Chapter 1: To Defeat Destiny
o Kuput Forest o
The last place one would expect the captain of the Zexen Knights was the village of the most secretive of the Six Clans of the Grasslands. This was however where Lady Chris Lightfellow found herself. A girl named Yun had also said she could tell Chris about her father, Wyatt Lightfellow, once they reached their village. To finally find out how he died would actually be a great relief, since she had been wondering since she was little what had happened.
Chris looked up at the stone altar in the hollow of a particularly large tree. She had just come from a meeting with the Clan Chief of the Alma Kinan and needed a distraction from the information that she had been told, So she had taken a walk and ended up here. To the sides of the altar were other rocks. Unlike the altar stone these rocks hadn't been shaped in at all, but the way they were positioned was unlikely to be natural. This must be a sacred place to them.
According to Yun and the Clan Chief there were destructive forces sought to destroy a True Rune. Also if they were to be trusted, then her father was the bearer of the True Water Rune and had fought in the Fire Bringer War fifty years ago and he was still alive. Both of these seemed unlikely to say the least. First off why would anyone want to destroy one of the Twenty Seven Runes. They were the source of magic . Many people considered them Gods.
Chris' head was running in circles the information about her father was almost possible, since if you bear a True Rune then you do not age, but that didn't answer what had happened to him. He just disappeared one day. If it was true, then why did he leave? Chris had been too young then to clearly remember him, but she could remember her mother wishing to see him one more time when she was on her deathbed. Him still being alive was the last thing Chris expected to hear.
Chris heard the crunching of leaves behind her and turned to see Nash coming up. She didn't know much about him, but she knew he was spying for someone. I just haven't found out who yet.
"What is it Nash?" she said,"Were you looking for me?"
"You, yes as well as something else," said Nash, "A quiet spot."
Chris' hand slipped down to her sword, but she didn't draw it. If Nash had been hired to kill her then he would have already tried. "Why?"
Nash didn't seem to take any notice of he hand being on her sword. "To talk with you. I must be lucky, I found both at the same time."
Chris relaxed slightly, "So what is it that you want to talk about?"
"I'm not comfortable with this." stated Nash.
"Oh," said Chris raising an eyebrow, "Not comfortable with being in a place that has such odd customs or are you not comfortable with the spying you are doing?"
"What spying?" asked Nash
"I am not an idiot, Nash. And don't say you're spying on Fred, because we both know it isn't true."
"Well, someone in Toran could be interested in the last member-"
Chris glared at him.
"Alright, I was sent by Bishop Sasarai of Holy Harmonia to sneak into the Grasslands." said Nash leaning back against a tree.
"Harmonia, so that is who you are working for." If Nash was working for someone so high up in Harmonia then this put a new complexion on things. Bishops were second only to Hikusaak, the High Priest, God and Leader of the most powerful nation in the world.
"I'm afraid I am, but don't worry I'm here for an internal matter."
Nash's arrogance had often bothered her since they first meet, but this time it was even worse, "How can it be an internal matter if you are out here? I might remind you that none of this area is Harmonia, even if you seem to be tying to take it over."
"The alleged reason for our current invasion if to eliminate the rest of the Fire Bringer band, but Bishop Sasarai thinks the timing is odd and that someone else is pulling the strings, so to speak. Its my job to look into this." Nash explained.
A band that hasn't been active in the last fifty years and supposedly my father was part of, thought Chris but what she said was, "And you think that this destructive force they just mentioned has something to do with it."
"I don't want to believe that, but it does seem to fit doesn't it? On the brink of the cease fire Zexen and the Grasslands rebounded with a full-scale battle. At the same time the Holy Harmonian army invaded." said Nash.
Chris winced thinking about what happened at the treaty meeting. Everything had been going well, the Six Clans seemed to want peace as much as the Zexan Confederacy did. Next thing she knew the Grasslanders were attacking and Myriam and Lanchet had been killed. They had to flee though the Karyan village to escape - Concentrate on what is going on now. Chris thought before asking "So why are you telling me this?"
"Because I want to get home to my wife. The fastest way to do so is to ask the Captain of the Zexen Knights for her help in solving this mess." said Nash, "So will you help me?"
"It is getting late. We should see about getting some rest."
o A secret hideout o
Luc picked up the mask he wore. He said it was to keep people from recognizing him, but Sarah thought it was actually because he didn't want anyone mistaking him for Hikusaak or Sasarai. He had not taken finding out that he had been created, using the same magic that was used to contain a rune, very well. At one point in the weeks following that revelation Luc had ended up crying on her shoulder. It had taken a lot of convincing to calm him down, but even so he hadn't been the same since then. He was much colder now and focused on his goal.
Luc had put his mask down now and was looking at the True Wind Rune that was on his hand. His goal was to break the chains of destiny and the control of the Twenty-seven True Runes, so that humans could control their own fates. This was a worthy goal, even if the lengths to which he would go to sometimes scared her. She had supported him from the start. She had helped him re-ignite the war between Zexen and the Grasslands.
Sarah looked over at the specially made rune orb that held the front half of the Gate Rune. Truly finding it was a blessing, for it had caused some change to be made in the plan. These changes to the plan were a hopeful sign. No longer did the plan involve the death of millions of people and likely Luc's own death. Now they just had to do one more thing to make the destiny of this world break its fangs on the the destiny of another world.
"Luc are you planning on doing after we are fin-" Sarah was interrupted by one of the current banes of her existence, Yuber, teleporting in. Sarah didn't know if his teleporting was because of the Eightfold Rune or just part of what he was.
"Did you find it?" asked Luc without moving.
"Of course it was easy to find the place." replied Yuber with a rather off putting smile, "It looks like the Alma Kinan will have some guests for the little ritual. One of them Sarah knows well."
After tonight I won't have to deal with this 'man' anymore, Sarah reminded herself before asking, "And who might that be?"
"Chris Lightfellow." Yuber grinned as he said that.
"Using an illusion to make myself look like her for two minutes does not count as knowing her."
"You were able to impersonate her well enough that the Lizards thought she had killed their chief." He laughed without humor, "Wish I had been there when the Lizards made it to the Treaty meeting."
Why does he enjoy bloodshed so much? Thought Sarah as Luc asked "Are the guests likely to cause any change in plans?"
"If they try they will easy enough to take care of."
Luc rose up and put on his mask, "Good, Tonight will be a night to remember."
o Alma Kinan Village o
Once it was explained, Chris didn't much like the sound of this Soul Sending ritual that the Alma Kinan were about to do, even if they said it was no different from being willing to lose one's life in battle. It was the middle of the night now, as far as Chris could tell. She had only gotten a few hours of sleep before her, Nash and Fred had been woken up by the sounds outside. Those sounds ended up being the villagers getting ready for their ritual. They were gathering at the altar Chris had seen earlier that day..
This is a bit much even if others call the Grasslanders barbarians. thought Chris as she faced their Clan chief.
If Yun had said one word about not wanting to be part of it, then Chris would have gotten her out of this, even if she had to fight the whole village to do so. Yun wanted to do this for some reason, even if she would die from it.
The wind was picking up as if in response to the ritual. Then the wind picked up more and smashed the villagers to the left into the trees. Someone is using a wind rune, a powerful one. Chris drew her sword as she looked over to the left to see who had cast a wind spell. There were three people there. First was the man in black that she had seen earlier that day. Next was a man wearing a mask and the robes of a Harmonian bishop. The last was a blonde woman in blue robes who carried a staff. They might be the ones that Nash had spoken of, the ones who had incited a war between the Grasslands and the Zexen Confederacy.
The woman summoned monsters that the Alma Kinan archers could not hit. Chris tried to attack one of them, but her sword passed right though it. An illusion?
What Chris fought next though was not an illusion. The man in black pulled out two swords and rushed her. Chris moved to the right to avoid his first sword. She locked his second sword with hers, bad idea, he was beastly strong and almost dislocated her arm. Not going to work to attack him head on, but there are other options. Chris pulled power from her flowing rune and sent a wave of water at her enemy pushing him back.
"No" screamed Yumi.
Chris looked up to see that the Masked Bishop had gotten past their line of defense and was pulling out one of these odd round constructions that she had seen Runemasters use to store runes. It was about the size of Chris' hand and there did appear to be a rune in it. She was unable to see what rune it was though as he threw it at Yun. The minute it touched her, the world came apart at the seams. It was like a veil had been torn apart and Chris could see into the Emethral Plane.
o Emethral Plane o
Yun knew she would die from the soul sending ritual, but it would protect the Grasslands from the destructive forces that wanted to unmake one of the Twenty-seven True Runes. She was scared though, for after this she would be a spirit. After the ritual started though, the very destructive forces that she sought to stop had shown up here. Yun hurried to finish the ritual, but turned to see one of the forces of destruction, the Masked Bishop, throw something at her. It was the front half of the Gate Rune. When it hit Yun, her whole body jerked as pain flowed though her.
Though the pain, she saw a a vision of a dying world. The magic there was odd, for the people there didn't use runes and most people hadn't believed that magic existed until a year ago. Some still didn't. The reason that the other world was dying was because a man named Kefka. He could see her, just like she could see him.
Kefka reached for Yun and more pain flooded though her. Mountains clashed and the seas roiled while she tried to keep the worlds from being damaged too badly. After what felt like hours, but probably wasn't a new world was created from the two old ones. Kefka released Yun and she dropped limply to... not the ground, for there was no ground here, but a surface. As she watched he proceeded to absorb what was left of the Front Gate Rune. Yun saw the glowing forms of the other True Runes attack Kefka for his impertinence. Good, they will destroy him.
Kefka's destruction did not happen. Instead he pulled the ego out of the five Elemental Runes. Yun didn't know how he had managed that for the True Runes were the source of magic. It was horrifying, but he was not able to do this to the other runes. Whether this was because The True Runes were defending themselves, some have shifted shape, or that Kefka didn't understand how their magic worked Yun did not know, maybe it's both.
Kefka's eyes darted around and fell on Yun once again. He smiled and Yun knew that she needed to get away right now, but could not force her body to move. This isn't the physical world, if I just concentrate. But it was hard to concentrate with Kefka reaching for her. This wasn't how things were supposed to go. She wished that someone would come to save her.
. Someone did. He appeared between her and Kefka. This being looked mostly like a muscular man, except for the horns and clawed feet.
"What, you think you can stop me now, when you weren't even able to stop me from making your daughter my slave?" said Kefka to the newcomer, then he laughed. He had a most awful laugh, "I used the Slave Crown on her. She was a great weapon, able to kill fifty soldiers in under three minutes with her magic when under my control. It was great fun."
Yun couldn't see the being's face from where she was, but from the tension in his shoulders he was angry.
Kefka continued to rant without a care, "I killed you once already...no wait that was_"
"You didn't kill me. I gave up my life freely so others would have the power to fight you." The newcomer then stuck his hand into what was left of the True Water Rune. He gave himself up to the True Water Rune. Kefka had torn out the sentience of the Rune, but the being returned it by giving it himself. He was now the True Water Rune.
"Come, my friends, let us rout the accursed one." said the new True Water Rune.
Yun saw a being with skin the color of the ground after a wildfire, and a mane the color of embers, then a green bull, an old man with a long beard and a vaguely horse like creature with a horn in the middle of it's head, appear in the same way the True Water Rune had. They each took on one of the Elemental Runes.
"Have the Espers come to fight me now? Aren't you a bit late?" Kefka said laughing, "Come on I have killed hundreds of you and I don't mind killing you again, and again and again."He broke off, laughing manically.
None of the Espers, if that is what they were called, said anything. They started attacking Kefka the moment they were able to. To escape Kefka jumped back to the physical world. Yun could not follow him back, for she no longer had a physical body to return to. The ritual was complete, but it had not ended in the way it was supposed to. What am I to do now? She had no idea. This is not how things were suppose to happen.
o Alma Kinan o
The world snapped back into place for Chris, but things were different now. For one thing, there were giant metal beams, too large for any human, dwarf or lizard blacksmith to have made, sticking straight up into the air in a circular formation around the glade they were in. The center of the glade now held three statues and a man with odd taste in clothes. That man was giggling like a mad man and he looked dangerous.
"Halt, who might you be?" asked Fred as the man stepped forward.
"Oh you don't know, what fun, I'm Kefka. You sound like, like a two bit hero in a play." said the man
Chris was only half paying attention to this Kefka. The rest of her attention was focused on the destructive forces. Their leader was down on the ground clutching his hand and the woman was kneeling beside him. The last man in black had obviously decided to take care of the threat that this Kefka posed, at least that was Chris' best guess for why he tried to stab Kefka.
Kefka dodged him and said, "Bye, bye, I'm going to kill you now. Light of Judgment!" A beam of light formed between Kefka's hands and shot at the man in black slicing off half of his face. That didn't stop him but it did slow him down some.
By Sadie, what rune has the power to do that? thoughtChris as she ducked behind one of the statues while Kefka continued to rant. He seemed to like the word kill, for he was using it a good deal.
"That should have been stronger. I will get back at those damnable Runes and those stupid pieces of Magicite for going against me. Next time I use ..." Kefka trailed off and started giggling manically. His next hit killed the man in black. Then Kefka reached down and tore the man's rune out of his hand and plopped it into his mouth.
"Ouu, they're like little eatable statues." giggled Kefka.
The statues that had appeared when Kefka did started glowing red and one exploded How in the six hells does a statue explode anyway? But Chris didn't time to think anymore then that because some of the shards rammed themselves into her arm. At first the pain from that was just the normal pain if getting shrapnel in one's arm. Then her arm started to feel like it was on fire.
"Give that back. It's mine." Kefka said moving forward towards Chris. Fred stopped him before he got far.
The burning sensation was all though Chris' body now and her sight was blurring up. No that wasn't quite true, she was just seeing something different. Magic, that's what she was seeing, the threads of the sealing spell the woman of Alma Kinan were weaving – It would be completed some if they weren't interrupted and the spell that Kefka was forming to kill Fred.
Chris moved forward fast and was able to knock Fred out of the way of the spell just in time.
"Oh a stubborn one, aren't you. You can be my test subject for my new spell." said Kefka. "I believe it will be a delightful way to kill."
Kefka might be calling that a new spell, but Chris recognized The Shredding when she saw the blades of air coming at her. She could also see the web of magic forming the spell and she was able to avoid most of it, but she was slammed into one of the beams of metal as the blades of wind cut into her in several places. Fred hadn't fared so well. Chris wasn't even sure if he was still-
"I hate, hate, hate, hate annoying idiots who don't know when to give up. I will kill you slowly after I take back the magic you stole from me." Chris had no idea what Kefka was talking about. She was just hoping to the Goddess Sadie, or the Grasslanders spirits, that the sealing spell would be complete before Kefka was able to get another spell off.
The other two statues exploded, just as the sealing spell trapped Kefka in its grip. Chris' eyes burred again and her arm hurt even more now. She felt the sensation of movement, but wasn't sure if she hadn't imagined it. Her body felt so weak. Her legs collapsed under her. She felt some one catch her before she hit the ground.
Yes a new story, some of you are probably going "but you haven't finished 'Curses Aren't the Only Change' yet." If that is the case then I don't quite know what to tell you. This story here started as an outlining exercise. I have learned a good bit from doing this. The problem is that one of the things I have learned is that my outline for CATOC is a mess and needs to be redone before I am able to move forward with that story. I don't know when I will have the time to do that with all the RL things going on.
Anyway I need to stop talking about my other story here and talk about this one. As I said earlier Suikoden Fantasy started as an outlining exercise, this means that I have the whole thing outlined (well all of the first book at least) This should mean both that it will be a tighter story and I will be able to update it more often.
Notes on the revisions:
On the suggestion of changeling, over at David Farland's Writing Groups, I have added Yun's perspective to clear up some confusion. Thanks go to Rydia Asuka for prereading this.