Author's Note:Greetings everyone! Woo, where do I start? This is the new version of the very first fanfiction I ever wrote. Ah, from humble beginnings. Honestly, I haven't been able to stand looking at it for years now, but I wasn't quite sure if it was worth it to redo something with so many flaws, and it was forgotten among many other projects. However, now the gears are turning ^_^. I've been working on this for months and months, although I have had lapses in that period when I didn't have time to work on this. I figured though, I should stop being such a wuss and post the prologue, at least. I will do my very best to update regularly.
For those of you who read the original version of Vengeance Will Be Served,get that out of your head right now, because this is so different it can't even really be called the same story. The title of course, has remained, as well as a few of the original plot elements. However, trust me when I say this; even if you did read the other one, you will have no idea what's going on just like the new readers, other than a sense of occasional familiarity when it comes to vague elements of certain scenes. Virtually everything is different. Really I guess it just has the same title.
But, I'm rambling now. I'll be shocked if anyone here actually remembers the original. God, I really hope no one remembers the original. It's embarrassing. Depending on how young some of you are, it might have been before your time. Gah, that makes me sound like a fossil. Anyway, I obviously don't own Final Fantasy VIII, or the characters. As if the disclaimer matters anymore. No one cares if I write one more out of the 12,000 fics in this category.
The soles of his boots pounded violently into the ground, leather straps and belts clinking in the otherwise silent night. Squall Leonhart sprinted through the darkened streets of Timber, Lionheart in hand. The pale blue, ever-present glow of the blade was usually comforting to him, but at this moment, he didn't even see it. Only the tell-tale weight of the gunblade alerted him to its presence at all.
A small part of his mind acknowledged how dangerous that was, but he wouldn't allow it to slow his step. He was focused on the path ahead, on the task he had to complete. Keeping his goal in mind was the only thing preventing him from falling into a dead panic.
Despite his outward attempt at calm, his breath came in harsh, desperate gasps as he made his way past dim street lights, bewildered passersby gazing on in astonishment. There weren't many people out wandering at this hour, which he was thankful for.
The less he had to shove out of his way, the better.
She went out alone.
Damn it. How could I let her do that?
Rounding the street corner, Squall followed where his instincts told him to go, fighting the pang of fear that snaked into his heart. He had only just officially become her knight and their senses weren't yet in tune. Despite that, he could always feel her presence.
Then it had disappeared without warning, and he didn't think.
He just ran.
Once again, he reached for his sorceress, hoping against hope that he was overreacting. That he was wrong.
Once again he found nothing, and his chest tightened with dread. He bit his lip until he tasted blood, fighting the void of despair that came forth to engulf him. She was a sorceress. She could cloak her presence if she wanted to, couldn't she?
Why would she, and so abruptly?
He pushed the question out of his mind, not ready to face the answers it could bring. He doubted he ever would be.
At the end of the street was an alley that twisted off to the right. Without hesitation he ducked into it, and in no time was running down cobblestone paths, emerging in a clearing just outside the forest. Instantly, he could smell the blood permeating the air, and without any hesitation, the animalistic terror he'd been holding back sprang to the forefront of his mind.
Squall stood frozen with fear, arms dead weights at his sides. Part of him wanted to run. Turn away and never look back. A shameful defense mechanism, not that cowardice would help him now.
He shouldn't look. Deep down, he knew exactly what he would find, but he had no choice now. He was in too deep. Far too deep.
Turned out there was no saving either of them.
His steps, leaden and heavy, carried him toward the spreading stain that sank into the ground. A petite young woman in a pale blue duster lay crumpled and still, wings that were once pure white stained red in a grotesque parody of what they had once been. The bones were bent at odd angles where they extended from her back. As if her death had been sudden, they remained activated.
Those horrible, beautiful wings called to him, mocking him. If he'd been there, like she'd asked….if he'd just stayed with her like he promised, they would still be pure.
He realized with a vague sort of shock that he'd dropped his weapon as he lost all sense of composure, body shaking uncontrollably.
It wasn't true.
Ultimecia was finally gone, and they could live in peace. This wasn't supposed to happen. He wasn't supposed to lose the ones he loved. Not when he was finally happy.
She promised she wouldn't leave.
The silken, ebony strands of hair he'd become so fond of touching were tangled in a messy, ruined clump. Her face, though turned away from him, almost surely held a ghostly caste in place of the cheerful, healthy blush that normally colored her skin. Unable to support his weight, he fell to his knees in the pool of blood, reaching out to touch her, taking her into his arms in a pathetic attempt to breathe life into her cooling flesh.
This was all just a really bad joke, wasn't it? The moment his fingertips brushed across her skin, she would turn over to kiss him on the cheek, a flirtatious smile, the one that drove him crazy, curving her lips. She would laugh at the look on his face, but then she'd take his hand.
"Fooled you, didn't I? You're so gullible. My knight."
With hands that shook, Squall rested his palm upon her cheek, her face still turned from him, but she didn't stir, nor did she make a sound. Tears he struggled to hold back filmed his eyes as he cautiously reached out to grip her chin between his fingers, and with a resolve he didn't know he had, turned her head toward him.
In that moment, the last remaining pieces of his heart shattered in his chest.
This wasn't the face of the smiling woman that filled his every thought. No. This was the face of broken woman, of someone whose spirit had been crushed and driven from this world. Rinoa was alive and always smiling, optimistic, headstrong, impossible to deal with. She would never lie on the ground like this, cold and still.
She is not dead.
She can't be.
And yet, why didn't she answer him? Her lips were slightly parted. Her cheeks, warm to the touch. The facts were all wrong. They had to be.
It didn't make sense.
It didn't make sense that she refused to reach up and cover his hand with hers. It didn't make sense that her lips were parted, yet absent word and breath. It didn't.
The dam broke and tears streamed down his face, blurring his vision until the world was a hazy, unrecognizable mess. He was deluding himself and he knew it.
No matter what happened now, there was nothing he could do to change it.
Of their own accord, his hands trailed a path down the broken body of his sorceress, not stopping until they burrowed into feathers that were sticky and wet with blood. His broken wings.
His fallen angel.
Wild blue eyes passed blankly over the black and white feathers scattered around his beloved's form, just before a piercing cry shattered the night.
Gnarled trees bent as they succumbed to the pressure of the wind, leaves rustling and falling, branches snapping and creaking from the strain. A faint howling was all that could be heard for miles upon miles, as if the creatures dwelling here could sense the tension in the atmosphere.
Eerie shadows danced around the figures of two wayward humans who glided through the forest, moving with it, blending in as if they belonged there. The night was their ally, as was the turbulence raging around them. Rather than hinder them, it pushed them ever onward.
In one fluid motion, the larger figure came to a stop, her body shrouded in darkness itself. Long red hair whipped untamed around her head, further cloaking the face that hid behind it. Though her features were scarcely seen, one didn't need their eyes to know that she was smiling. It was a terrible sort of humor and it was present in the air, palpable with every breath one took as she drew near.
A split second later, another figure, one with a stride just as graceful and strong, paused a half-step behind her, his body hidden by the shadow of his mistress. In a smooth, baritone voice, he spoke above the wind.
He didn't need to shout. No matter the volume, she always heard him.
"Was that truly necessary, my lady?" the man questioned. His loyalty to her was evident in his tone, though at the moment, it was perhaps a bit skeptical.
A flash of anger crossed her face, one that went unnoticed by him.
Her smugness could clearly be heard in her reply, as could the authority and power she possessed. Even the trees and the leaves seemed to cower away.
"If I can't have her, she's better off dead. Besides…" A wicked grin curved her lips. "…if the sorceress dies, the knight will soon follow. That all plays very well in our favor, don't you think? You don't believe I will fail, do you?" Her voice was harsh and mocking, though he didn't seem to hear it. Only the words she spoke mattered, for they were just for him. He seemed to hang reverently upon each one.
A flash of lightning briefly lit up the midnight sky, illuminating a handsome face adorned with glowing emerald eyes. Relishing the moment, he leaned into her touch, closing his eyes as if he were basking in warmth he swore he could feel. "Fear not, my mistress. Vengeance will be served."
I don't know about you guys, but I think that's a pretty strong start. Reviews are wonderful if you have the time, and I hope you'll stay tuned for more ^_^. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep off of the path of procrastination and regularly update.
6/11/2014: I'm painstakingly going through each chapter and modifying the prose, because where it is now, I'm not satisfied with what I see, and I need to be in order to complete this story. And I will complete it, I promise you that. My wonderful beta, Bebedora, is also assisting me with the task, as I'm sending each one to her for revision as well before I publish. Stay tuned!