A/N1: Underlined sections should be crossed out.
A thick, flat package arrived late one night, not long after Basch's return. It was marked that it had been sent halfway across Ivalice, back and forth as the disruptions around the continent intercepted it and forced it to change hands. It contained a letter, its envelope torn, the pages damaged and out of order, filled with girlish penmanship and many crossings-out, which was most unlike the girl who had authored it. Basch helped Daina straighten it all out. She settled in to his side to read it, his arm heavy and comforting across her shoulders.
"I just received your last three letters!" Penelo wrote.
Some of the pirates we've picked up brought them, I imagine. Tomaj delivered them to me. He's here with us; he and Vaan argue all day long about who actually owns Galbana. Vaan has the Cache and pilots her, but Tomaj has put the most gil and time into fixing her up. Vaan named her. Galbana lilies were Reks's favorite flower, did you know? I'm so sorry to hear about Jovy. I can answer most of your questions, don't worry, but I don't know if we can come back to Ivalice. It's a terrible mess up here.
Maybe I'd better start from the beginning.
The airship. The derelict one that landed outside of Rabanastre and then was stolen? That was us. I hope Ashe isn't too angry with Vaan, but since we lost our ship because Balthier . . .
See, we're in Lemurés right now. We've been here – stranded, really –
Balthier hasn't changed at all. Vaan and I joined him and Fran in a treasure hunt up here in Lemurés a few weeks ago. The treasure was called the Cache of Glabados. We heard about it from Balthier, but I don't know where he got the information in the first place. He wouldn't give me a straight answer. You know how he gets. Anyway, there were originally three crystals in the Cache, but someone had obviously gotten there before us and took one. Balthier agreed to split what was left. He and Vaan each took a crystal. But when we tried to leave with the crystals, the whole island fell apart. It was as though the cloudstone failed. I wondered how that was possible without nethicite counteracting the Mist in magicite at the time. Vaan's ship – the used one he bought with his own gil – remember how proud he was? We lost the ship. She stalled and we couldn't save her when the island crumbled under us. We escaped on the Strahl. Balthier and Fran dropped us off in Rabanastre, and we haven't heard a peep from them since. Somehow, I don't think Balthier is done with Lemurés.
Vaan was heartbroken. You have to believe me, Daina. He never meant to offend Ashe, but when we heard about the derelict airship from Tomaj, Vaan just had to see it, like half of Lowtown and a third of the bazaar. The city guard wasn't letting anyone close to the ship but they were having a hard time keeping track of the crowd. Vaan slipped through. And when he got there, well, it woke up. The ship, I mean. It was reacting to the Cache of Glabados! The Cache is a large piece of auracite, apparently. Galbana runs on the energy stored in the auracite – our portion of the Cache is what brought the ship to Rabanastre in the first place. It . . . it called to Galbana. That's what Tomaj thinks. And Galbana brought us back to Lemurés. We think it had been preprogrammed to land at a certain place, but there was no one here to greet us.
Right after we arrived, we saved an aegyl from some pirates. They had confiscated his auracite and were going to kill him so he couldn't take it back. I was so scared, but Vaan wasn't about to let them commit murder right in front of them. The aegyl's name is Llyud, and he's . . . well, you'll have to meet him. He's the one who explained about the situation up here, and how his people are dying for their auracite. We're trying to help them. The aegyl, and the sky pirates, too. The Galbana is big enough to hold everybody. Maybe she was a passenger ship in the past? It's an uneasy alliance, but it seems to be working.
Vaan wants me to tell you that it was my idea, so of course it's working. I'm not so sure, but I do hope so.
We've been trying to find Balthier and Fran, too, to warn them. Balthier has another piece of the auracite, after all – if Galbana came for us, what's going to come looking for him? No one knows where they are. Not even Rikken. Trust me, Rikken has no idea what's actually going on. He got an early wind on the appearance of Lemurés and he's been running a scam to get rich quick and that's it. I mean, that's bad enough, but that's why so many sky pirates are coming with us. Rikken lured them here for a fake tournament, the sole purpose of which was to line his wallet, and now they're cutting their losses and want out. They're scared of the Judge of Wings.
We've met her. The Judge of Wings. Her name is Mydia. She ambushed us at the site of an auralith, which is a giant growth of auracite. The auraliths are special, though, Llyud says. They work like cloudstone. Their power is what sustains the whole archipelago. Without them, every single island would fall apart like the Shrine of Glabados did. But Mydia destroyed that auralith. She almost killed us and damaged Galbana so badly that we were stranded on a lower island.
We found a wounded hume there, though he wasn't a sky pirate. By his uniform, he was one of the Dalmascan regulars. After Tomaj nursed him back to health, he told us that his name was Velis, and that he was lost. He was looking for his lover.
Mydia. He was looking for Mydia.
He helped us, Daina. He worked to fix Galbana with everyone, and he told us so much. I honestly don't know what would have happened to us without him.
He and Mydia were lovers.
Before he died in the battle at Nalbina three years ago.
We killed Velis. For the second time. He was a yarhi.
See, Mydia loved Velis so much that she tried to bring him back to life with her portion of the Cache of Glabados, but all she did was bring his anima back as a hume yarhi. Llyud says anima means spirit, or soul. In other words, yarhi are anima given form by Mist. The aegyl have been summoning them for centuries, as helpers and as pets. It's part of their life here, as natural as an elemental's migration down in Ivalice.
But Mydia isn't an aegyl so she didn't know what would happen, and her plan didn't work. Now she wants revenge against Ivalice for taking Velis from her in the first place, and us for taking him away forever. We killed him because he asked us to release him. That was how he put it. Yarhi belong in the Land of Dreams, he said. They don't want to be here.
Before he vanished he begged us to save Mydia for his sake.
We have to stop her. For Velis.
We're going after her now, before she can destroy another auralith. We could use your help, and Ashe's. Come to Lemurés. Please.
It amused Daina that, even when speaking to each other, judge magisters never removed their helms. The wearing of the judicer's plate and the taking of false names accomplished two things: A judge magister's identity was protected, his past was erased, and thus, featureless beneath the helm, he became something more. He became the Empire.
"Excellency," Zargabaath said in a carefully controlled tone, straight-backed and lordly. His helm's two horns, severe as sabers, pointed down toward his shoulders. He had not taken a seat. "While I agree that we can no longer approach this far-flung unrest one at a time, I cannot sanction any action that will take you personally from Archades. You are the sole heir to your father's throne."
"Though we are an autocracy, I was elected by our people," Larsa reminded him.
"People who love you, Excellency, and who could not bear it if the doors of time closed upon House Solidor," Zargabaath replied evenly. "You are no longer the emperor's younger son, cushioned from violence by those in line before you. You would throw yourself in harm's way, and I do not know if the Empire could recover from losing you."
Daina and Basch had brought Penelo's tidings immediately before the emperor in spite of the late hour. Larsa's balcony office was only partially lit, the lights cleverly recessed in the bas-relief arcade, half hidden by overhanging greenery. The pool chuckled under the waterfalls, playing with the reflections of the stars above, cold and colorless now that the world was asleep and could not enjoy them. Larsa leaned back in his favorite green leather armchair, tapping his not-so-pointed chin with a gloved finger.
"It seems that you would deny those outside the Empire's borders help they sorely need, Your Honor. Is it truly your intent to leave the hunting of this elusive Mydia to the Lady Ashe alone?" Basch challenged.
Issuing from the visor, his voice wasn't his own. Daina kept her gaze lowered so that no one would see the discomfiture in her eyes. Who was behind the visor? Basch or Noah? It was impossible to tell. They were the same in every way. Their stature, the way they held themselves, even the way they strode around the palace's corridors and set their cloaks fluttering. Less perceptive ears never suspected the accent he mimicked without thought. He had even trained himself to sinistral swordsmanship, as his younger brother – his twin, his mirror – had preferred. There could be no gaps in his disguise.
Daina wasn't amused anymore. She wished they would take off the abyssal helms.
". . . sand queen has her own advisors aplenty to heap opposition on her shoulders," Zargabaath was saying. "You, Excellency, are but one."
"I will not be alone," Larsa interrupted.
Zargabaath spread a gauntleted hand. "Our number is sadly depleted though our role is not," he pressed, "an impairment I would fain see succored."
"You and my lord Gabranth have been overtaxed these past weeks. If one of you is off duty, then the other must perforce be on," Daina said in sympathy. She had suddenly recalled how Zargabaath, had been prepared to give up his life in order to save the city of Rabanastre from the failing Sky Fortress Bahamut. "Has the Senate yet approved the appointments of the new judge magisters? If they can choose replacements while we are gone, the crush of your duties should ease and allow you to focus on other matters."
"They shall release their decisions anon," he answered, acknowledging her concern with a slight bow. "However, much will need to be done to accustom them to their new appointments."
His muffled, metallic voice sounded faintly accusatory. By taking Gabranth away, Larsa had dropped these additional duties squarely on Zargabaath's desk.
"Meanwhile, this self-styled Judge of Wings continues to stage attacks throughout Ivalice," the child-emperor said firmly. "I regret the situation we leave you in, Zargabaath, but we cannot delay any longer. I will meet Her Royal Majesty and lend her my resources. We will go to Lemurés and put an end to this war. Judge Magister Gabranth, Lady Praeities, and I shall leave tonight aboard the Leviathan. To you, Zargabaath, I entrust my city."
A more honorable man, aside from Basch, could not have been posted to stewardship of the Empire in Larsa's absence. Daina hoped that Zargabaath was aware of his own worth, which had once tried to shield an enemy nation from destruction. He had navigated the minefield around Vayne's bid for power, a feat that no other judge magister had, and remained loyal to House Solidor and the Empire. His steady nature was needed now more than ever, if Ivalice was to reclaim her lost peace.
Zargabaath's visor, blank steel except for the red lenses screening his eyes like the tear lines that striped a coeurl's face, gave nothing away. He aired no further opposition. All present well knew that Larsa Ferrinas Solidor, once his mind was made, could not be swayed from his course.
Ashe, after Daina had forwarded Penelo's letter and Larsa's plan to her, had only one thing to say:
I await your arrival.
A/N2: Greetings and Salutations, FanFiction! It is currently Wednesday, July 12th, 2017, and I'm late for dinner.
Where do I even start.
I wrote and finished this story a few years ago, but I was never satisfied with it. The problems were simple but like big neon signs that couldn't be shut off.
1. I have still never played "Revenant Wings." There are parts of the story and gameplay that I don't understand, and other parts that I flat don't like.
2. The game script is so stilted it hurts. It physically pains me when I look at the cobbled-together dialog in later chapters.
3. The transition from the first part of the book, which was largely my own invention, to the game plot was abrupt and made absolutely no sense. Honestly, I stopped having fun with it.
These are the issues I have been working on for several months now. There is a version of Ivalice that has become my own through the quirks of writing and that is the version I want to shine through. I am trying to bridge the difference between Daina's story (ASftP) and my Noah's (WTB). Thus, I need to amend something: FAMP is no longer based on "Revenant Wings." It is inspired by "Revenant Wings."
To those of you new to this story, WELCOME! To those of you who might be wondering why more than half the story is suddenly missing and it is no longer marked Complete so why the heck did you get an update alert for it? . . . I ask that you please start over from Chapter One. The chapters currently posted have been revised and heavily edited. The essentials of the plot haven't changed, but I am much happier with how it is unfolding this time around. I have done my best to address all points of confusion and to make the story clearer for both fans and newcomers to Final Fantasy.
Of course, I hope you will review and let me know what you think. Please? ;3 You wouldn't believe how often I have taken reader critique into account when making these revisions.
I suppose that's it for now. This project means a lot to me. So much. All I really want is for readers to like it. :3
And on that, I will always be,