I realize this is much shorter than the other chapters, and I didn't get to Jade character development. I'm posting this now since I wanted to show it to a friend and sending her the doc isn't working. So, you get random fluff.
I wasn't sure if the Tataroo Valley sephiroth was Yesod, which would make the most plot sense, Chesed (which either it or the Zao ruins have to be – the Zao ruins would make more sense given its meaning). So, I checked the cutscene where they edited the passage ring. I was… It's the sixth according to Jade, so Tiferet? Okaaaay… Wait, that makes the diagram Luke drew on make even less sense, and what? Akzeriuth was the fifth? By both traditional numbering systems, the fifth is Gevurah, when the way the Albertesque seal works means that Akzeriuth basically had to be Nezach. If it weren't for the Albertesque seal, I might consider that Akzeriuth could be Gevurah, except there's no other sephiroth that works for Nezach. So yeah.
Tataroo is Yesod, Meggiora is Tiferet, Zao is Chesed. Hod is Hod, Akzeriuth is Nezach, Shurrey is Binah (St. Binah), Mt. Roneal is Keter (Keterburg means Keter Mountain), Zaleho is Gevurah (fire), Yulia City is Daath (the hidden Sephiroth, not to mention that it's located underground close to the city of Daath) & the radiation and absorption gates are Malkuth and Chokmah. That's the arrangement that makes the most sense, anyway.
Yesod means foundation, and Tataroo Valley is where Luke's journey (and Asch's new life) begin.
"Guy is six."
"Welcome home Luke," Ion said cheerfully.
Luke grabbed Ion's shoulders. "Guy is six."
"Yes?" Ion could do math too. Why was Luke looking at him like this was so earth-shaking?
"It's cute things," Van explained, leading Gailardia into the ice cave by the hand. "Like Thing." And Tear. Although he didn't know if her name should be shortened to Tear. That was what his mother had called her, and Luke called her it too, but he would have called her Mystearica. Tear was too sad a name, and he'd wanted his little sister to be happy. They were going to be happy, now, so maybe Misty? Or should they have pseudonyms that didn't sound anything like their real names, so people wouldn't suspect?
"Didn't Pere come with you?" Ion asked.
"He stayed so we'd have a spy in the Fabre household, but, but Ion, Guy is six!"
"Yes, I can see that." Ion looked at Jade: did Jade know what Luke was going on about? Jade just shrugged, he didn't understand this cuteness thing either. Ion patted Luke on the back, trying to remember what people did to calm other people down.
Guy was clinging to Van's hand. Van had insisted on coming, even though he might be recognized in Kimlasca, since that was the only way Pere would trust Luke and Guy should have someone he knew there, instead of being handed over to strangers. Van took his responsibility to protect Guy seriously, even though it was really Guy's job to protect him and they hadn't done a good job. Well, it wasn't their fault. They hadn't been able to protect anybody, everybody on Hod had died. He was just glad Lord Gailardia was ok.
"He's so tiny!" Luke said to Ion, and Ion wondered if Luke was trying to share his excitement, like when he'd wanted Ion to understand why Luke found training fun. Well, Ion had learned to enjoy training, although not for the same reasons Luke did. Ion liked spending time with Luke and knowing that he could kill things that tried to hurt him, or Luke.
Guy was indeed short, much shorter than Van (even if he was obviously larger than baby Tear), and blond, and looked utterly helpless and vulnerable yet hopeful.
Honestly, Ion didn't understand cute. The purpose of cute was to invoke protective instincts towards small, helpless living creatures that needed nurturing, and Ion and his brothers had been incredibly cute, and Ion had learned that small, helpless needy things were murdered for kicks or thrown into volcanoes. The idea that an appearance he associated with 'victim' was this 'cute' that people kept talking about, was supposed to mean that things weren't supposed to be harmed, was counterintuitive. Van had tried to explain about big eyes and soft hair and so on, but Ion still didn't quite get it.
"That's nice, Luke." He hoped Guy wouldn't take up as much of everyone's time as Tear did. Well, at least he would start being helpful sooner?
Ion had been able to fake running a religion by the time he was a year old. The idea that people had this period of several years during which they were not only allowed but supposed to be a burden on others instead of productive was kind of annoying. He hadn't gotten a childhood, although Luke was trying to fix that. Ion didn't want to be useless, though, not just because useless things got killed (Luke wasn't like that) but he wanted to help Luke.
Van worked hard to be useful. Tear screamed in the middle of the day and woke people up and they had to scramble to give her what she wanted so she'd shut up. If Ion had acted like that, he'd have been killed. "He is potty-trained, right?"
"Yes," Van said, a little miffed on Guy's behalf. Then he paused. "Mostly," he corrected himself. "Pere said that he got traumatized. I'll clean it up if he does wet the bed."
"I'll do that, you've got Tear to look over," Luke said, almost hurriedly. "I didn't buy clothes that small. We can put him in a big shirt!"
"Are you sure that's a good idea? It's cold here."
"Right." Luke considered for a moment. "Tataroo Valley."
"Tataroo Valley?" Ion asked, surprised.
Luke said, "It's sunny and there are fields to run around in." The Zao and Meggiora sephiroth were in deserts, the volcano was out of the question (too close to death and too many memories for Ion), Akzeriuth's was in a city and the two gates were even colder than this, or they would be if it weren't for all the fonons.
"What about Shurrey Hill?" Ion wondered. "It's closer to the Cheagle village, and Van likes cheagles. Tear should, too." The Tear they had known had.
"Tataroo Valley is close to the main trade route to Chesedonia," Luke said, as they all followed Van and Guy towards the fire, where Nephry and the others were. Whatever Peony had said to Nephry, she had made enough peace with Van that he had allowed her to Tearsit, even if only because he was going to go get Guy and he wasn't going to put Tear in danger.
"Isn't that a reason we shouldn't move there?" Ion asked Luke.
"The monsters near the sephiroth are dangerous during the daytime, too dangerous for traders to wander over to the sephiroth. Van will be ok, though." Compared to Mt. Roneal's they weren't much problem. "And we can train Guy – he already has a wooden practice sword!" It was so cute!
"Don't hug Lord Gailardia!" They heard Van yell and winced in tandem. They turned towards the fire to see Van standing between a cowering Guy and Nephry, who was somewhere between shocked, hurt and peeved.
"Don't, please. Guy's afraid of women." Luke didn't want to talk about what had happened to him, Guy had suppressed the memory for a reason. "If you grab him, it will really scare him."
"It's ok," Van told her, calming down. "You didn't know."
Luke bent down to pick up Guy, inwardly melting over how Guy was so small that Luke could pick him up without straining himself, and Guy was already willing to be hugged and lean against him. "It's alright, see? We're all fine. This is Nephry, and she's going to be fine. I won't let anything happen to any of you, ok?"
Guy nodded hesitantly. "Ok." His voice was small, but when Luke finally put him down he reached for Luke's hand instead of Van's, even though he leaned against Van too when they sat together.
"Don't tell him that Tear's a girl baby, ok?" Ion whispered to what Van had dubbed the old people, even though Nephry was about Luke's age. "I'll tell Luke not to."