned Gladiolus.
"We...we have to get those shards back...somehow," answered Noctis.
His three friends stared at him, each wearing a different expression to show how concerned they all were. "How?" they asked in one voice.
The Prince looked up at them before slowly shaking his head. "I...don't know..."
If anyone is wondering, the man in the cloak in this is NOT the cloaked man that we've seen fighting against Noctis in the trailers. This character is different. Just wanted to make that clear.
As you may have already guessed, this story will focus much more on the Crystal aspect of FFvsXIII. I'll try to touch on other things that we know of, like the light Noctis and Stella talked about in the gameplay, and Etro's mythology...but really, just gotta wait and see what I'm able to fit into the plot I have planned. L'Cie and fal'Cie will also be making appearances later on.
Thank you to those who read all this, and I hope you enjoyed how this story is beginning! Reviews are, of course, greatly appreciated. Please come back to read more!