Professor Darlavon sighed as he looked at his papers. It had been several months since the re-opening of the Royal Military Akademy, and things were as normal as they could be. The kids still fell asleep in his class every time he opened his mouth, but he had come to accept that his lectures were not the most of things that one could be doing at a school for the fighting arts.

He flipped through his papers. There were a couple promising ones in this year's parade of cadets. Kurtz, the second son of a rather minor highborn family located in Gariland - he was skilled with a sword, and strong of heart. Not devout enough to wield magick, but that was a minor concern for one so suited to the frontlines. His twin brother Kennard was quite the opposite, and had taken to Black Magick.

The Professor leafed through the papers a little more, sipping his beverage as he did so. Delita Hyral - an oddity. He was lowborn, but that was not something that Darlavon held against him, although he knew some of the other professors thought otherwise. Skilled with a sword - extremely so, and held a good understanding of the workings of magick. This was a boy who could, given enough time and favour from from the church, possibly be accepted into the ranks of Holy Knight. Lord knows he had the aptitude for it, although the matter of his blood being common left the path to that future unclear.

Another page, and - ah, of course.

Ramza Beoulve.

Now this young man was a mystery. It was difficult to believe that he was cut of the same stock as Dycedarg and Zalbaag Beoulve and descended from the great Barbaneth hismelf - Ajora knew that the boy was below-average with a sword. Magick-wise he was no special talent either, able to cast up to the second level of Black Magick with ease but unable to go any further. He had a good mind for tactics and a somewhat charismatic personality, but his aptitude for being a commander was tempered by the fact that he was too gentle to reign in possible dissident soldiers.

Darlavon sighed. How could this be? There was no doubt in Darlavon's mind that the boy would never be able to match his brothers on the field of battle - they were able to achieve the grand ranks of Ark Knight and Rune Knight, for God's sake. Ramza would be hard pressed to become a Holy Knight, or even a Fell Knight.

Still, there had to be something he could do. There had to be something to Ramza that he could not see - something that the Beoulve name had gifted on him. He was good at raising morale, good at encouraging others with words and praise... But those skills did not lend themselves to battlefield practicality.

Hmm. The boy was brave, however. And he was always in the thick of the fighting when it came to it, no matter how outmatched he was...

The unarmed fighting of a monk, perhaps?

Bordam Darlavon had no idea what he was unleashing upon the world at large when he scribbled down a few notes on Ramza's profile.

"Did you hear?"

The tavern was abuzz with noise. Patrons of the seedier parts of Gariland gathered here in the evening to make merry and exchange rumours and information they had acquired through the grapevine. But today there was only one thing that everybody wanted to talk about.

"About the group of bandits who were put to rout by Akademy students? Certainly, but what news does this make? What makes this so different from the other crimes happening in these parts lately?"

"Not about that - you're missing the important bits. You do know that the operation was led by one of the Beoulves, no?"

"I heard it was the third son of the family. The bandits were guaranteed death the moment they were dispatched by the Northern Sky."

"Rumours have it-"

"The ground was split apart! I saw it! I came around after the battle was over, and the ground was split apart like cracked glass!"

"That matters not. I heard that among the bodies of the fallen, there were several who were simply beaten to death!"

The noise did not die down for the entire night.


Argath turned to look at his benefactor. Delita held out a bottle of the blue liquid, glancing at him with concern in his eyes. The blonde squire felt at his body - he had been injured during that last battle, and had hardly noticed it. He accepted the bottle with grace, gulping it down, and smirked as he felt his wound mend.


"Anytime," smiled Delita. This was the first time he had seen a squire from another part of Ivalice - everybody else in the group had come from the Royal Military Akademy. "Are you feeling fine after that fight?"

"Could be better, but at least I'm not dead," said Argath callously. He recalled the way that some of his fellow squadmates had been felled by the brigands as they charged the wagon and abducted the marquis. Had Elmdor been able to reach his weapons, Argath was willing to bet that there would've been a much bigger resistance. "Are you certain that Ramza will be able to get his brothers to assist the marquis?"

Delita shrugged.

"He's got a knack for doing what's right. That's why the rest of us take orders from him, after all," said Delita. "I'm not sure about Dycedarg, but Zalbaag is always willing to listen to him, at least."

Argath nodded. His mind went back to the battle.

"...Does he always fight like that?"

Delita grinned.

"Heheh, yeah. He used to be a lot more conventional, but then one of the professors at the Akademy recommended he sign up for a class taught by a monk - he hasn't gone back. It's pretty terrifying, isn't it? It suits him so well, I mean."

Argath recalled the battle against the thieves.

The thieves had been much better equipped than the cadets - strangely enough, and had much more experience in the field as well. The squires had been taught the basics of battle, but these rogues and false knights had spent years fighting in the Fifty Years' War and use that experience to their advantage. Argath had expected at the start of the battle - not daring to hope - that the conflict would've ended the same way as earlier, when his squad of Limberry squires had been eradicated.

It was not to be.

Whatever the cadets lacked, Ramza made up for in spades. He had charged into the middle of battle, straight at the front of the group - Argath would've called him a fool had he not seen what he did.

The blue-clad noble had destroyed any man that had come before him. Any strike that came at him from any angle was anticipated, and the attacker always recieved a fist in their face that was strong enough to break noses and shatter skulls. He had wade into battle with impunity, destroying armour and ribcages alike with his earth-shattering punches, and Argath had seen it happen literally when he split the earth and sent two Corpse Brigade squires tumbling to their deaths.

It was like he had the touch of God, Argath mused. If he came into contact with an enemy, that enemy would be eradicated. If he came in contact with an ally, that ally would be healed. If he came into contact with a dead ally, that dead ally would be revived.

Looking once more at the front of the group, where the young noble was leading his pack, Argath wondered what it felt like to be beaten to death by bare fists as they crushed both steel and bone.

"I never want to make an enemy of him," muttered the blonde squire.

Delita smiled in amusement.

"I know what you mean."

"Did you hear about what happened on Mandalia plains-"

"The Corpse Brigade attacked, right? The Order of the Northern Sky were late in getting there, I hear. By the time they had arrived, the marquis had already been carted off."

"-But did you hear about what happened during the-"

"One man - one man, I heard, demolished an entire wing of Corpse Brigade soldiers! Sure, they're rogues, but these men were prized fighters during the Fifty Years' War! Even the Order has had problems in dealing with them-"

"-You can't stop him, they say. You raise a blade against him, he crushes your throat without remorse. You raise a bow against him, he cracks your skull from afar! Cast magick - he'll rain a million blows on you, and even if you wear as much armour as you can he'll tap a few spots on your body and in three seconds you'll be dead-"

"Hey, hey-"

"-you know what they're calling him now?"

The bartender wiped a mug as he listened in on the conversations. Conversation had gone to nothing else these past few days.

"The Godhand, right?"