Disclaimer: Final Fantasy and all the characters presented in this story belong to Square-Enix and not to me.

The world of Gaia is ruled by four elements:fire, wind, water and earth. In ancient times, these four elements were kept in the form of four crystals. The crystals granted great power to the chosen warriors who lived in the world, warriors of both light and darkness. These warriors, whose purpose was to protect the balance of the world, began to desire the crystals' powers for themselves. Warriors of Light, believing themselves to be purer than all others, sought the crystals powers to elevate themselves as the supreme ruler of the world. The Warriors of Chaos, desiring power and an end to all things, sought the crystals to achieve their own ambitions.

Many wars were fought over the crystals. This fighting threatened the very balance of the world, causing the destruction of the land and the death of the living. Peace would reign for a short time only to be thrown aside again when another warrior blessed with gifts in weaponry or magic would use his powers to seek his own ambitions. Finally, after many years of strife, a Warrior of Light and a Warrior of Chaos set aside their differences and fought together. They gathered all four crystals together and, with their combined power, they shattered them. The shards were buried within the world of Gaia and the cycle ended. Magic faded from the world and the warriors returned to living a normal life.

The ages came and went in relative peace. The people of Gaia gradually forgot about the power of the four crystals, the magic that they brought into the world and the warriors whom fought for their powers. These details passed into legend as the world changed. However, though much was forgotten, none of it was truly lost...

In these modern days, strange things have begun to occur. People are being born with magical abilities. Weapons long hailed as legends began to reappear and their craft is being restored. Strange creatures are being sighted all over the world. The normal, every day person is once again being caught up in a conflict beyond their control. The cycle is returning to Gaia...

The cause of this phenomena is unknown to many who now inhabit this world. They look in suspicion on those with strange powers, even as they beg these same people to save them. Though many other solutions have been tried, it becomes clear now there is but one choice. We must gather them all in one place. We must bring them here...

The sun was shining brightly down on a cool September morning. The light reflected off of the pristine school campus, highlighting all of its new buildings and upgrades. This expansion had been necessary, as the once small academy that barely held a mere hundred students was now expecting to house several hundreds. The change had been necessary, as many of the schools sponsors had put it. After all, this was no ordinary school. How could it be, when the student body was made up of those with amazing magical powers and fighting abilities?

The school was called the Dissidia Academy and it was run by principal Alexander Light. Said principal had arrived at the school just after dawn to be sure everything was ready for the big day. It was not just the first day of a new school year, but also the day when hundreds of new students would be joining them on campus. A new stage had been built in front of the school for the occasion, while rows upon rows of chairs were set up behind it. Colorful streamers, balloons and banners were strewn all throughout the campus. Billboards of information and maps were spread throughout the buildings to help all their new students get acquainted. Satisfied that everything was in its proper place, Alexander Light returned to his office to freshen up before the droves of people arrived.

Straightening his tie in front of a long mirror by the window, Principal Light quickly glanced out the window. He could see that some of the students were already arriving and being directed to their seats. Appreciating their promptness, Principal Light turned back to the mirror to inspect his appearance one last time. His long silver gray hair fell neatly to his shoulders, highlighting his pale skin and clear blue eyes. His tall body, strong, but not overly muscular, was dressed in a blue business suit that matched his eyes. His dress shirt was a light yellow, covered by a light blue tie. His shoes were a pristine white and he took pains to make sure they stayed that way.

When he felt like he was ready, he turned away from the mirror and walked towards a small crystal that he kept on his desk. His fingers pressed against the side of it and it glowed for him. The light warmed his heart and the principal felt like his purpose was being affirmed. Comforted, Principal Light exited his office and headed towards the stage.

He strode quickly through the hallways and out the front doors. Some of his staff were waiting for him outside, informing him that most of the students had arrived and were seated. They would be able to start on time, just as they'd hoped. Principal Light thanked them for letting him know and told them to go take a seat on the stage. They hurried off and the principal walked slowly behind them. The principal could hear the chatter of many voices as the stage came into view. They all melded together to form a kind of cacophony of excitement, nervousness, laughter and happiness.

As he stepped up on the stage, the cacophony began to die away. Principal Light stood before the podium and adjusted the microphone as other staff members motioned for silence from the crowd. The voices finally died away and Principal Light's blue eyes scanned the crowd, taking in all their faces for the first time. He saw a tall, lean boy in the front row with wavy silver gray hair that looked much like his own. His eyes were a deep blue and he was wearing a dark navy dress shirt over black pants. A few rows behind him, he saw a much bigger young man who could have been the other boy's brother. He had the same silver gray hair, though it was much longer and the eyes matched. However, this other boy was much larger, both in height and weight, and the clothes he wore were completely black. Turning away from the two boys, he pulled a stack of notes from his coat pocket and laid them on the podium in front of him as he began to speak.

"Good morning to you all!" His voice was clear and bright as it rang out across the crowd. "Let me be the first to welcome you to our fine school. Words cannot express how happy my staff and I are to have you here with us today."

He paused as spontaneous applause and cheers began to ripple throughout the crowd. His eyes scanned the new students again and he saw a cheerful boy with brown hair and blue eyes wearing a white tank top with yellow frills at the top. A row behind him was a girl with green hair tied back into a ponytail, her face set into an impassive mask. A few seats from her sat a tall slender boy with an excessive amount of make-up on his face. His blond hair was tied back into a ponytail with a couple feathers in it and he was fidgeting in his seat with an incredibly impatient look on his face.

"As you are all aware, this is no ordinary school," Principal Light continued when the cheers had died away. "Our school not only teaches the typical school curriculum of math and science, but is also catered to teach students how to properly use magic and wield weaponry. The invitations we sent out to new students are only given to those who have these unique abilities. Take a moment to look around you. For the first time in your lives, you are surrounded by those who share powers that are akin to your own."

The new students did as he asked and they began examining one another, some with friendly smiles, others with shyness and still others with boredom and disdain. Towards the back of the crowd, his keen eyes spotted a moody looking boy with brown hair and a scar across his face. He seemed to take no interest in the doings of the others around him. A few seats away from him was his polar opposite, a boy with thick blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. He was excitedly chattering away with everyone, particularly the girls seated in front of him. Beside him, was a another taller boy—at least he thought it was a boy—with long silver purple hair, light purple lipstick and a feather sticking out of his hair. He had a haughty expression on his face and was taking time to examine his painted nails.

"I am aware that people of our persuasion are not always welcome in the world we live in." Principal Light said as the crowd turned its attention back to him. "Rest assured that here you will face no such prejudices here. Our faculty is made up of magic users and skilled warriors of all classes. Our goal at this school is to help all of you develop the powers that have been bestowed upon you."

Principal Light paused here for effect and took one last look into the crowd. He spotted a boy with messy blond hair leaning back in his chair. He seemed very laid back and he dressed like he was about to head to the beach. A few chairs behind him sat a tall, muscular wearing a similar style of clothing. His brown hair was sticking up and he had a red bandana tied around his head. He was also looking pretty laid back, but there was a smug confidence in this young man's expression that the other boy lacked. His eyes scanned the entire crowd one last time before he spoke his final words.

"If there is one thing that I would like to impress upon you, it's that you've been given these powers for a reason. None of it is arbitrary. If you're willing to work hard and accept your skills, then this school is sure to help you achieve your destiny."

Applause met the end of his speech along with some very loud whistles and cheers. Principal Light waved one last time at the crowd before he exited the platform. The Dean of Students took over at this point and was instructing the new students to divide themselves by grade before they left to try on their new school uniforms. He strode away from the platform and headed back to his office, where he knew he would not find a moment of peace all day.

His expectations were met, as his staff bombarded him all day with questions and paperwork. Though the work was a bit tiring, Principal Light was inwardly feeling quite content. The turnout from their invitations had been much greater than expected and the amount of fresh bodies they now had at the academy was encouraging. The way things were going, they were going to need every one of them. Pushing the thought away, Principal Light focused on his work and then spent the rest of his time greeting some of his new students. Each new face he saw served to remind him that this was the beginning of a new era at the Dissidia Academy.

The sun was beginning to set as all the orientations finished and the students started to meander back to their homes. Principal Light watched them go from the roof top of the school, some of them already leaving with new friends. The light from the sun lit up their faces, as if putting them all in the spotlight for a brief moment. That light reflected all their different expressions, from happiness to sadness, from laughter to anger, from love and hate. In the fading light they seemed to represent life itself.

"That was a good speech you gave today."

Principal Light didn't turn, for he knew the man was there before he spoke. Dressed in all black, with an eternally somber expression, the other man was like his shadow.

"I liked the part about achieving their destinies, although I might have left out the part about hard work and acceptance. You know that neither will matter in the long run."

"I don't think that's true."

"You mean you don't want to believe it's true."

Principal Light closed his eyes and gripped the railing in front of him. "I won't believe it unless there actually is no alternative. I didn't bring them here just to be pawns."

"It had to be this way. We need new blood. You know this."

The principal looked uncomfortably at his companion before saying, "They all look so young. They're still full of hopes and dreams. They still marvel at the future. Yet, they have no idea what awaits them."

"It had best stay that way."

There was a long silence before Principal Light spoke again.

"Are you sure we're doing the right thing?"

"No, but we are doing what's necessary."

Author's Note: Well, that was the first chapter of my Dissidia AU story. I know there was a lot of set up in this chapter, but the next one should be a lot more fun. A lot of the main cast will be introduced. My plan is to stick with the characters from the original Dissidia title, but I may have a few characters drop in from other Final Fantasies if I feel like it. As the story progresses, there will also some pairings, both hetero and slash. I'm letting everyone know this now so that there won't be any unwelcome surprises later on.

All that aside, I hope you enjoyed this first chapter. Please leave me a review if you have time and I hope you stick around for the rest of the story.