The Zodiac Brave Story: The Lionheart
Author's Notes: Okay, I'll try to make this extremely short because by god this story is going to be long enough as is without an extension of Author's Updates. Seems I'm full of rubbish in the regards to making the notes short. So in that respect, here's the ADHD version. Ramza Miluda Fanfiction, it's a novelization of the story with Miluda playing a better role than that of a red shirt.
As usual for works of Fan Fiction, I do not own the rights to the Final Fantasy franchise or this entry in the series. That belongs to Squaresoft or Square Enix. Of course, thank you all for reading and feel free to leave a review, I need all the criticism I can muster. Without further waste to your time, here's the story. I'd also like to extend my greatest thanks to all of you loyal readers for your patronage.
"A warrior takes sword in hand, clasping a gem to his heart...
Engraving vanishing memories into the sword,
He places finely honed skills into the stone.
Spoken from the sword, handed down from the stone,
Now the story can be told..."
The Sleeping Lions
The kingdom of Ivalice forever guarded by the twin headed lions and the sun that shines upon them.
A year has passed after the defeat of the Fifty Years War.
The King had died from a terminal illness earlier and the prince who succeeded him was only two years old. This meant his guardian would actually reign in his stead as King.
The Queen's elder brother, Duke Larg, was designated as guardian but, fearing an oppressive reign from the Queen, the parliament ousted the potential king and instead appointed the King's cousin, Duke Goltana as guardian.
Dukes Goltana and Larg are both respected generals who proved themselves in the Fifty Years War. Duke Goltana had the support of the powerful nobles but disenfranchised nobles and knights clearly supported Larg.
The Black Lion symbolizes Goltana and the White Lion symbolizes Larg.
This is the beginning of what will later be known as the Lion War.
Alazlam, a scholar of ancient Ivalice history has asked many people "Have you ever heard of the "Lion War?" He would ask, enrapturing the many listeners with his voice. "It divided Ivalice in two over who would be the successor to the throne. It ended with the appearance of a young hero named Delita."
Everybody living in Ivalice knew this hero's tale… But we know that what we see with our eyes alone isn't always the truth.
"The youngest son of the noble Beoulve family, true pillars of knighthood. There's no record of this boy playing an active part in history but, according to the "Duray Report" that was concealed for many years by the church, this unknown man is the true hero." Alazlam said to all who would hear him, from nobles high to commoner low.
"The church made many claims. That he was a blasphemer, an anarchist, and the root of all evil. This is his record in the history of Ivalice. But is this the truth?" Alazlam asked all who he spoke to. All around many voices began to question this. Alazlam replied to them all with the same statement. "Here is the true story of the Lion War… "
Ramza Beoulve, born on January the first. The day of beginnings. He is the true hero of the Lion War.
At Orbonne Monastery,
"God please help us, sinful children of Ivalice." She prayed at the pulpit. The storm outside was raging and the sounds carried through to the inside of the small building. She prayed in the cold dark building while lightning clashed outside. Water could be heard plinking against the tall glass windows when she said those words.
Behind her a knight spoke out, "Princess Ovelia, Let's go." The flickers of light occasionally revealed the woman knight to be wearing a simple blue surcoat over her plate armor, her blonde hair tied in a long braid that ran down to the back of her armor.. The symbols of a holy knight adorned the garment and the steel pauldrons that were visible as well. She stood resolute, and watchful for the protection of her Princess.
"Just a moment, Agrias…" the young woman said, still kneeling at the pulpit, hands clutched together in prayer.
"The guards have already arrived." Agrias replied simply. She did not wish to remain too long at the unprotected monastery, lest Larg or Goltana try to use her as a bargaining tool for their own rise to the throne.
A humble old priest who stood next to the knight Agrias spoke up, "Princess, don't give Agrias trouble. Please hurry…" The man's beard was dripping water, as were much of his tan robes. He had only recently come inside from the storm outside, and he wanted to ensure the princess was well before the journey ahead. Though she was royalty, he still looked upon her as a daughter. He wanted her to be safe on her way rather than captured alone at a monastery away from protection.
With a dull thud the doors to the monastery opened to allow entrance to three men. Agrias took a moment to inspect the hired protection.
The leading one of the trio wore dark armor, and looked to be as old as the priest yet in condition to prove his status as a warrior. His white mustache and dark eyes gave the man a very remarkable appearance, the least of which was caused by the dark golden armor the man wore.
Behind him followed two young men, not much more than boys. One was a simple squire, not wearing much beyond the armor of a student in the arts of war. His green shirt and trousers was visible in the gaps beneath the light plates of armor he wore, though on his head he wore a dull maroon cap. He was largely unremarkable. Many young warriors wore this similar raiment. The Academy at Gariland had a specific uniform its students wore as military cadets and this boy was obviously one of them, or had been one at some point.
So, this boy is a noble of some kind. Must be a low-born one if he's working as a mercenary. The woman thought to herself as she examined the final member of the trio.
His compatriot however was not dressed similar to either his leader or his fellow squire. He wore no cap upon his head; instead he wore his blonde hair in a rough style, giving the knight Agrias the image that he had not been able to rest for some time. His armor was more remarkable in that he dressed similarly to her, his armor being worn underneath his surcoat of a deep purple hue. He wore gauntlets and greaves of simple steel make besides his coat but his eyes showed a hint of youth, and also sorrow.
Mercenaries, never quite uniform are they? Agrias thought to herself before the dark knight leading the trio asked the question.
"What's going on? It's been nearly an hour!" he asked in a rough, demanding voice.
"Don't be rude to the Princess, Gafgarion." Agrias replied, only slightly annoyed at his tone. In reality she agreed somewhat with his want for haste. Even still, though correct he was in the presence of the young princess and he needn't be so abrupt towards her.
Immediately the two squires kneeled as well at the mention of the princess. Gafgarion however simply bowed his head, asking "Is this going to be alright, Agrias?" in a much calmer tone. He continued saying "This is an urgent issue for us."
"So there are rude knaves even amongst the Hokuten?" She asked back to him, chastising for his earlier rudeness.
At this Gafgarion raised his head once more, defiantly stating "I'm being more than kind to the guard captains here. Besides, we're mercenaries hired by the Hokuten. I'm not obliged to show respect to you." He locked eyes with Agrias at this.
"What? How dare you!" She responded. Were they in less dire circumstances she would have demanded satisfaction from the impudent warrior at this. She was a knight in the direct defense of the princess of Ivalice, she was warranted some respect.
A moment passed where Agrias forced herself to remain calm. My nerves must be getting to me, she thought to herself.
I've been on edge for so long. I'll feel far better when we get back to safety but for now rudeness aside these men are still here to protect the princess just as I am. I will simply have to deal with a bit of uncouth behavior for a while. She finished her thought as the Princess rose from her kneeling stance and wiped the dust off of her white robes.
Princess Ovelia calmly stated "Enough. Let's go." She wrapped her red cloak around herself in preparation for braving the storm outside. The princess walked forward to the priest to speak one last time before departing.
"Go with God." He wished her, embracing the young woman he had treated as a daughter for so long.
"You too, Simon." She wished him, returning the hug.
At this moment a loud crash could be heard as a knight forced open the doors to the monastery and limped her way inside. Blood could be seen on her armor, though if it was all hers or the enemies could not be discerned. "Lady Agrias! The enemy!" She shouted nearly collapsing in her rush through the room. However, Simon came forth and caught her before she completely collapsed onto the floor, leaving her kneeling and clutching her side, breaths coming in pained gasps.
"Goltana's men?!" Simon the priest asked her, growing frantic that the princess had been caught.
Agrias charged out the door to see to the other knights that were accompanying her in the princess' guard.
Gafgarion just watched as she ran out the door, pondering out loud "What one must do to make money" before noting the look on Ramza's face.
"… I'm no longer a Knight. Just a mercenary like you." He said back to his leader.
"..That's right. Well then, let's go!" Gafgarion announced before he walked out of the room with his two underlings.
As they left they could hear Ovelia stating "Oh god..."
Outside the monastery Agrias was standing on the pathway leading up to the entrance of the building, her two Knights standing with her on the path, all three female knights in the service of their princess. They'd rather die that let someone capture her.
"The crest of the Black Lion?!" Agrias shouted over the falling rain. She could barely make out the symbol of a black lion over a read standard on the enemy's chest plate. From what she could see there were five of them. One Knight, Two archers, and two chemists. Not a truly menacing force but definitely a dangerous group. They could easily outlast Agrias and her two knights. The chemists would be the problem, if she left them alone too long they could just keep mixing potions for the enemy fighters and they would eventually wear down the defenders.
"What's wrong with Goltana, He's such a fool! Does he want to start a war?" Though there were no true knights from the Hokuten present, the Princess was still under their protection and by extension Duke Larg's. An attack by the Nanten of Duke Goltana would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Larg.
"Knave! There's no point in resisting" The Nanten Knight shouted back at her. "Just give us the Princess, or that beautiful face of yours will be scarred forever!"
At that moment, Gafgarion and his compatriots exited the Monastery y to join ranks next to Agrias and her knights. Gafgarion advanced to stand ahead of Agrias at the head of their forces shouting to the enemy. "Fool! Only idiots attack head on!"
Agrias quickly strode up to catch up to the dark knight shouting to him to "Leave this to us!" If they were all out here, who would protect the princess inside? Simon was a good man and very protective of her princess but he was no warrior. The best he would be able to do is die just before they took the princess anyway. A waste of life.
Gafgarion would have no such protest to his actions. "We can't make money that way!" he shouted back to her. As a mercenary, being told to step out of a fight was akin to being told to go without pay, unacceptable. "Rad, Ramza! Follow Me!" He shouted to his comrades before preparing to charge and thus the battle began.
"Kill them all! Don't leave any survivors!" Gafgarion commanded his comrades.
"Nonsense! There's no need to kill them!" Agrias said back to the bloodthirsty knight. It was clear though. War was beginning. One side wanted the princess; the other would not give her up. "That's just what Goltana wants us to do! Just let them go!" She shouted to him. She wanted to have a peaceful resolution to this, if that didn't happen then the whole continent would be gripped in war again and many lives would be lost in the process! As a Holy Knight she was trained to kill, but hated the needless loss of life.
"That's Impossible!" Gafgarion said back to her. She wanted to argue but deep down she knew it was pointless, these men would not leave without the princess and she would never give her up. It would end in a test of arms and by extension, a war.
Gafgarion charged forward, jumping off the path to the monastery to take a position just before the Nanten forces before he drew his sword and using the powers of the dark he slashed out with his blade at the enemy who was still meters away, the cut struck the poor man, drawing blood from a wound to his chest and in a horrifying display the blood spilled on the ground only to be drawn forward to the Gafgarion's blade where it was absorbed into the glowing metal, invigorating Gafgarion with strength.
Ramza followed close behind his leader, however, it had been some time since he had wielded a sword in combat, even as a mercenary he had stuck to using his bare hands, even as he had learned during the Death Corps Rebellion. So he did all that he knew how. Placed himself in position next to his leader and readied his sword, the strength in his muscles returning familiar and strong as he awaited an attack from the enemy.
Agrias charged forth much like Gafgarion, but she used the secret skills taught to the Holy Knights instead of his Dark Knight abominations. Uttering the spell she cried out "Life is short… I bury you with a steady sword!" As she struck out at the distant archer and immediately the man was struck with the force of the blade and it paralyzed him. His muscles would not respond to his commands.
Seeing their allies in danged the chemists ran forth and delivered potions to the wounded two fighters. The potions would heal the wounds a bit, though the magic of the two attacks would not be cleansed with a simple potion.
Agrias' two knights followed her lead and rushed forth to form a shield wall next to her. No one would be passing by them towards the princess.
Gafgarion wasted no time, uttering another curse under his breath he slashed out again and with this a spire of pure wrath shot forth from the ground and impaled the archer Agrias had stunned. Though the wound was fierce on the man, he was still alive thanks to the quick aid of his chemist ally. He was critically wounded, but not dead yet. If he could wait for a moment longer his ally would mix another potion to heal the grievous wound more.
Ramza saw this and rushed forward, slipping past the only enemy knight as he locked blades with Agrias. He jumped over to the steps that edge of the path where the injured archer was waiting and with a quick slash of his sword he cleaved into the man's exposed side and his target fell to the ground now truly dead before Ramza adjusted his stance to protect his back from the other archer.
Agrias fought the knight into a lock of blades until finally with a grunt she forced him back and quickly cut her blade across his chest, where he too fell to the ground dead as one of Agrias's knights cut down one of the chemists as he tried to rush her. It was a foolish tactic. A lightly armed chemist charging a fully armed and armored knight? Foolish.
The battle was looking poor for the Nanten forces. Three men down and barely any damage done to the defenders. The battle took an even poorer look as Gafgarion switched to a new target and used his dark sword to cleave down the other chemist.
Rad, not knowing where best to fit into the battle with the two magic knight Gafgarion and Agrias, he did what he thought was the best decision and slid into position with Agrias's knights and extended the shield wall they held. The female knight next to him just gave him a slight smile and nod of approval before they both stood their ground and ensured no one would get behind their leaders.
The final archer was cornered. His comrades were dead on the ground in front of him. He knew he was going to die. So the man did what he thought was best. He saw Gafgarion was going to be bearing down on him soon, Agrias was turning his way too and Ramza was going to be on him quick as well. He took a risk. Rather than be the only one left to die he just tried to fire one last arrow in the hopes of bringing down someone else with him. The best target was the inexperienced fighter, Rad. He looked like a simple squire, best to kill him at least. The archer notched what he knew would be his last arrow, and pulled back on the tight string as hard as he could before releasing it.
The arrow flew straight between Gafgarion and Agrias and headed for Rad. It flew fast, but at the last second the knight standing closest to Rad raised her shield and caught the arrow in the hard wood with a thunk. Rad barely blinked. He had seen it coming and was sure that he was going to die. He stuttered a slight bit but he managed to cough a "th-th-thanks miss," through his immediately dry throat.
The woman just smiled back at him, before she took her sword and smashed through the arrow on the opposite end of her shield. "Call me Lavian." She said still facing the battlefield, though in an instant it was over as Gafgarion charged in on the man and removed his head from his shoulders.
The rain was washing away the blood on the grass and stone, and all the fighters gave a deep breath as they all came down from their battle states, the peace was short lived though as they could all hear the scream from the princess.
"Let go of me!"
"Damn!" Agrias yelled as she ran back to the doors.
Ramza could see though that as Agrias was going inside another person was slipping out the back, dragging the princess with him.
"Come here and be quiet!" Shouted the man. Ramza could see a familiar red surcoat and the matching set of greaves and gauntlets opposite to his own. Seeing this he rushed back inside to follow Agrias
"Why should I listen to you?!" The princess shouted back as she tried to pull herself out of the man's grasp. The man gave a loud sigh before saying to himself "What an annoying Princess." Before he reared his armored fist back and punched her , knocking the girl out cold. He slung the unconscious woman over his shoulder and carried her down the stone steps leading to the back entrance of the monastery where his chocobo waited. He tossed the woman over the back of the giant yellow bid and secured her to his saddle before he jumped on and took the reins to make his escape.
Agrias had just made it out to the back when she saw the man escaping. She shouted out "Wait!"
The man turned to her, still grasping the reins and calmly said back "Tough… Don't blame us. Blame yourself or God." Before he whipped the reins and rode off on the swift running bird.
Agrias in dishonor could only kneel there and say to herself "Oh, God."
Ramza made it back outside, where he looked into the distance where the man had rode off to and said under his breath "Delita…?"