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[font=century][center][u]FINAL FANTASY LEGENDS & LEGACIES[/u]
[size=5]CRUSADERS OF CRESCENCE[/size]

[i]In the world of Crescence fate brings an unlikely group of future heroes together to uncover the truth behind the Seven Scourges plaguing the planet. They all have to choose their paths to achieve their mutual goal, which is no less than the salvation of humankind. [/i]

[u]WORLD OF CRESCENCE:[/u][/center]

Ten thousand years ago the planet called [b]Crescence[/b] was hit by a huge meteor, causing the planet to lose one fourth of its original mass. The dozens of pieces left from the crash are now circling the planet as moons. When looked upon from the right angle, the planet looks like a crescent moon ? thus the name.

From the broken quarter, the planet?s [b]Core[/b] is visible, shining in all colors of the rainbow. In legends the Core is where the monsters and demons, but also the dreams, come from. The sloping area around the exposed part of the Core is called the [b]Grail Crater[/b]. The Core radiates its eerie atmosphere to the crater as well.

Almost two quarters of the remaining surface of the planet is covered by water. The last quarter consists of the continents and the islands spread around the vast oceans.

The most populous of the continents is the northern [b]Troika Continent[/b], containing three united countries known together as [b]Three Thrones[/b].

Largest of the three is the [b]Queendom of Mertonia[/b], where magic flows from a gigantic green crystal connected directly to the Core. The pillar, known as the [b]Euphony Tree[/b], is located in the wondrous capital city [b]Miraclion[/b], where all the most important magic makers gather once every tenth year to discuss the important issues of the world. The city is encircled by the [b]Soulflow[/b], round river where spirits of the Dead guard the city eternally. The queen of Mertonia acts also the highpriestess of [b]Trinity[/b], comprising of [b]Goddess the Creator[/b], [b]Guardian the Preserver[/b] and [b]Doom the Destroyer[/b]. The office is not inherited, but when the queen feels that her time is drawing near, she will call potential women around the world for a trial, and the best candidate is chosen as a Holy Heir, who will sit on the Throne of Mertonia when the queen passes. Miraclion is the only big city in the fertile country; outside it there are just wild crystal forests, small rural villages and flowery fields. The climate is warm because of the strong magic. Mertonian people are tall and slender, with hair color varying in all colors of rainbow, from bright red to deep purple. Because of the Euphony Tree they often possess magical skills, but wielding a sword isn?t strange to them either.

The second country in Troika is the [b]Aristocracy of Rosaria[/b], governed by noble families ? or Houses ? who all have a rose of different color in their heralds. In Rosaria honor is life, and combat is every man?s duty. There are two large cities in the country, sworn rivals to each other: [b]Avalot[/b], ruled by the House of the White Rose, currently sitting on one of the Three Thrones, and [b]Camelot[/b], ruled by the House of the Red Rose, leading the Rebellious, who oppose the reign of the White Roses. The landscape of this westernmost country in Troika Continent is filled with misty moors and deep lakes. Cool winds sweep through the lands, forcing the people to hide inside sturdy stone buildings. The people of the country have long tradition of battle and war tactics, but they are also deeply religious. They often have a steady build, and their hair color is fair or scarlet.

Last of the Three Thrones, the one of [b]Astenia[/b], belongs to Duke Cid ? only the running number changes, current being the 13th. When one Duke Cid passes away, his closest living male relative will become the new Duke Cid. Lately the country has specialized in capturing magic inside machines, and the capital [b]Mekanopolis[/b] is now completely dependent of such machina. There isn?t much life outside the capital, though, as the landscape is mountainous and the soil rough and rocky. The climate is temperate on the valleys, but cold up in the snowy mountains. Astenians are the smallest in size of the people of Troika, and they have dark, thick hairs. But what they lack in size they make up in intelligence, and they are considered as the most scientifically advanced nation in whole Crescence.

The countries of the Three Thrones meet at one point along the southern coast, and in that point lies the bustling trade city [b]Port Junction[/b], namely free from the politics of the Thrones. In truth, however, the coastal city is governed by a City Council, and rumors say that all of the three rulers of the continent have their own sources inside the Council. There are people from all three countries of Troika ? and Arch Continent as well ? but those who are born there have a natural insight for trading and bargaining.

To the southeast from the Troika Continent lies the vast [b]Arch Continent[/b], all of which belongs to the [b]Archane Empire[/b]. However, most of the continent is deserted, as it is right on the edge of the Grail Crater. The population concentrates on three locations: the highly fortified [b]Imperial Capital Archabad[/b] in the south, from which the Emperor ? currently a small child ? is never supposed to leave; the western harbor city [b]Port Azure[/b], notorious for its questionable freedom of laws; and the northern mountaintop city of [b]Crimson Heights[/b], home to the mysterious Dragon Monks, who prefer a secluded life. The great desert in the middle of the continent ? known as [b]Gargara Desert[/b] ? is infested by monsters from the Core, thus few are the people who dare to go there. The desert is considered as the only route to the Grail Crater, but nobody really wants to go there. There is hardly any vegetation on the continent, and the climate is hot and pressing, although the coastal area gets fresh winds every now and then. Because of the climate, the Archane people have dark skin and hair. They are usually slim, which is beneficial for careers such as dancer, thief and assassin. In Troika Continent the people of the Empire are often considered mischievous and untrustworthy, and this attitude feeds the Archane?s urge to make a living by any means necessary. The people in the Three Thrones also accuse the Archane for putting their Emperor above the Trinity, which really is a fact. The Emperor is considered omnipotent, but since the commoners never see him, this power is used by Imperial Advisors.

South from the Troika Continent is the small but very fertile [b]Monsoon Continent, [/b] also called the [b]Forests of Eternal Rain[/b], for it is entirely covered by green jungle, with only occasional mountaintops peeking here and there. Inside the jungle live many unfamiliar monsters, and vagrant tales tell that an entire race of savage beastmen can be found there: furred, bestial looking people wearing feathers and pelts and carrying spears and bows. As the name tells, there is almost always tropical rains pouring down to the forests, but the climate is hot nevertheless.

At the south pole of the planet is the measureless [b]Glacier of Icenflare[/b]. It has gained its name from the blue crystal pillars bursting from the ice everywhere. It is said that in the actual pole of the planet rises the true [b]Icenflare[/b], a huge crystal pillar very similar to the one in Mertonia, except where the Euphony Tree is spring green, the Icenflare is arctic blue. Because of the close effect of the Core, the glacier is filled with huge monsters, but the legends say that an ancient race once inhabited the lands, and that the ruins of the culture can still be found somewhere there.

The waters of Crescence can be divided into three large oceans; around the Arch Continent is the [b]Ocean of Dawn[/b]; to the southwest from the Three Thrones is the [b]Ocean of Dusk[/b], which has the most islands ? known as the [b]Twilight Isles[/b], inhabited by monsters from the nearby Grail Crater; and the water area around the Monsoon Continent is known as the [b]Ocean of Peril[/b], because of its many reefs and stormy weather.

This is the planet of Crescence, plagued by the [b]Seven Scourges[/b], apocalyptical entities from the unknown: [b]Warlord[/b] spreads dispute inside and between the nations; [b]Avarice[/b] makes the rulers insatiable for power and wealth; [b]Plague[/b] spreads contagious diseases and [b]Famine[/b] makes the crops fail; [b]Nightmare[/b] twists peoples? minds and [b]Malform[/b] does the same with their bodies. The seventh, [b]Ragnarok[/b], makes volcanoes erupt and ground shake, rouses tidal waves and hurricanes and sends meteor showers down on the people, making it seem like the planet itself has turned against its children. [i]But what is the truth?[/i]

[url=http://otakuboards.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=17471][u](Map of the Planet available here.)[/u][/url]

[center]* * *[/center]

[u]INTRODUCTION:[/u]
Welcome to a game that is hopefully different from all those you have participated in the past. As the world overview told, this game is set on a world called Crescence that was hit by a meteor a ten thousand years ago, destroying the ruling civilization of that time, leaving nothing but ruins of that once glorious culture here and there. Now new civilizations have risen, but they have to face a new threat, a seemingly invisible one at this time. The prophecies tell of the Seven Scourges that will destroy the humanity, if those with courage and hope won?t take action. You, my chosen players, are those who have the power to save the strangely wonderful world of Crescence by your actions, your choices, and your commitment.


[u]CHARACTERS & PLAYERS:[/u]
Here?s a list of the characters and players involved in this game:

[b]Orderly Characters:[/b][list]
[*] [B]Gale[/B], the Mertonian Mercenary (Sage)
[*] [B]Serisay[/B], the Archane Guard (Cyriel)
[*] [B]Ascencia[/B], the Rosarian Fencer (Arcadia)[/list]
[b]Neutral Characters:[/b][list]
[*] [B]Biggs[/B], the Astenian Gadgeteer (Zidargh)
[*] [B]Kaeli[/B], the Archane Merchant (Wondershot)
[*] [B]Cortez[/B], the Archane Thief (Jokopoko)[/list]
[b]Chaotic Characters:[/b][list]
[*] [B]Logan[/B], the Mertonian Red Mage (inti)
[*] [B]Aster[/B], the Rosarian Dragoon (The (Sic) Shape)
[*] [B]Rakurai[/B], the Monsoonian Fighter (Shanghai) [/list]

If for some reason you?re unable to participate in the game, or later on continue it, please inform me via PM, and we?ll discuss on how to deal with your character. Of course, if this RPG dies before it, it won?t matter, but that?s not what any of us hopes, isn?t it?

I won?t specify any rules in here; just play using your own estimation, respect the other players, but most of all, enjoy!


[u]TARGET OF THIS GAME:[/u]
The first target of the game isn?t to go and hack & slash Scourges that just happen to drop on your route ? at this point, nobody doesn?t even know that there?s something behind the bad things that are happening all over the planet (such as wars, plagues and disasters). If you want to beat up something, use the monsters found in every uninhabited place. The monsters are those that are in every FF-game (flans, zuus, madragoras, goblins, bite bugs, and later on malboros, behemoths, dragons etc.). There are also special monsters known as Demons, who are minions of the Scourges, but since they?re so special, leave it up to me to decide when the party encounters one.
In case you?re wondering how the battle-system in this game actually works, just read the battle sequence from the beginning of this game below.
Oh, yes, the first target of this game is to gather everybody together. My character, and inti?s as well, will begin at Miraclion, the city of magic, but you others can start wherever you like (just remember your characters? bios!). When we have just about everybody gathered, we will sum up the info we?ve gathered during our journeys, and head forward together. The final target, of course, is to find out what the Scourges actually are, where they originate from, and how they can be defeated.
Imagination is always accepted, of course, so you don?t have to just blindly follow my lead, but you can add your own things to the plot as well (just keep the final target in mind, okay?)


[u]NPC-CHARACTERS:[/u]
Here are listed the important non-playable people of this game and the friendly creatures:

[b]Leaders of Crescence:[/b][list]
[*] [B]Queen Fuchsia[/B] ? the holder of the Throne of Mertonia and the highpriestess of the Trinity
[*] [B]Sir Armus[/B] ? head of the Templar Knights, the warlord of Mertonia and the lover of the Queen
[*] [B]Duke Cid the 13th[/B] ? the holder of the Throne of Astenia and the Master Architect of Mekanopolis
[*] [B]Lady Blanche[/B] ? the holder of the Throne of Rosaria and head of the House of the White Rose of Avalot
[*] [B]Lord Rougan[/B] ? the leader of the Rebellious of Rosaria and head of the House of the Red Rose of Camelot
[*] [B]Counselor Orlandu[/B] ? president of the City Council of Port Junction, who is said to have connections to the Queen of Mertonia
[*] [B]Emperor Shin Ra[/B] ? the child leader of Archane Empire, said to be the puppet of the Imperial Advisors
[*] [B]Judge Gojo[/B] ? head of the Imperial Advisors of Archabad, in charge of the justice system
[*] [B]Guru Bahamut[/B] ? head of the secluded Dragon Monks of Crimson Heights
[*] [B]Elder Seto[/B] ? leader of the Beastmen of Forests of Eternal Rains [/list]

[b]Other important characters:[/b][list]
[*] [B]Beatricia[/B] ? priestess from the House of the White Rose of Rosaria, who is sent to Miraclion for the Trial of the Holy Heir
[*] [B]Sade[/B] ? assassin and a Soul Reaver from Archane Empire, who tried to assassinate the Queen
[*] [B]Chap [/B] ? the only Chocobo Rancher who has trained his bird-beasts as skillful fighters
[*] [B]Rin [/B] ? the world-famous Portjunctionese merchant who sells just about everything[/list]

[b]Friendly creatures:[/b][list]
[*] [B]Moogles[/B] ? small, pink, winged and most of all cute ?mole-bats?, who inhabit remote places
[*] [B]Chocobos[/B] ? running birds of various colors that are traditionally trained as means of transportation, but currently a Rancher has invented to train them for battle
[*] [B]Moombas [/B] ? highly intelligent magical beasts with fire red fur who live in areas with crystals
[*] [B]Cait[/B] ? race of intelligent but mischievous black cats that lives in Port Azure and tricks gullible people
[*] [B]Qu[/B] ? semi-intelligent, big-mouthed gourmands living in several swamps [/list]


AND NOW, LET THE CRUSADE BEGIN...

[center]* * *[/center]

[color=royalblue]The wonderful city of Miraclion spread in front of him. Only to him, the city wasn?t that wonderful anymore. It was the city where he had been given birth in secrecy and where he had been raised in his father?s cold care. It is said that those who saw the city for the first time sometimes fainted in front of its majestic glory and beauty. The wall surrounding the city was tall and pure white, the buildings were constructed by magic, twisted into impossible shapes and forms, and the Temple of Trinity was considered as the most miraculous of all structures made by human. But above that all rose the huge, sky-scraping crystal pillar, shining in vivid shades of green and yellow. It was known as the Euphony Tree, the source of magic and serenity. Its roots were at the very heart of the planet, the Core. It was believed that as long as the Tree stood, there would be no wars in Miraclion.

But as said, he had seen this sight so many times it had ceased to amaze him ? if it ever even had. He was beginning to believe the whole charm of Miraclion was but an illusion. But again, what would he know, a lowly mercenary despite the position of his parents, denied by his mother and neglected by his father.

It was those two he had to face again, to inform them of his failure... again. His mission to track down and capture the assassin Sade had failed in the worst kind of way: she had escaped. She hadn?t even bothered to give him an honorable death. He still remembered the insulting laughter...

[i]?Stop, criminal! Stop and face the justice!? he shouted to the black-cloaked figure running ahead of him in the dark streets of Port Junction. He had followed her all the way to this harbor-city. He knew that if the assassin would manage to escape on one of the ships, his honor would be lost. How could he return to Miraclion and face the disappointment of his parents.

?I... said... stop!? he jumped on the cloaked figure. But when he ripped of the cape, he didn?t find the Archane woman he had expected, but a Black Coeurl. The feline monster growled ominously.
?What...?? he gasped as he backed down. The beast attacked. [/i]

*Engaged in battle with Black Coeurl!*

[u]PARTY:
Gale ? Level: 5, HP: 250, MP: 25 ? Commands: Attack, Sword Art, Paysword, Item[/u]

The Black Coeurl starts by attacking Gale with Poison Claw. The monster being much stronger, Gale is affected by poison, and his HP starts to decrease gradually. Gale attacks with his sword, but the monster dodges. Black Coeurl attacks physically as well, bringing Gale?s HP to critical. The poison drops his HP to 3. At this point the Black Coeurl ends the battle by transforming back to human form.

*End of battle. No experience, gil or items gained.*

[i]?Hah! You were no match for me, darling!? the woman laughed. She was about the same age as he. She had a dark skin like all Archane people, but her short-clipped hair was pure white. She wore tight leather trousers and vest.
?What was that...? You were a... beast!? he shouted confused, breathing heavily.
?Ah, you didn?t know I am a Soul Reaver. My saber absorbs the soul of the monster I defeat, and allows me to become that monster for a while, use its powers... It?s a fantastic ability, you should try it sometimes.?
?Shut up! You tried to kill my m... the Queen! The justice will be... ungh!?
?I doubt it will, sugar! Ahaha!?
The woman walked away, laughing a high-pitched laughter. He was left lying on the street, wounded. He thought about not using the potion and the antidote he had in his bag, but finally he decided otherwise. He reckoned the shame was big enough for a punishment of his failure. However, it was another case if the Queen thought so as well... [/i]

Gale Godspeed crossed the only bridge that lead to the city. Under the bridge streamed the ominous Soulflow, emitting an eerie green light. The round river guarded the city as a perfect defense, because it was unsurpassable by feet. The souls of the deceased took care of that. Gale didn?t know exactly how the souls ended up in the river, but he knew it had something to do with the Senders, the priests of the Doom, who worked at the Temple of Trinity. Without giving the river any more thought, he entered the city.

The Temple of Trinity was straight ahead, all the way at the other end of the wide, marble-paved street that started from the gate. It was a road Gale had walked countless times, many of the times with the same feeling of shame. Also the Euphony Tree was visible in its full glory.

He reached the Temple at the same time as a fancy-looking white coach pulled by white chocobos. The coach was guarded by the Royal Guard in their shining armor, so Gale reckoned it must carry someone very important. The carriage stopped right at the entrance of the Temple, and from it descended a figure in a white cloak. Immediately the person was surrounded by the guards, who escorted him or her inside the Temple. Gale followed the party within a respectful distance, having had more than his share of cloaked figures recently.

The main hall of the Temple of Trinity was a sight as well. The dome was decorated by portraits of legendary people and monsters. There were three main doors leading to the inner parts of the building, alongside with smaller ones for priests and servants. Above each three pair of doors was a colossal marble statue of one of the deities of the Trinity. The door on the right lead to the Great Library, and the statue above it was of the Guardian the Preserver. The leftmost door was guarded by the statue of Doom the Destroyer, and it lead to the morgue, maintained by the Senders. The middle door beneath the statue of Goddess the Creator led to the Queen?s chambers. There used to be a hospital there as well, but when the population of the city grew too large, the hospital had to be removed elsewhere ? although Gale reckoned the real reason was that his mother couldn?t stand looking at sick and handicapped people.

Gale was going to head towards the middle doorway, but he saw that the white-cloaked figure was just entering there with the escort guards. The doors were closed after the party, and two guards stepped to block the way of anybody who dared to intrude.

Gale felt somewhat relieved that he didn?t have to face the shame just yet. Suddenly he felt a hand touching his shoulder.
?Greetings, Gale! Long time no see!?
Gale turned, and saw a face he really hadn?t seen in a while.[/color][/font]
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Serisay came in quickly, her light tunic and robes making graceful lines in the air. She sank immediately into a bow, her form completely reverent.

"Your Grace?" Her voice was calm, graceful, and reverent, but those listening closely would hear the subtle tone of amusement and scorn.

Judge Gojo stood, imperious in his regal robes. "Serisay, His Omnipotence the Emperor Shin Ra, Chosen of the Gods, and Child of the Mighty, is displeased."

Serisay didn't bother to look up, and didn't move from her subservient form. "In what way may I be of aid?"

Judge Gojo's voice was icy and cold. "Where is your sister?"

"My sister...your Grace?" The mocking tone was more evident now.

"Yes! Your sister! Where is Sade, the Soul Reaver??" He was very angry...and obviously this situation with the failed assassination attempt had stressed his tiny brain.

She smiled to herself, but didn't let it show on her face. "Your Grace, forgive me for my ignorance. My knowledge is infinitesimal compared to your own magnanimous wisdom. If the sources of the Imperial Advisors do not know the whereabouts of the Soul Reaver Sade, then this lowly servant Serisay cannot know anything more. Please, forgive me that I cannot be of assistance."

He slammed his hand on the table, and the sound echoed in the large room, covered in marble and fine silks. The breeze struggled in through an open window. All sounds ceased. He breathed slowly, very audibly, and then said in a quiet voice, "You may leave. And the Imperial Advisors accept this apology from the Protector Serisay. And...please ask for my forgiveness from the Chosen of the Gods, that His Wisdom will forgive His lowly servant for failing to immediately notice His Bright Prescence at the Assembly of Judges the night before."

Serisay rose, and then bowed again. "His Bright Prescence will be informed...and I'm sure that the sources of the Imperial Advisors will have knowledge of the Soul Reaver Sade." She bowed again, and left, a wry smile on her face as soon as she left the room. Another battle won. They had to learn that even though the Emperor was a child, he would be no puppet. Not while under her protection.

Back in the empty room, Judge Gojo slammed his hand down on the table once more.

Serisay heard it echo, and another smile flitted across her features. The breeze was welcoming to her face.
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[COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]'Greetings Gale, my friend! Long time no see, eh?'
Gale spun around and saw someone he'd not seen for what seemed like an age.
'Logan! How glad I am, to see a friendly face!' he said to Logan, 'What brings you here?'
'"What brings you here?", what kind of a welcome is that?' spat Logan.
Gale was shocked.
Logan grinned, 'Kidding, my friend, kidding.'
Gale visibly sighed with relief.
'I saw you trudging through the city, and thought to myself, "When was the last time we had a chat, Gale and I? Perhaps we should chance upon some time to catch up?". Then I decided to take the chance offered and followed you here.' Logan finished off.
'Why are you back from the assassin hunt so early? Was she [b]that[/b] easy to defeat? And if she was, where's the evidence of your victory?'
'Slow down Logan! Not so many questions all at once, please.' Gale began to walk back down the way he had come. Logan stepped up and walked beside the mercenary.
'So? What happened?' Logan wasn't backing out of this, he'd found something Gale didn't want to talk about, so naturally, he had to know.
Gale sighed, then whispered, 'I was defeated, ok? Now hush about it until we have left the Temple.'
'Where's the fun in shutting up? Come on, let's get you down to the tavern and feed you some beer.'
[i]Crap![/i] Logan thought. He just remembered that you don't feed people drinks. [i]Meh, what's the difference? Gale needs to loosen up, not be so willing to do anything to please his parents.[/i]
The two walked past the fancy wall hangings and paintings of the Trinity and the current Queen, Fuchsia.
'Man, this place is too confined. I feel like I'm in jail or something...' Logan muttered.
Once they were free of the confining walls, doors and halls of the Temple, Logan and Gale made their way through the streets towards the Moogle Mansion Tavern/Inn.[/COLOR]

[b]EDIT:[/b] The word 'jail' has been fixed up, and castle has been changed to Temple. Sorry about the sloppy post, I've been posting late at night lately.
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[COLOR=TEAL][SIZE=1][B]Keeping his face well covered Cortez stalked though the dark streets Miraclion beign sure to keep his all to keen eyes looking for danger where ever it could be. He had been within Mertonia for quite sometime now because he had heard of the loot avalible from many of the noble families of the Queendom but also the experience of the guards within the cities and he could not pass up the chance to test his skill against these trained warriors of Mertonia. He saw a person ahead moving amongst the shadows, he tightend the cloak and moved into the shadows himself, before preparing to attack he took note of the guards weapon and his weak points amongst the armour he wore and his thin mouth broke in to a wicked smile.

"You there!", he called from the darkness, catching the guards attention, "Defend yourself!" He launched from the darkness with his blades drawn.

[I]*Engaged in Battle with Mertonian Guard*[/I]

[U]Party[/U]
[U]Cortez[/U] - Lv. 5, HP: 245, MP: 10 - Commands: Attack, Distract, Steal, Item.

[I]Cortez jumps from the darkness and attempts to hit the guard with the daggers. The guard parrys and returns the swing causing Cortez to duck and roll away. Imploying the [U]Distract[/U] ability the guard becomes confused for a moment presenting Cortez with the chance to posion him. Jumping to the sides Cortez cuts the guards forearm thus taking out some HP and posioning him. As the guard scrumples to the posion Cortez [U]Steals[/U] 15 gil from him.[/I]

[I]*End of battle. 25 EXP gained, 15 gil gained, no items aquired*[/I]

As Cortez walks back to the shadows he laughs gently to himself, "I hoped for something more challenging, the rumours I heard must have been false". As he turned the corner he heard voices talking with one and other and he pressed himself up against the wall and strained his ears to listen to them. "Where's the fun in shutting up? Come on, let's get you down to the tavern and feed you some beer", one of them said. Cortez raised his eyebrow, two opponents? A chance to double his EXP and gil, an chance not to be missed. He smiled slightly and closed into the shadows and followed the pair as they headed for the Tavern.[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]
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OOC: Inti, it's not a castle, it's a Temple, with a capitol T! ;) And please at least try to spell in common English, just for the sake of my understanding - you don't expect a Finnish dude such as myself knows all the words they say differently on the other side of the globe (meaning Australia?). Besides, your character is Mertonian, not Australian. :smirk: Well, great start everybody, let's keep this on!

* * *
[color=royalblue][font=century]
Gale walked alongside Logan, his childhood friends. He had only seen him occasionally past these few years, ever since Logan started his apprenticeship. But of course he knew about the assassin Gale was after - there wasn't a soul in the whole country who wasn't aware that the Queen had been assaulted. In Gale's opinion it had been a rather foolish attempt, no matter how powerful Sade was, because nobody could exceed the Queen in magic. She was blessed by all the three deities of the Trinity, granting her knowledge on all the types of magic: offensive, defensive and restorative. Yet, somehow Sade had managed to escape, and the Queen had trusted him to capture the assassin... She had really trusted him...

"You seem awfully quiet, buddy?" Logan exclaimed as they were nearing their favorite Inn. "Now can you finally tell what happened? How did the assassin defeat you?"

"She escaped, alright?! She could've just kill me, but she decided to leave me alive with my shame..."

"Ouch... So you were on your way to tell your moth... the Queen this. I reckon she won't be very happy. Oh, here we are!"

They stopped at the door of a weird, two floors high house with pink walls, red roof and a sign with a drinking moogle above the door.

"The Moogle Mansion! Wow, we haven't been here together for quite a while. Come on, let's go in!"

"I shouldn't..." Gale hesitated, stepping back.

"Aw, please! We walked all this way!"

"No." Gale said, turning away. He turned just in time to catch a cloaked figure jumping to the shadows of a nearby alley.

"What's up with all these cloaked figures?!" Gale sighed.

"What are you talking about?"

"I think we were followed. Come on."

"What... Gale, what about the beers? Gale, I need beer!!"

Gale marched to the alley, Logan hurrying behind him. Carefully he stepped forward. Suddenly the figure dropped on Logan.

"Hey, get off!!"

Gale grabbed the cloak, tearing it away from the assaulter. It revealed to be a young Archane man. Gale dropped the cloth and seized the thief instead.

"Who are you? Explain yourself!"[/font][/color]
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[font=book antiqua]"Lock the nut on the cog and twist..." The held spanner was pulled so it rotated in a clock wise direction with a creaking sound until it halted. "And then a press of the pad, and... close!" A beeping sound emitted from the bright blue screen which faded after a while, until the the tiny covering doorway was shut. The man on his knees smiled in approval temporarily until he stared into the curled metallic ball that was sitting in his knees, wiping his goggles from the ceaseless rain, he backed away and sat against the trunk of a huge tree which provided decent cover from the relentless weather.

Picking up the wet wrench and spanner that was drowning from the rain drops, he tucked them in his rucksack which was also sitting against the tree and then the man continued to look at the ball. "Now what?" he spoke in a whining almost childlike tone and after a further two minutes of waiting he rolled the ball a few metres ahead of which he crawled over to, just about to place his hand on the curled robot until a huge spurt of electricity jolted his gloved hand causing him to jump back in fright. Watching in awe at the electrocuting ball, it seemed to uncurl to reveal a complex, armoured droid that was shaking uncontrollably until the electrical emissions ceased and the droid somersaulted perfectly into the air, standing with it's cape fluttering with the wind and one fist pointed towards its creator.

Trembling, the young man reached for his back and plunged his hands past his water canteen, container containing a little cake, until he fingered what appeared to be a scroll. Immediately, he pulled the scroll out and held it in front of him of which he opened and studied hard, constantly wiping the glass of his goggles as they blurred from the terrential rains...

[center][img]http://millennial-fair.com/entertain/games/images/art-ershin-small.jpg[/img][/center]

Lowering the scroll and eyeing it with one eye and eyeing the robot with the other, he grinned and yelled, "I did it!" In reaction, the robot's eyes glowed a red colour of which it lowered it's metallic feet into the slimy mud. Dropping the scroll, the man pressed himself with so much force, covering his face in fear the robot would unleash what one of it's attacks was programmed to do, [i]Rocket Fist[/i], which consisted of the robot firing it's fist off at the opponent and then using a magnetic field for the fist to return.

"Don't hurt me!" the man called out in a girlish shriek from beyond his palms until the robot immediately went into a relaxed standing position of which it's eyes regained it's bright yellow focus. Walking over to the man in a waddling fashion, the robot bent down and picked up the scroll of which it rotated it's head around to survey it's surroundings. The plains of Astenia were illuminated randomly in short spurts as lightning appeared, following the terrential rains drenching the plains. It was a very unusual night and out of character for this part of the country but the fields still unrolled their carpets to whomever threaded the path along here.

In a quick motion, the robot focused it's head on the whimpering man who's belongings were splaid all about the grass, however, the robot appeared to be able to smile and it then spoke raising the picked up scroll towards the man, "Hello."

The man let out a quick [i]huh?[/i] as he lowered his hands and looked through his goggles at his robot. Reluctantly, he also raised his hand and recieved the scroll as the robot gently let the scroll fall, he then replied, "Um... hello. What is your name?"

"My title is XREG98045, what is your name?" The little droid lowered it's arms and looked into his creator's eyes.

"My name is Biggs. Biggs Clankheart." Even though the weather persisted, a sense of comfort filled Biggs's heart and he sat up cross leggedly.

"Pleased to meetyou, Biggs Clankheart. Do you know who my master is?" The droid mimicked Biggs and also sat cross leggedly.

[i]"Master?" Biggs thought to himself, "Oh, he must mean creator."[/i] "Well, I'm not your master as such, but I did create you." Biggs said gently and smiled.

"This is excellent news, thankyou for making me, Biggs Clankheart. I am a fully fuctional, combat experienced, friendly machina droid, I should be of some use to you." The Machina robot stood up once again as it spoke.

"I didn't make you to be of some use to me, I made you because I wanted a friend, and you are my friend. Now I'm going to give you a name..." Biggs paused in thought until he came up with the perfect name, "Wedge! Your name is Wedge." Biggs waved and grinned at the smiling robot who appeared to really appreciate being called 'friend' and being given a name.

"Thankyou very much, Biggs Clankheart. I am pleased to be your friend, may I ask though, what are you doing in such harsh weathers?" Wedge waddled over to Biggs and offered his hand to help Biggs stand up.

"Well, I didn't exactly plan for this, heh." Biggs took the hand as he was pulled up, even though the robot was only four feet tall. "But I want to explore the world, see it for what it really is."

The robot's round shutters on it's eyes closed and a series of short beeps was sounded, until its eyes opened once again and it spoke, "I will accompany you on your adventures, Biggs Clankheart. May I suggest we do not head in the direction of Mekanopolis as I will not be treated well there. We should head towards Miraclion, in the country of Mertonia."

"Sounds good to me! Let me just get this rucksack and we'll head off." Biggs spoke excitedly as he bent down on one knee, gathering his belongings together. After doing so, he felt a cold feeling down his neck and a weight on his shoulders, Wedge had jumped onto his shoulders. Stumbling backwards, with the weight upon him, he smiled and was relieved of how his new friend found comfort in his presence. "Off we go then."

Biggs held onto Wedge's legs as he began to walk, but this did not last long at all when he felt weightless. A sudden 'whoosh' sound was released the leaves beneath them blew in a cyclone. The duo were now flying two feet above the ground at a very fast rate. "Of course! Due to the rocket boosters I adjusted in your shoulders... Ah! It all makes sense now. To Mertonia!"

The man's legs were pinned back by the air current that was constantly increasing, however, Wedge's grip on his companion tightened to ensure that he would not fall behind. "Do not be afraid, ha ha ha ha ha." Laughed the robot.

"Isn't this the wrong time to be laughing, Wedge?" Spoke Biggs enjoying the speeds of which he was going at.

"I apologise, my emotions are not yet stable, you are welcome to rest if you wish."

[i]"You have emotions?"[/i] Thought Biggs.[/font]
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Aster silently walked through the dark moors, his lance in his hands, being cautious of anyone that would attack him from the thick mist around him. He began playing back his objective in his head.

[I]"There have been a group of White Roses that have been spying on the Rebellious, and they even managed to gather some information. There have been sightings of this group nearby. We are going to split up, find them and kill them. The winds will be coming soon so be sure to seek shelter. If we don't find them once the winds have passed we'll return to base."[/I]

Aster suddenly gripped his lance tighter as he was interrupted from his thoughts by a strange roar. He turned to face the direction the sound came from, prepared for whatever was going to attack him. Then the monster made itself visible has it jumped toward Aster. It was simply a Fang. It then rushed toward him.

*Engaged in battle with Fang*

[U]Party:
Aster - Level 5, HP: 300, MP: 10 - Commands: Attack, Jump, Dragon Soul, Item[/U]

[I]Fang runs toward Aster and attacks him with Tackle, losing 5 HP. Aster stabs Fang with his lance, killing it instantly.[/I]

*End of battle. 15 EXP gained, 0 gil gained, no items acquired*

Aster sighed heavily. It was a simple battle, and he was hoping for something more challenging. Either that or find that group of White Roses.

?NOW! GET HIM!? Someone yelled. Aster tried to locate the person who said that, but suddenly, 4 people appeared out of the mist and surrounded Aster. He could see the insignia of the House of the White Rose on their clothing.

*Ambushed in battle by White Rose Soldier, WR Archer, WR Black Mage, WR White Mage*

[U]Party:
Aster - Level 5, HP: 295, MP: 10 - Commands: Attack, Jump, Dragon Soul, Item[/U]

[I]Archer attacked first, and uses the Boost ability. Soldier attacked next, running toward Aster and delivered a quick slash before he could react. Black Mage casts fire on Aster, now having 264 HP. Aster suddenly Jumps into the sky, disappearing from sight. The group did nothing as they waited for him to come back down. A spear suddenly impaled through Black Mage seconds later, bringing him to a near-death state.

White Mage casts Cure on him. Archer attacks Aster with an arrow, inflicting more damage due to the previous Aim ability. Soldier attacks once more, but this time missing as Aster quickly dodged his attack. Black Mage casts blizzard this time, Aster?s HP reduced to 226. Aster attacks with his lance on Black Mage, killing him this time.

Archer fires another arrow, making contact from behind. Soldier attacks Aster, this time it was successful. Aster attacks White Mage this time, with a critical hit, killing him. Archer uses Boost again, and Soldier attacks, reducing Aster?s HP to 198. Aster Jumps, and the two wait patiently to return. Aster?s lance lands on the Archer, putting him in weakened state.

Archer fires again, but misses. Soldier attacks, and makes a critical hit. Aster attacks Archer, defeating him. Soldier attacks again, and Aster blocks it with his lance. Aster attacks, but misses as Soldier sidestepped and attacked him. Aster attacks and makes a critical hit. Soldier uses a potion to heal and Aster attacks again and Soldier is defeated, with Aster now having 161 HP left.[/I]

*End Battle 40 EXP gained, 20 gil gained, 1 potion acquired*

?Hope that was all of them,? Aster silently said to himself. Suddenly, he began to feel the winds pick up. Aster wouldn?t have time to head back. He would have to find shelter. Aster crouched to the ground, and jumped high into the sky?
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OOC: Sorry for rushing on with the story, Jokopoko and inti, but I just... have to. ;)

* * *
[COLOR=RoyalBlue]
[FONT=Century]Gale shook the thief, who stared at him with frightened eyes.

"Spit it out! What do you want?"

"Uh, sorry sir... I'm just a thief, I didn't intend anything - "

" - Other than mugging us and taking our gil, right?" Logan continued with a smirk.

"I [I]really[/I] don't have time for this! Logan, take him to the guards - I'm going back to the Temple."

The thief panicked. "No, not the guards!! I'll do anything for you, but just don't give me in! I was just trying to survive..."

The thief fell to the ground, his eyes teary. Gale felt something move in his heart. He knew how tough the world could be, yet his sense of obedience told him to take the man to the city guards.

"Uh... I'll have to consider this. At least tell us your name."

The thief turned his golden eyes to Gale. "It's Cortez, sir."

"Alright. Logan, take Cortez to the Moogle Mansion, and [I]keep him there [/I] until I return."

"Huh? Me? Why?!" Logan said astonished.

"Just do it for me, please?"

Logan glanced a pondering look at Cortez, who was still kneeling in front of Gale.

"Well, I guess I can do it. But just be back soon, alright?"

"I will", Gale promised with a nod. He left the mage and the thief behind on the alley, and made his way back to the Temple of the Trinity. The second trip there was no easier than the first, as Gale still didn't know what the Queen would do to him.[/FONT][/COLOR]
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OOC: It's okay for interrupting, as I wasn't sure whether we were going to battle or what. I was kinda hoping for a battle, but I'll write one into Logan's storyline later in the RPG.

IC:
[color=DarkSlateBlue]'So, why did you go trying to rob Gale and I?' asked Logan, a smart grin on his lips. Any answer Cortez gave wouldn't be good enough.
'I...well...uh....' Cortez scratched the back of his head.
'Ok, whatever then. Just keep your hands to yourself. You sneak one wallet, or a hand into anyone's pocket and I'll whip around and slice your arms off.'
'Why not just cut off my hands?'
'I did that to a fiend once...it sprayed blood all over me, and it just regenerated its them. My father said to go for the joints at its shoulders next time, so it didn't regenerate so quickly.'
The two turned the corner and into the Moogle Mansion's doors.
'Hi,' Logan said at the counter, 'Could I have a room for three thanks? Three single beds.'
The man at the counter looked up, saw Logan and asked, 'Another one, eh? Who's payin? I bet he's about rich of his pickings.'
Logan laughed. 'Yeah, I think the theif can pay for it, right there Cortez?'
'Don't matter if he can pay for it or not, he'll be workin it off anyways.'
Cortez looked confused.
'Cortez, it's a little obvious that you're a theif. Otherwise, why would an Archane man be here in Miraclion?' Logan explained.
Cortez just nodded.
'How much is it Bear?'
'That'll be 60 gil for the night. Gale gone to tell the news?'
'Yep. Thanks Bear. I'd best get this theif in the room before he causes trouble.' Logan finished and turned towards the stairs.[/color]
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[FONT=Century][COLOR=RoyalBlue]Gale stood in front of the double doors leading to the Queen of Mertonia for the second time that day. He approached the guards, but before he could open his mouth to speak, the doors opened.

The white-cloak walked out, escorted by a dozen Royal Guards. As the party walked past him, Gale caugt a glimpse of the person's face. It was a young woman, under twenty years old with bright blonde hair and big, light blue eyes. A tear fell from the corner of her eye.

The girl and her escorts proceeded out of the Temple, and Gale turned to face the guards. To his surprise, there was another figure on the doorway below the enormous statue of the Goddess. It was sir Armus, leader of the Templar Knights. His father.

"So, you have returned."

"Yes, father. I wish to speak with the Queen."

Armus studied his son's face, but his own face showed no emotion whatsoever.

"I see. I'll inform her Holiness that you are here." The older man turned on his heels, and Gale followed him to the hallway.

They arrived to another pair of doors at the end of the corridor. The two guards in front of it opened the doors to sir Armus, but closed them on Gale's face.

Gale felt trapped in the corridor. He couldn't back away, but he couldn't immediately face his destiny. He could only wait.
[/COLOR][/FONT]
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[font= book antiqua]The doors that were Biggs's eye lids opened to see that the rains had dissappeared and the night was quite calm, however, the land below him was much different to Astenian ground, there was no doubt about it, but Biggs was already in Mertonia. Looking onwards, a sillhouette of a city loomed in the distance, growling larger and more clearer with evey metre going past.

Biggs was still being transported by his new friend, Wedge the Machina robot, and upon looking above, the robot's eyes were restless, watching behind, to the East and West and in front of them, it was really quite a sight, until the head turned and the eyes lowered to look upon his 'master.' "Oh. You are awake Biggs Clankheart. You seemed to sleep very well, and we are very near the city of Miraclion, home to the Queen of Mertonia, we shall land at the growing moat surrounding the white walled city."

"The glowing river?" Biggs questioned in excited curiosity.

"Yes, the river contains the souls of the deceased, more of a defence facility as the souls will attack any offensive enemies who happen to fall into the rivers depths". Wedge finally looked onwards again as they were nearly 100 feet away from their destination. Gulping, Biggs regained his grip and adrenalin rushed through his veins as he saw the white walled city that was of such majestic beauty, he simply looked in awe.

After a very short time period, Wedge looked down and pointed. "There is our destination, I shall drop you off."

Nodding, Biggs continued to look until in shock he looked up again and shouted, "Drop me off!? What about you!?"

"Do not fear Biggs, I am merely going to turn around to gain elevation and I shall meet you in the [b]Moogle Mansion[/b]." Wedge loosened his grip after he spoke and then finally let Biggs go who charged uncontrollably until he stumbled and fell. Rotating his head to look behind him, Wedge smiled, rotated to the original spot again, and sped off at an even more increased speed until the sound of the jets faded away in the distance.

Biggs, laying with a dust cloud surrounding him, spat out the dirt and jumped to his feet of which he brushed himself down and straightened his very short sleeved, blue denim jacket. Placing his hands on the shoulder straps of his ruck sack he looked down in awe at the sight of the glowing river. Spirits floating in the depths journeyed on the river's current and it was here that Biggs realised he wasn't home anymore.

Wiping the goggles still tied around his head and covering his eyes, he followed the path that led to a draw bridge which was disconcertingly unguarded. [i]Perhaps the deceased guard these walls[/i], Biggs thought. Listening to the creaking echoes of the footsteps on the wooden drawbridge, he passed under the archway between the magnificent, white walls and continued along the cobble stone street which was silent, except for the sounds of the clicking of his footsteps.

Looking around, great buildings, twisted and winded in all odd shapes ascended to what seemed like the stars above whilst a great building stood, disciplined in front of Biggs. "Wow," Biggs let out a silent gasp. Feeling almost secure, the man began to look for the [b]Moogle Mansion[/b] and with no idea what this [i]Mansion[/i] would look like, he traversed the catacomb-like alleys.

Pausing to catch his breath, he listened to what seemed like more than a dozen footsteps clicking along the cobble stone streets so taking cover behind a helter-skelter twisted home, Biggs witnessed a platoon of guards surrounding a figure in an elegant, white-robe. Relieved that he was not caught he then run but immediately halted at the sight of a huge, pink building with a cute moogle on a sign above. [i]Moogle Mansion,[/i] Biggs thought.

Running to the double doors, he pushed forward as it swung an stepped into the brightly-lit tavern filled with many singing and laughing in the bar are to the left. However, Biggs's instinct was to rent a room and wait for his companion to arrive. Approaching the wooden desk, a broad man grinned at the sight of a new customer and welcomed the customer, "Hello there traveller! What can I do for ya'?"

Biggs placed his hands on his goggles and moved them up to his forehead so he could finally see clearly as the cool air washed them. "Erm, are there any rooms available?" He asked tiredly even though he had slept.

"You're just in luck!" The man shouted, pressing the bell hysterically for some odd reason of which a quick 'Kupo!' could be heard and a quick flash of a red bobble poked from the door way behind the desk but then dissappeared. "One of our guests just checked out, and the room's all clean and fresh. Will that be a single or double bed?"

"Single please," spoke Biggs courteously.

"Single it is! That'll be 60 Gil please..." The clerk paused and eyed up the pouch Biggs was reaching into and following the coins that were placed in front of him.

"Isn't that a little--?" Biggs was interrupted.

"Now then, off ya' go!" The man wavered his hands to almost waft Biggs away, so walking up the narrow, spiralling stairs Biggs reached the second floor and walked to the far end of the corridoor wondering why he wasn't handed a key or hint of a number. Jumping as a door to the door was slammed, two men began to talk, but shrugging it off, Biggs walked to along the oak floor boards and opened the far door to his left.

The room was small, yet cosy with a toasty fire billowing away behind a little round bed-side table. The bed itself was simply, yet welcoming as the pink sheets offered a sense of security under a window overlooking the street where the guards walked and the moon. Pulling off the still-wet rucksack, he placed it by the fire where it would dry and took off his boots that rest underneath the round table. Sitting on the bed, Biggs looked up to the moon, waiting and pondering, [i]"What if he doesn't come?"[/i][/font]
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[FONT=Century][COLOR=RoyalBlue]
"[I]Finally![/I]" Gale thought as the doors leading to the Room of the Thrones opened. He prepared himself, wiping off the last of the dust from the travelling, checking if his armlets and knee-covers were firmly fastened. Sir Armus appeared on the doorway in his shiny armor of white and gold, immediately shadowing Gale's worn-out clothing. Everything in the Knight Master reflected his mightiness and proudness.

"Come", Armus said bluntly. Gale walked into the room obediently.

One of the Queen's attendants knocked on the floor with his ceremonial staff.
"May the Trinity bless Her Holiness the Queen Fuchsia of Mertonia, the Holder of one of the Three Thrones, the Highpriestess of the Trinity and the Protector of the Euphony Tree!"

Gale walked forwards a few steps, then kneeling down, his gaze fixed on the polished mosaic floor.

"Look at me, my mercenary", commanded a voice that was deep and warm yet cool and strict. Nobody possessed a similar voice as the Queen Fuchsia had - and nobody could resist it. "Look at me, and tell me why you have failed?"

Gale lifted his eyes to look at his mother. She sat on a high throne, which was actually located between two similar yet empty seats symbolizing the two other nations of the Troika Continent. Her long hair glimmered in all shades of green - just like the Euphony Tree. The hair flowed from under the star-shaped golden tiara to her waist, and mixed with the bright red dress she wore. The pleats of the dress flowed down along the stairway leading up to the Thrones. The sleeves were long and pleated as well, but the front of the dress was wide open, showing more breast than Gale wanted to see. He did everything to avoid looking at the cleavage. Unfortunately that meant confronting the Queen's face. She was truly a beautiful woman: everything in her was symmetrical and streamlined.

But in her eyes Gale saw something very different: despite the distance between them Gale could see the eyes glittering like two emeralds in a bright sunlight. The eyes were filled with power and magic, and Gale felt that she could see right into his soul. There was also something else in them, something Gale hadn't seen before, but he couldn't tell just what that something was.

Trying to find an answer, Gale opened his mouth, but nothing came out.

"Very well. I don't need any excuses. You were given a mission, my mercenary, and you failed. I authorized you to take any means necessary to bring me the Soul Reaver - dead or alive. Words cannot express my disappointment in you, and there is no reason I shouldn't slay you dead to that very spot."

Gale gasped for air, but he couldn't take his eyes of the Queen. She had him under a spell.

"However, I am willing to give you [I]yet[/I] another chance, as you have been such a loyal servant to me. Rumors tell that I'm becoming weak."

Gale was totally taken by surprise. This was news to him; his mother, weakening?! How was that even possible! She wouldn't allow a sick people in the same room with her, even if he or she only had a cold!

"The rumors speak the truth. My health is at balance, so it is my responsibility to name a successor for me - a Holy Heir. I have been testing young women all over Crescence for some time now, but tonight I have finally found her."

Gale immediately knew that the Queen was talking about the white-cloaked girl. [I]"But why had the girl cried?"[/I]

"But as an unannounced Holy Heir she is vulnerable to political tactics. I will officially announce her status tomorrow, after which she is untouchable by all laws, but until then she needs personal protection aside from the Royal Guard. I'm assigning you, my mercenary, to protect her with your life. The reward will naturally be generous if you succeed in keeping her safe and sound for this night, but if she dies, I expect you to be dead as well. Am I understood?"

"Yes, my Queen, but... why me? There must be many better guardians for her in this Temple alone!"

"But you are the only one I really trust. You won't betray me."

For a short moment, the Queen stared at her son with compassion and... love. But that look soon drowned in the chaotic power of the eyes.

"The Heir has been transported to the Jaide Palace in the western part of Miraclion. She is waiting for you there. The Guard will be informed of your arrival, and they will inform me when you arrive there as well. The Audience is over."

With these words, the Queen rose up and walked behind the Thrones, disappearing between columns.

Gale also stood up and turned to leave, but then he noticed his father approaching.

"You have your orders, son. Go fullfill them, and don't you dare to disappoint me!"

"But father... Did she really mean it when she said she trusted me?"

"Her Holiness means everything she says. Now go!"

"What about her illness? Father, I have to know!"

Sir Armus looked at his son sternly from under his thick, silver eyebrows.

"I can tell you that it is not in her body, but in her mind. To our luck Her Holiness is wise enough to act before the disease takes anymore control of her. Now, go already!"

Gale nodded seriously, and walked out of the room, through the corridor and the central hall, out of the Temple and towards the Jaide Palace, where his destiny awaited him.
[/COLOR][/FONT]
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[font=book antiqua] After a few minutes of waiting, the music below seemed to cease. The odd cough here and there from the drunkards also ceased when the inhabitants of the drinking area left hurriedly, this could be told by the large number of rushed footsteps that could be heard. In curiosity, Biggs approached the door and opened it slowly to hear the broad receptionist bellowing in his deepest of voices. After exiting the room and walking further down the hall, the conversation could be heard much clearer.

"But you can't just walk into a room without paying something!" The receptionist shouted, slamming his fists on the desk that was half his side and shook vigorously.

"I must regroup with my friend, I apologise for bothering you." A robotic voice replied, which was very familiar to Biggs's ears. Following this reply was the sound of heavy feet walking up the stairs.

"Right, that's it. I'm sorry little guy but I'm going to have to stop you, whether it be force or not." The large man dressed casually jumped over the desk and stood behind the being that the robotic voice belonged to, clenching his fists and putting them up aggresively.

Running to the stairway, Biggs peered down to see Wedge with one foot on the step and the other on the first floor, head rotated to look at his threat. [i]Wedge!?[/i] Biggs thought, watching over the banister of what was to come.

*Engaged in battle with Inn Keeper!*

[u]PARTY:
Wedge - Level: 4, HP: 278, MP: 5 - Commands: Attack, Rocket Fist, Blitz, Recharge[/u]

The Inn Keeper makes the first move by charging at the machina robot and throws a fist at the embedded head of the robot but fails as the robot's body spins immediately alongside it's arms, winding the Inn Keeper. Stumbling back and gasping for air, the Inn Keeper backs away to the desk and grabs the vase containing some crystallised flowers and throws it towards the robot. Running in a waddling manner, the robot enters the bar area and takes cover behind the corner wall as the vase soars past missing the robot and smashing against the wall. Continuing to run to the far wall next to the gap in the bar, the Inn Keeper charges whilst roaring and picks up a fallen bar stool. Elevating it to throw with a huge amount of a strength, the robot copies the Inn Keeper and points it's fist at the large Inn Keeper, without hesitating, the machina droid launches it's fist which barely misses the Inn Keeper and ricochets off of all the walls in the room. The metal, jet propelled fist smashes the still-elevated bar stool, splinters flying everywhere, until it makes its final ricochet and and hits the gut of the Inn Keeper.

*End of Battle. No experience, Items or Gil gained."

The groaning Inn Keeper fell to the floor as the fist was returned extremely precisely into the arm of the robot. Waddling on past the Inn Keeper, Wedge continued his flight up the stairs whilst speaking, "My apologies sir. Now I will be on my way to regroup with my friend."

A quick 'Kupo!' followed after Wedge had ascended the stairs revealing a flying moogle, gently hovering towards the Inn Keeper with a jug of ale in hand. Pouring the ale into the Inn Keeper's mouth, it quickly hovered back into the little room whilst the Inn Keeper fell back fast asleep, snoring incredibly loudly.

"Wedge! That was incredible!" Biggs yelled, signalling Wedge to follow him back into his room.

"Thankyou, Biggs Clankheart. As I stated previously, I am a fully functional, combat experienced, machina robot, ha ha ha." Wedge laughed as he entered the room, closing the door behind the duo.

"That was the right time there, Wedge. You're getting to grips with your emotions. I'm very glad you came." Biggs smiled while sitting on the bed.

"Yes, I had some trouble with some archers on the walls. May I recommend our next destination?" Wedge stood, head rotating around at a fast rate.

"Sure, you got us this far," Biggs replied.

"Well, I witnessed a young man exiting the temple of this city who seemed greatly disheartened. Perhaps we should intercept him and see if we could be any use to him." Wedge opened the door and walked out whilst speaking.

"Sounds good to me." Biggs jumped to his feet and placed on his boots and then put on his ruck sack. Wedge was already waiting, greeting the curious moogle that waved at them when they left. The air was still cool and exiting down the alley to the left, they encountered the young, disheartened ma, rushing with his head down.

"Hello there, sir. Is something wrong?" Biggs smiled as did Wedge.[/font]
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[COLOR=RoyalBlue][FONT=Century]"Hello there, sir. Is something wrong?"

Gale practically jumped around when he felt a hand touch his back. This time the man who approached him wasn't familiar to him at all. First of all, the man - no a boy, actually - was clearly Astenian, and he'd never been to Astenia, neither he knew anybody from there. The boy was also with a strange mechanical creature of some sort.

"What do you want? I'm busy, if you didn't notice!" Gale snapped.

"We... uh, I just saw you and wondered if you were alright?"

"Thanks for your concern, boy, but I think I'm old enough to take care of myself."

Gale turned back and continued his walk towards west. Yet, he couldn't help overhearing the following conversation between the boy and his mechanical companion.

"Uh, Wedge, why [I]did [/I] we seek him out? He didn't seem very friendly..."

"He is important, master Biggs. Just wait and see."

Gale shook his head. Whatever those two had in mind, he decided not to think about it any more. Instead, he had to focus on how to make it through the night. An unofficial Holy Heir was a perfect target for political plotting, the history proved it. It was certain that at least one assassin would attempt to change the future that night, and it was Gale's duty to prevent it from happening.

Finally he arrived at the Jaide Palace, a big mansion - or a small castle - with walls and columns made of green marble. The roof was sparkling, and Gale knew it was because of the jade rocks embedded on the panels. The palace was the Queen's favorite summer house because of the rich and fertile garden growing on the back yard, surrounded by high walls. It was said that some of the exotic plants in garden were transported all the way from the Forests of Eternal Rains.

There were two Royal Guards on the entrance, and Gale approached them.

"I am Gale Godspeed. The Queen has made me the personal guardian of the Holy Heir."

A wide grin spread on the guards' faces.

"We know who you are", the other of them said. "Step inside. The Heir is waiting for you at the garden."

Gale nodded and went into the building, only to reappear from the otherside a moment later. There he saw her, by a fountain, wearing a long, white robe, but her golden hair descending freely along her back. She turned, and their eyes met. Her innocent blue eyes were teary no more - they were filled with hatred.[/font][/COLOR]

* * *

OOC: I reckon there's more to Wedge than it looks, am I right? :smirk:
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Judge Gojo had called a Council meeting, inviting all the Imperial Advisors, and most of his usual associates. He sat at the head of the low table, the others sitting quietly in their silks and fine robes, talking quietly to one another. It was not usually that a Grand Council Meeting was held in the dead of night, in the private rooms of the Judge Gojo. But tonight...was different...

"Let us begin," Judge Gojo said quietly, and the small murmurings ceased. All eyes turned to him, and he smiled benevolently. "I believe...that the whereabouts of the Soul Reaver Sade are still unkown." Now all breaths hushed, and the silence was so still it felt like time had been frozen. Judge Gojo continued, "Although her whereabouts are unknow, her activities are not. Our informants tell us that she failed in her mission, and that the [I]woman[/I] ruler of Mertonia, the one who calls herself Fuschia, is still alive."

At Queen Fuschia's name, all the advisors bowed their head and murmured, "May the Majesty of the Gods live forever, and bless us with His hand. May the Lord take His enemies swiftly, and seize what is rightfully His."

Judge Gojo nodded, and drew his hand across his beard in thought. "So, the Soul Reaver Sade has failed, and she fears to return and meet her retribution in the Lord's court. She fears to face the Almighty Face of Heaven, our Grand Emperor. She has failed...and now she suffers the shame of defeat. We shall find her later, and deal with her then. Our problem now, however, is what to do with the [I]woman[/I] of Mertonia."

The advisors whispered amongst themselves, and several ideas were presented at the table...however, none was what Judge Gojo needed. He nodded at each word, politely accepting the others' judgements and thoughts, and then started to speak again. "I believe...that we must send another." All words stilled; the room was like stone again.

A reedy voice piped up from one sitting at the table, "Who would we send? Who is there that is suitable, deadly, and yet at the same time, subtle?"

Judge Gojo answered, his voice firm and strong. "Soul Reaver Sade is not the only one of her blood, as you all know too well." The whispering commenced, and the voices rose. He continued, "Sade does have one known blood relation...one of the Honor Guard of our Lord...." [I]Serisay[/I].

Replies came firing from everywhere. "You would send [I]that[/I] female to fail like her sister?" "She's not ready! And she is not to be trusted!" "Her skills are less than Sade's; how can we send her??"

Judge Gojo's voice stopped them all like a storm, "Hear me! Now, hear me. It is true that perhaps Serisay is not as skilled as her sister, but I believe that she is only not as experienced. In actuality, I believe that she can be every bit as deadly, as we all know..." Heads nodded; Serisay was not a liked figure in the room. "And...I believe that if wielded in the right way, then Serisay will achieve our purposes for us..."

Two hours later, the meeting adjourned, plans laid, and a request ready to send to the Emperor. Serisay was to go to Mertonia. And kill the Queen Fuschia.
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[size=1][color=DarkSlateBlue]A short while after Logan and Cortez had walked into the room to wait for Gale, a loud crash was heard from downstairs. Something was wrong.
Logan rushed out, then remembered Cortez, and went back into the room to grab him. The theif was nowhere to me found. Just his luck.
The Red Mage drew his sabre and rushed out of the room, racing down the tight spiral stairs. What lay before his eyes was appalling.
Right there in front of him, Bear lay there, almost unconscious. The bar was empty, as people were running out screaming. The kupo that had been running all over the place had finally stopped, and was now hiding in a corner, holding his forehead and rocking back and forth, shivering.
'Bear, what happened?' Logan asked the huge Inn Keeper on the floor. It was amazing that anything had been able to take the giant down.
'There was some kinda monster, about 4 feet high, an' it shot stuff out of its hands. It looked like it was made of metal,' Bear groaned, tightenning his grip on his stomach, 'How can a fiend be made of metal?'
'I don't know, my friend, but I intend to find out. Whoever did this has ruined the Moogle Mansion's business for at least a week, as this attack will be heard about all over the city by morning. I'm going to track that monster down, and rip it apart.' Logan had a look of distaste on his face as he said that. Nothing hurt his friends and got away with it.
'Be careful there Logan. The moster had a companion. Something like...Bridge, no wait, Biggs. He had a last name, but I can't remember it. Don't go gettin' into any two on one fights.' Bear warned.
'Don't worry, I won't. Why don't you go and rest at my parent's place for the night? I'll send a kupo to them.' Logan whistled, and a really small kupo came fluttering down the spiral stairs, it's humongous red bobble weighing it down.
'Yes, kupo?' it asked, in a squeaky, tiny voice.
'Hi there little fella, do you think you could take a message to the Thrid Priestess of the Temple? And one to the Fencer in the northern part of town?'
The little kupo scratched its chin and looked around, as if measuring up the circumstances.
'What is the message, kupo?'
'The message is, "Bear has been terribly hurt, and he needs a place to rest. Can he stay with you guys for the night?". The message is from Logan Erbas.'
The kupo repeated the message, nodded, and flew off.
'Bear, don't worry, my parents will be here soon. You just rest up until they're here, then they'll take you to my dad's place for the night. My mum'll have trouble with the Queen tonight, after the bad news Gale had to tell the High Priestess.' after that, Logan hopped up and ran out the door, sabre still in hand.[/color][/size]
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[size=1] Ascencia Cadence, youngest daughter of the Lady Blanche, sighed as her cool, gray eyes parted through the mists to see the dark, sprawling shadow of her mother's beloved abode. The fog had come early tonight, she noted, and she wondered lightly if that wasn't some sort of sign - such things rarely happened. Lady Blanche was a formal, elegant woman, a strict but fair ruler, and a rather terrifying mother; sometimes it seemed as though she even controlled the mists in Avalot, as well as the rest of the city itself.

She slid off her chocobo, taking a moment to smooth down her trousers and fix her cloak. Her mother would not be pleased if she looked less than immaculate, and since pants had a tendency to dress one down, Ascencia knew she was walking the tight rope already. The fact that she had just been riding for several hours might save her some grief, and at that thought, the scarlet-haired woman scratched her chocobo's neck affectionately.

Half way to the stables, Ascencia was greeted by one of her mother's personal guards. Though he was young, Milod was a talented and clever swordsman and an incredibly reverent man - both something that Lady Blanche esteemed in her guards. He was also a very attractive youth, only two years younger than Ascencia, and she had the nagging feeling that her mother enjoyed sending him to dote on her.

"My Lady," He bowed deeply, his white-blonde hair obscuring his eyes momentarily, "I am to escort you to Lady Blanche at once."

Ascencia glanced from him to the stables behind him, where a few other pages stood waiting. "I suppose that means I will not be tending to my own darling chocobo," She concluded absently.

"No, Liaison. She was quite adament that you should come straight to her parlor." Milod signaled behind his back then, and the pages started forward.

Shrugging, she relented, and handed the reins over to one of the boys. "If she insists. I will not keep her waiting."

Milod bowed again before turning and leading her into the tasteful elegance of the Lady's manor. The grand corridors were spotless, as always, and there were a few nobles scattered here and there, chatting idly amongst themselves. Most of them bore the crest of the House of the White Rose, but Ascencia was pleased to see a few other Houses present, as well. She greeted them with warm smiles and a some kind words before Milod nudged her arm respectfully and they continued forward.

"This isn't about my trip, is it?" Ascencia muttered after a moment, pulling her arm away from his hand as nicely as possible. "You're rushing me."

He gave her a sidelong glance, betraying nothing. "My apologies, Lady Ascencia." Once at the gilded doors to the parlor, he signaled for the two guards to open them as he squared his shoulders. "Lady Blanche has requested to see her daughter immediately," He informed them, though it was hardly necessary. They knew she was expected, and opened the way for her.

Lady Blanche's private parlor was pristine. Smooth, dark hardwood floors stretched from wall to wall, only covered in spots by a well-placed rug or statue. Paintings lined the walls, and polished mahogany seats with cream colored cushions littered the center area, near the fireplace. The main seat, as designated by the higher back and the family crest, was a work of art. Ascencia loved that chair, and she had childhood memories of playing on the floor next to it as her family gathered about the fire. Sometimes her mother would pick her up and hold her in her lap. But as she eyed her mother now, crossing the room as confidently as she could under the woman's strong gaze, she wondered if those days were gone from her forever.

"Ascencia, you look well." Lady Blanche's voice was clear and sharp, but strangely feminine, and at the moment, Ascencia thought, slightly amused.

"Thank you, Mother. I hope you have not been waiting long; Milod ushered me in as soon as I had arrived."

The elder woman gestured for Milod and the other few guards to leave them then, though her eyes never left her daughters face. Ascencia watched them leave before turning back to her mother, placing a hand on her hip, raising her eyebrows as she inquired, "What requires both haste and privacy? Something rather important, I assume?"

Lady Blanche just smiled.[/size]
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Aster stood still in front of the old noble city of Camelot, taking the time to survey the large, elegant mansions, their lights seemed almost mesmerizing in the darkness of the night through the mist. It had been had been awhile since he last visited home, but now wasn?t the time.

A messenger had told him that Lord Rougan requested his audience after he returned from his successful mission. Eventually Aster began to walk again straight toward Lord Rougan?s Mansion. He soon arrived, reaching the gates. The guards remained idle has he passed through, entering the estate. Aster was then greeted by a young woman in a maid?s attire.

?Welcome,? she said, ?Do you have any business with Lord Rougan??
?I was called here by a messenger. My name is Aster.?
?Ah yes. The master has been expecting you. He is in the library. Please follow me.?

Aster was lead through the dark hallways of the mansion, illuminated by torches. They soon stopped in front of a large door. ?The library is beyond this door,? she told Aster, politely bowing as she let him.

He let out a sigh and pushed open the door, revealing Lord Rougan?s small, personal library. Aster continued further inside, trying to find any trace of him. He soon found him, deep in thought of the book he was reading, standing in front of a large window. Lord Rougan suddenly closed his book, and turned around to face Aster.

?Aster, good to see you again. First of all, congratulations on finding those spies, but there maybe more. We?ll be making another patrol soon, just in case,? Lord Rougan said.
?Thank you, my Lord. But I?ve been wondering why you have called me here.?

?Alright. I appreciate you wanting to get to the heart of the matter,? Lord Rougan started, ?Anyways, I have recently acquired some news about Queen Fuchsia, the holder of the Throne of Mertonia. There has been a failed assassination attempt, not only that there had been rumors that she is ill, and she plans to announce her successor tomorrow.?

Aster was a little confused by this. ?But Mertonia?s affairs don?t involve us. Neither do our affairs involve them. Why are you telling me this??
?I was about to mention that the successor is member of the House of the White Rose. If she were to become the high priestess surely she would plan to crush the Rebellious, and our campaign would have all been for nothing,? Lord Rougan explained.

?So what am I to do?? Aster asked.
?You must assassinate her before she is officially announced as the Holy Heir. Her last known location is the Jaide Palace. If she were to become the next queen it would not be good for us. I have already prepared a Chocobo for you. With the Chocobo you shall arrive in Mertonia within the hour. Good luck.?

Aster bowed to Lord Rougan and left the library. He soon arrived to the stables and found the Chocobo. He quickly took it out of the stable, and mounted the Chocobo, well on his way to Mertonia.
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OOC: Sic, you have read my mind - honestly! Well, I guess that plot-twist was kind of anticipated, but [I]still[/I]... wow.

* * *

[FONT=Century][COLOR=RoyalBlue]Gale faced the angry girl with precaution.

"Good day, milady. I am Gale Godspeed, sent by the Queen to protect you..." he said, bowing his head.

"Ha! I've heard about you! With you by my side, I'm sure to lose my life!"

Gale blinked his eyes in astonishment.

"Well, I guess it's better to just abandon this world than become a puppet queen for my aunt..." the girl murmured. "What, did you expect I'd be jumping in happiness because I got the 'honor' of becoming the Holy Heir? This is just a scheme my aunt put up to get hold of the Thrones of both Rosaria [I]and[/I] Mertonia!"

"Excuse me", Gale coughed to cease the girl's seemingly endless blabbering. "Before you go any further with your ranting, could I inquire your name, milady?"

The girl was clearly amazed that Gale didn't know who she was. "My name is Beatricia, and I am the niece of Lady Fuchsia of Rosaria, from the House of the White Rose!"

"Oh, that explains many things..." Gale muttered.

"Excuse me?!"

Gale sighed, as he realized he was only making his next night worse.

"Alright, I think we should move inside. It's not that safe out here."

Gale saw that Beatricia was going to fight back, but he spoke before she could utter a word. "As your authorized guardian, I am responsible for your life with my own, and frankly I'm not willing to die because of a spoiled noble brat that you, milady, seem to be. So, prove me wrong and let me escort you inside the Mansion. It is getting late, and I advice you get some sleep because you have a long night ahead of you."

The girl gaped for breath, but finally marched inside, grinding her pure white teeth.

Few moments later they arrived at the door leading to the quarters reserved for Beatricia. She went in, but when she was going to close the door in Gale's face, he prevented it with his hand.

"Excuse me, but I'm going to get undress."

"Do I have to remind you that I am your personal guardian, thus I'm not allowed to leave you out of my sight even for a moment."

The girl blushed, and Gale didn't feel any more comfortable either. But he knew his duties, and wasn't going to let an immature girl make him change them.

"Fine!" Beatricia shouted, stepping away from the door. "Why don't you invite the whole Royal Guard to watch as well?"

"With that attitude, I just might do that!" Gale snapped as he closed the door behind him.

Again, they faced each other for a long minute, but suddenly Beatricia bursted into tears.

"Huh? What is it?" Gale felt helpless watching the girl cry - he had a bad feeling that he had caused it. The noble women from Rosaria tended to be more sensitive type, no matter how proud they would act.

Beatricia fell sobbing to the large bed with generous silk sheets.

"I... I didn't ask for this! I can't do this! Why me, why did she have to choose me?! Just because I'm strong in magic?" The girl looked straight at Gale. "Tell me, why did my aunt put this weight on me? She knows I can't carry it!"

"I... honestly don't know", Gale shrugged, not knowing what he should do.

"Please, help me, Giles!"

"Erhm, it's Gale, milady. But how can I help you?"

The huge, sky-blue eyes seemed to fill Gale's mind. He couldn't resist them...

"Take me away", Beatricia whispered.

Gale was going to answer, when suddenly he heard a noice coming outside the only window of the room. He walked to investigate it, opening the window to peek outside. The quarters were at fifth floor, so he reckoned nobody was going to just bust in from it. He was wrong.

With amazing swiftness, a hooded figure jumped through the open window, knocking Gale to the floor with his decorative lance.

But Gale was well trained, so he was quickly back on feet. Swiftly he drew his yellow longsword, the Gilventure, and confronted the assassin.

*Engaged in battle with Assassin*

[U]PARTY:[/U]
Gale - level:5, HP: 250, MP:25 - commands: Attack, Sword Art, Paysword, Item

The hooded assassin charged first with tremendous speed. Gale got hit, but he used his "Counter" -ability to quickly revenge the attack. Then he made the "Sword Art" -move "Slam" to damage the assassin, and stun him to lose his focus. Gale charged up the Gilventure with "Paysword", spending 500 Gil to add extra 50 points of damage to his normal attacks. But the assassin amazed Gale by jumping to the ceiling by using his lance. The man hung on the wooden beams, outside Gale's reach. Gale decided to use a Potion to heal his wounds, but as soon as he had done that, the enemy landed on him, spear first, causing loads of damage.

Suddenly Beatricia interrupts the battle by joining it.

*End of battle; no items, gil or experience gained*

"Stand back", Gale shouts to her, spitting blood.

"No, wait! You are from the Blue Rose, are you?" the girl asks from the assassin. The man is holding his spear threateningly.

"It's the crest on your cape that revealed it. Lord Rougan of the Red Roses send you, didn't he?"

The man nods. "Yes. He sent me to kill you, Beatricia of the White Roses."

"There's no need to do that. I want you to take me to him - alive, if that is possible in any way."

The man lowered his lance in astonishment, but Gale was even more surprised.

"Milady... That man just tried to kill you - in fact, he still hasn't stopped trying!"

"I need to speak to Lord Rougan", Beatricia said to the assassin, ignoring Gale totally. "Can you make it happen?"

Gale thought that it was the big, blue eyes that made the assassin nod. "I think I can. I have a chocobo just a little walk away." The man jumped on the ledge of the window.

"Milady, are you serious?" Gale hissed to Beatricia, grabbing her by the arm as she was going to follow the assassin. "He can still try to kill you!"

"Then come with me", Beatricia said simply.

"What? I can't do that! I have a mission..."

"To protect me. Listen, I'm not going to be announced as the Holy Heir tomorrow, no way! You can either help me or not, it's your choice. Just remember who you will have to aswer to, if you stay and I leave. You cannot make me stay, you know that too. So, which way will it be?"

Gale cursed in his mind. How could he be driven to this situation?!

Beatricia looked at him expectantly, and the man by the window studied him as well.

"You're right. I cannot stay here. But we need to get some back-ups, if we are going to leave this city - remember that there is just one way out. Let's stop at the Moogle Mansion Inn, I've got a friend there."

Beatricia glanced at the quiet man behind him, who just shrugged, as if it didn't matter to him. Then the girl turned back to Gale.

"Let us be on our way then!" she said merrily, as if summer had just entered her world.
[/COLOR][/FONT]
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[COLOR=TEAL][SIZE=1][B]After he has a few streets away from the Mansion he'd been taken to Cortez stopped to catch his breath, and have his silent gloat. [I]'The fool, Logan was it? He should think twice before turning his back upon an Arcane Thief, especially one as talented as Cortez'[/I]. He chuckled lightly as he took off the bag from his belt buckle and checked the objects he had swiped from Logan, firstly the 60 gil he'd made him pay for the room which he'd been left in and a few other items, healing potion, some food and few other small things that he'd taken inhis haste to get out before Logan came back.

He quickly raised his hood and took off down the street with an almost cocky nature in his stride, when he'd been caught he'd gone into the normal routine of begging for mercy and the whole deal to lull the person, or people, who'd caught him into a false sence of security and eventually leave him alone, much like the fool Logan. Though, now that he thought about it, it ahd been a good think that the other one, Gale maybe, had gone off beforehand as it seemed he had a sharper sence than Logan. As he walked among the twisting and turning streets of the City he was being more watchful as well as careful than he had been lest he be caught again, and if he was caught by the same fools it would be plain stupid of him. His eye caught something gliting in the moonlight, a figure holding a Scimitar.

[I]'Speaking of fools'[/I] Cortez thought with a sardonic smile, that was Logan running off from the Inn where he'd been, he'd though he'd heard a noise coming from there and noted in the ground some fresh tracks not of his own making, and by Logans tracks it was clear they were not his either, a new target along him Logan. The smile grew a little more, killing two birds with one stone. He set off once more after Logan with his cloak drawn tightly around him as to not allow it to billiow in the wind that had suddenly caught up and he blended into his true home, the shadows.[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[color=DarkSlateBlue][size=1]OOC: Evil Jokopoko! I'll get you back for those comments! *grins evilly*...kekekekeke....

IC:
Logan ran down the street, checking every dark corner and alleyway for the two that had caused such a rukus back at the Mansion. Also, for the theif that had managed to escape in the 10 seconds Logan had been checking what had happened. It appeared as though he'd stolen some of Logan's things too.
[i]Little bastard. No one gets away from me without paying their price. I'll get him, even if I have to break a thousand laws and get exiled for doing so...[/i] the Red Mage's thoughts trailed off into the usual mush that is in everyone's minds.
Logan stopped for a minute, putting away Blood Sabre. Something just didn't feel right about this...
[i]Bear said that there were two of them...he said one just barged past, and there was another...I actually overheard the second one telling the four foot thing not to just go charging in without paying. Maybe the four foot thing was a Moomba?[/i] again, Logan couldn't hold this thought for long before his mind caved in to the thousand things rushing through his head.
Just then, Logan heard something. Almost...felt it.
Something else didn't feel right. This time it felt wrong though.
Discarding the thought of chasing the two unknowns, Logan turned to find the presence that disturbed him.
'Fire,' the Red Mage whispered, summoning a small fireball in front of him.
He decided to go down one of the alleyways.
The fireball gave off enough light so Logan could see where he was going, but he couldn't see in the nooks and crannies of the alley.
Something sneaked up behind him.

*Engaged in battle with Theif*

[u]PARTY:[/u]
Logan - level:5, HP: 250, MP:40 - commands: Attack, Red Magic, Magic Slot, Item

[i]The theif begins the battle by sneaking up behind Logan to use the 'Theif Tech', 'Backstab' (would normally K/O), but Logan turns around in time to catch the theif's arm. Logan draws his scimitar and leaps back from the theif, and prepares to use Magic Slot. The theif takes advantage of this and uses Distract, lowering Logan's physical strength and defense. Logan uses Magic Slots and doublecasts 'Water'. The theif staggers back, then gets up to attack. Logan suffers a hit, but it is little more than minor. Logan uses Red Magic to cast 'Blind' on the theif. He then attacks immediately after, K/O-ing the theif.[/i]

*End of battle. 25 EXP gained, 45 gil gained, Remedy aquired. 225 HP remaining.*

'Enough! Please, enough!' pleaded the theif, lying on the ground in pain, almost unconscious.
'You're not Cortez, are you?' questioned Logan slowly, raising an eyebrow.
The theif gasped, 'C-Cortez? Y-you're after C-Cortez?'
Logan just nodded.
The theif fainted.[/size][/color]
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"Serisay! Don't stop! I said to continue!" The child turned back to face her, his expression annoyed.

She bowed deeply, and folded her legs gracefully underneath herself as she sat. Taking a breath, she continued. "Appointed by the Gods to rule in their stead, the Chosen Emperor, Ruler and Sun of His people, fulfills the grand destiny appointed to him, each one envisioning a greater prosperity and success, to show honor to the Gods of Heaven. He does what is right for not only His people, but also for the Celestial and the Divine. This is the creed and vow of the first of the noble God-children, His Eternal Majesty Sun Ra Shen." Finished reading the creed that was read everyday to the child Emperor, Serisay continued with a word of her own, "And this vow has been fulfilled by every Child of the Gods that deems it fit to walk this earth."

The child nodded, and his face grew melancholy. He seemed to retreat within himself, growing smaller in his robes that were stiff with the finest embroidery. Serisay saw the Emperor Shin Ra as the child that he was, the child that he was not allowed to be. Suddenly her heart twisted, and she wished that she could rescue him from his entrapped life, his duty that would bind him forever to the massive throne, the heavy crown, the weight of an empire. But...it was not her place. It was no one's place, and would forever be that way. This child...this small boy...had a life that no one could change.

He spoke softly, gazing out one of the windows to look upon the sprawling city and expanses of the region. "Duty...loyalty...honor...bravery... These are all things that I have been taught. Words echoed and repeated by scholars and ancestors, and taken on as laws by Sons of Gods before me. But..." He left his sentence unfinished, embroiled in thought. It amazed Serisay, the intelligence of this small boy.

Sighing, he continued, but his words were cautious, unsure of the footing. "But...even though I must fulfill my duties... is there something...that my being a God cannot teach me?"

Serisay froze. [I]How am I to answer this question?[/I] she thought, her eyes still on the Emperor she served. Her mind raced and then froze continually, starting and stopping in a jolting confusion.

The child walked back and forth tensely, as if he knew the chaos of her mind. "Serisay! Just answer. Please. Just answer this truthfully, as you will have it. The Gods forgive any misplaced words." He stopped, his small back towards her, waiting stiffly for her answer. An answer...that she did not feel she was free to give. His voice was low now, and sharp, "Serisay. Answer."

She had no choice, she knew. He was her Emperor, a Child of the Gods. Where He walked, she followed, even if it meant her life. And so, she said three words. Her voice was almost silent, barely heard in the sunny room. Calm and grave, she was perfectly composed.

"Trustworthiness. Happiness. Love." She bowed again, this time placing her forehead on the floor.

The child was silent, unmoving. He still stared out the window, watching the sparrows leap from the turrets, and the city's expanses so far below him. Then, a quick, almost imperceptible gesture dismissed her. Serisay left silently, walking backwards and keeping her head still prostrate and low. She slid the door shut, and walked past the guards posted outside the door.

[I]Did I do right? In that answer, have I set his mind to turmoil? Have I just ruined a child? I gave the only answer that was truthful to me...[/I] Her thoughts filled her head, but her outward appearance gave no clue to what her mind was dwelling upon. Going through her usual duties, there was no sign that she was worried. And again, she was always worried, in some way or another, for the small child that they called Emperor.
__________________________

When Serisay was called back to the Emperor, she wondered if he was going to chide her, or instill more innocent wisdom. He had such intelligence, always seeing the beauty of things, even in his very young and tender age. She worried. And when she arrived, she found that it was a full court that she had come to. The Imperial Advisors, along with Judge Gojo, lined the floor, with other officials present as well. Of the Royal Family, only the Emperor and His mother were there.

Slowly and gracefully, perfectly composed, Serisay came to bow before the child on the throne, dressed in the perfectly embroidered silks, gold decorating his hands and head. In this, they were alike, she thought as she touched her forehead to the cool marble on the ground: they both wore gold on their head, hers the decorations and trinkets woven into her hair, and His, the full symbol of power of a nation. And yet, he was so small... It was almost cruelly ironic, and she wanted to snap the arms of the God who had made it like this.

But then, she was hit with a full blow. One of the Imperial Advisors came out on the floor, bowed before the Emperor, and then spoke. She was to go to the Queendom of Mertonia. Why, they did not say, but Serisay already knew; should have known when she saw the roomful of Advisors. They would not let Sade's business go unfinished. And then, the Emperor put the final twist in her heart. He nodded, not saying a word, and then stood and left, His mother by his side. Everyone bowed, until his footsteps faded away.

Then the room bustled as men left, the swish of their robes like the whisper of secrecy. Judge Gojo came to her afterwards, informing her to finish what Sade had started. [I]Kill the Queen.[/I] The words still reverberated in her mind, and everything else seemed to be still, shrouded. [I]Kill the woman who dares claim that she is able to rule.[/I] But throughout the quiet preparations for her departure, one thought blocked out all others.

[I]My Emperor...is sending me from His side. I am leaving a helpless child in the claws of an Empire.[/I]

She found a piece of paper with her belongings, fine white race paper which smelled of cherry blossoms and crackled with richness. The thick, dark ink was heavy on the paper. On it was one character: [I]duty.[/I] Serisay bowed her head; this child still had many things to teach her. Wise beyond his years, and yet so fragile, caught in a cage. With the paper was a small ring. She instantly recognized it as a baby ring, one that was given to infants on their 100th day of life. It was of fine, white gold, and the slender designs and characters were worn by one being only: the Emperor.
_____________________

When Serisay left, close to midnight, the ring was on a thin, delicate chain around her neck, hidden beneath the folds of her dark clothing. Her other trinkets in her hair clinked together, chiming their farewells. She looked behind her from the gates before passing through, engraving the dark outline of the palace into her memory. Then she turned, and passed silently through the gates.

[I]To Mertonia[/I], she thought.
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"Ok, here...just a minute...Here you go! That'll be..."
The center of Port Junction, one of the most bustling trade metropoles in the entire wold of Crescence, the town seems to be unusually active today, as people run around in the center of town, stopping only for whatever is at a good price.
"Hm, I think I have one of those...Ah! That'll be..."
Today, a certain young lady seems to be attracting an unusual amount of attention, as the crowd starts to build in the center square. People stare in amazement at this girl, carrying all her wares at once, and charming her customers with a flair unlike any other merchant.
"Here you go! This one comes straight from the Monsoon Continent! So, that comes to...Ah!"
A familliar jingling of bells causes Kaeli's head to snap to attention, as she sees a small, hooded figure dart through the crowd, carrying a large urn with a small string of bells attached to them.
"Oh! Sorry! I have to get through..."
Kaeli watched as the small figure cut effortlessly through the crowd, and Kaeli, out of options, took a large jump upwards and grabbed onto an awning hanging off a building. Climbing up, she watched as the pickpocket tried to shove his way through the crowd, bells still jingling. Kaeli ran across the roof of a low-hanging building and dove into the crowd, landing on top of the would-be thief.

*Engaged in battle with Pickpocket*

Party:
Kaeli - Level: 3 HP: 180 MP: 50 Commands: Attack - Skill - Item

The thief, realizing he is cornered, pulls out a small knife and lunges at Kaeli, whi reaches into her pocket, and meets the knife with the tiny Vajra. A blue bolt jumps from the device and courses down the pickpocket's arm, stunning him slightly. Kaeli, satisfied, holds out the Vajra device and sends a shocking wave at him, sending him flying into the air and landing with a hard thud, knocking him out.

*End Battle. 30 EXP gained, 80 Gil gained, Recieved Urn.*

"Go home!" Kaeli yelled triumphantly, as the unsuccessful thief ran off with even less than when he started. The crowd ceeherd their approval, and Kaeli smiled and returned to the square, selling her wares...

The door of Rin's shop burst open, and Rin, sitting down at the short table, looked up and saw a very joyous looking Kaeli, spinning her way inside, clothes free of all her wares.
"Rin-sensei! I was able to sell everything! Look how much money we got!" Kaeli reached down and pulled up her claok slightly, and avalanche of money immediately slipped out of the split moneybag, covering one end of the table. Rin looked up at his protege, who blushed in embarrasement.
"It's almost 3000 gil, now we can pay off the shop." Rin looked up and smiled, picking up a single Gil coin off the table.
"That is wonderful news!" He looked at his student earnestly.
"I knew you could do it."
"Don't mention it." Kaeli replied sheepishly. Rin smiled and looked down at the money.
"You know, you have become even stronger than me...Must be your charm." Kaeli laughed, but Rin looked serious.
"Did you ever consider getting a shop of your own?" Kaeli looked up at her master, eyes wide with horror.
"Are you saying you want me to..." Rin laughed, shaking his head.
"No, child, I don't want you to leave, I'm just saying that I think you could do well. I'm getting old, and you are so young and full of life, you could do it." Kaeli smiled.
"But I like it here, and I like working for you."
"You really aren't working for me anymore, child, you are working for yourself. It is wrong of me to take this money that you worked so hard for, you take it."
"Master! No! You need this to pay off the shop."
"Take it, Kaeli, you could do so much more with it than I ever could." Rin-sensei smiled, but Kaeli still loked hesitant. Thinking carefully, she scoopd up a few handfuls of coins, then left the rest.
"You take it, you can pay off the shop, master." Rin stared at the cash that still remained, then looked at his student.
"Very well, but you take care of yourself, child, that money could do great things for you." Kaeli eyed the pouch with the gil inside tenaciously. She tied the money securely around her waist.
"I won't let you down!" She replied as she raced out the door, ready for her next round of trade. Rin smiled as he sat back down, looking at the mass of gil in front of him. He thought to himself.
"That girl will be a brilliant store owner, someday."

OOC [color=red]EDIT[/color]: Ok, no Al Bhed. The blue text has been replaced.
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OOC: It's great to see that you posted as well, Wondershot! Now we have all those who I approved in the game. And I even managed to fill the ninth spot: welcome Rakurai, the half human, half beastman martial artist, played by Shanghai. I'm so happy everything I planned worked out! :D

Oh, and Wondershot, actually the Al Bhed language bothers me, since this isn't FFX, and there're no Al Bhed people (even the Astenian people aren't supposed to be like the Al Bhed). I'd approve it otherwise, but I really don't understand it, and it doesn't fit in Crescence, where everybody speak the same language (just to make some things simpler). You understand this, don't you? :) But keep that direction, nevertheless, I highly appreciate the use of imagination!

***

[FONT=Century][COLOR=RoyalBlue]
Gale opened the door of Beatricia's quarters a little to peek if there were any guards at the corridor. The entire fifth floor of the palace seemed empty, though. He reckoned that even the Royal Guards trusted him enough to leave him protect the girl by himself. Gale had doubts if this was good enough a reason to break that trust - not to mention the trust the Queen had given to him.

"We're clear", he said to Beatricia and the man who both stood by the window.

The man - who Gale still considered as an assassin - offered his hand to Beatricia.

"I can help you down easily", he said. "You just have to trust me."

"You expect me to trust you, even though I don't know your name?" the girl replied flirtatiously.

"Don't forget he tried to kill you", Gale groaned.

"My name is Aster, from the House of Blue Rose", the man said with a bow, ignoring Gale's remark. "Now, shall we get down? The yard seems empty."

Beatricia nodded, and hugged Aster tightly. Aster put the sharp end of his lance against the legde, and leaped out. Gale rushed to the window. He expected to see both the man and the girl he was holding squashed to the hard paved ground, but instead he witnessed the man to land smoothly using his spear in a seemingly impossible way.

"How am I going to get down?" Gale wondered by himself.

He saw Aster asking Beatricia something, assumably if they should leave him up there, but Beatricia shook her head, and pointed the lancer to go and fetch Gale. In a moment the Rosarian was back at the window, this time offering his arms to Gale.

The mercenary sighed, and tied his arms around the lancer. He wondered if the man would be able to get them both down safely, since Aster was over a palm's lenght shorter than him. But to his amazement they were down at the dark yard within seconds. The speed made Gale feel dizzy, but he quickly shook the feeling off.

"This way",he whispered to his companions. Despite the late hours, light was still shining from several windows of the palace, and Gale wondered how long it would take for the Royal Guards to notice that they were gone.

He led the Rosarians out of the palace grounds and into the sleeping streets of Miraclion. Even the taverns and Inns were silent, as all customers had either gone home or to their rented rooms.

"My chocobo's this way", Aster whispered suddenly, pointing at the opposite direction than where they were heading.

"But our destination's this way", Gale argued. We can get your bird later - maybe it will even be of use in our escape from this city."

After about half an hours walk the three of them reached the pink building of Moogle Mansion. Gale hoped that Logan had managed to keep the thief Cortez captured, as he surely knew the secret tunnels leading out of the city, under the impassable Soulflow. Gale knew there were such tunnels, but he also knew that the people of the underground had complete control over them, using them in their illegal businesses. But the city guards were helpless, because the Church didn't want to take any action against the criminals for some reason. But Gale was going to make a certain criminal help [I]him[/I] that night![/COLOR][/FONT]
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[SIZE=1][COLOR=DarkRed]
OOC: It may of taken long, me, printing out everything and readin' it..but I did it! And now, am ready to enter the game! ^_^

IC:
A vast sea of sand stood in front of the young boy who held a rod in his right hand, he sitting on top of some sort of machina. The machina the boy stood upon seemed to be one that would resemble a wagon (or small desert buggy), but had many metals things sticking from it in the shape of barrels (guns). The boy sat on some sort of platform that came out of the machina, bringing him around 1 more foot above the ground (plus the machine itself).

?Sir Rakurai!? came a voice below the boy, he looking down at one of his men who drove the machina.

?Yes what is it?? Rakurai would reply, with a bit of an annoyed tone to his voice.

?We have spotted something which seemed to come from Archabad and is heading toward Port Azure.?

?It seems to be carrying many supplies sir,? spoke another one of Rakurai?s men, who sat to the side of the man driving the machina.

?Should we attack?? asked the two, looking up at Rakurai who motioned for them to proceed.

The machina went forward, easily weaving its way through the sandy hills of the Gargara Desert. They came closer, and closer to their destination, only to see that it was a man on a wagon, which seemed to have numerous supplies on it. The machina stopped once the driver slammed on the breaks, now, Rakurai and his men hiding on one of the hills. Rakurai took out some binoculars and threw them to the two in the front seats of the machina,? Look closely at our target, I don?t want this one getting away like the other ones did.?

Rakurai looked down at the back seats, at two of his other men who seemed to be sitting there enjoying the ride,? Get ready for battle,? muttered the half-beast-boy before clenching his hand tightly around Kali-Yuga, his trustworthy pole.

?It seems to only be one man and two Chocobo pulling the wagon, shall he proceed with an attack??

?Yes! Banrai, Kenrai! Man the machina?s machine-gun! Jinrai, you keep driving this thing, and Funrai, you and I will be the first one?s to attack!?

As Rakurai spoke these words, the two bearing the machine-guns took aim, and began to fire upon the unsuspecting wagon. But the rounds that were fired weren?t aimed exactly at the wagon; the small bullets that came from the gun trailing off to the sides of the target, making sand kick up into the air. This would stall some time to give Rakurai and his gang the time to get close to the wagon.

Upon getting in range, Rakurai leaped from where he was and landed a few inches away from the wagon, Funrai a ways behind him. When the two got close enough that they could touch the Chocobo, Rakurai?s nose twitched before he swiftly stopped and leaped back. It was too bad for Funrai though, as he got to the wagon, the man sitting on it quickly jumped down and hit Rakurai?s companion in the back of the head, instantly knocking him out.

A low growl came from Rakurai, as he saw the man slowly remove the cloak he was currently wearing to show that he was nothing but some sort of guard. Another guard jumping from out of the back of the wagon and quickly running to meet with the other guard.

?Hmph, so this was some sort of trap to capture us eh? When will you Archabad learn that the you can never catch us!?? Snarled Rakurai, the grip of his rod being tighter,? Heh, its kind of childish for an Emperor to send two guards to come after a bandit leader as myself.?

Rakurai paused and thought for a second, before chuckling lightly,? Oh, I forget, your Emperor [i]is[/i] a child.?

?Don?t bad-mouth the emperor scum,? yelled one of the two guards.

?He hadn?t send us, we had to disobey his orders and come out here to stop you ourselves. Failure for us is not an option.?

?Well then,? Rakurai began, a sly smirk appearing upon his young lips,? It looks as if I must whip you to get you to leave. Come, let me show you where to stand in the world!?

[b]*Engaged in battle with 2 Archabad Guards*[/b]

Party:
Rakurai- Level: 6 HP: 295 MP:40 Commands: Attack, Rod Arts, Black Magic, Item

Rakurai starts out the battle by attacking one of the Archabad guards, dealing him a critical hit that takes down more than half of his HP. That same Archabad Guard counters and deals a small hit to Rakurai, not bringing his HP down by much. The second Archabad Guard uses potion to bring the first Guard?s HP up. Rakurai attacks with his rod defeating the First Archabad Guard.

The second guard attempt to attack Rakurai, but he misses the fast beastmen. Deciding to use a technique, Rakurai uses a ?Rod Art? extend. He slams his rod into the ground and then brings himself up on it, his legs facing the sky as his head faces the ground. The rod lights up before extending, bringing Rakurai high into the air. The second Archabad Guard uses the waiting to heal himself with a potion, bringing his HP back to full.

The rod is lifted right out of the ground, and Rakurai comes rocketing down to deliver a devastating blow to the Guard, defeating him.

[b]*End of battle. 25 exp gained, 10 gil gained, 1 potions acquired*[/b]

Rakurai stands triumphantly above the knocked out bodies of the two Archabad Guards, with a huge grin on his face and doing the peace sign. But that would end, when remembering his other members who hadn?t helped him in the battle he was just in. Turning around, Rakurai would eye the three members who were behind him, just watching in amazement. Not bothering to say anything about their lack of helping him, Rakurai snapped his fingers, indicating that they could now come and take whatever was in the wagon.

The three men jumped out of the machina-buggy and rushed to the wagon, Rakurai walking over to Funrai who had just regained consciousness and was rubbing the back of his head.

?Heh, sorry Funrai, I smelt something bad and didn?t have time to tell you.?

?Its alright Rakurai,? Funrai spoke, wincing at the pain in the back of his neck,? Damn, the hell did they hit me with? The wagon itself??

Rakurai simply patted his man on the back before standing, looking at the wagon, from behind the wagon, he could hear his two men calling out to him telling him that he should come see what was in the wagon. Not hesitating, Rakurai ran to the back of the wagon, and as he was about to look into the back, the wagon was shattered right in front of him. Being enveloped by the mouth, of a huge worm.

The worm came rocketing from out of the ground, devouring the wagon and its contents. As this happened, Rakurai and his four group members swiftly ran and jumped back into the machina-buggy, the driver stomping on the acceleration and they going off.

?Damn it!? Rakurai yelled as he watched the huge worm descend into the sea of sand,? Now we?ve gotta deal with a demonic worm!? [/size][/color]
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