Warnings: Yaoi, some minor angst…I'm not POSITIVE about this, but...all things being relative...
Author's Notes: I’m aware that FFT may have not been released everywhere, but it’s an excellent game. Given the lack of Yaoi that I found on the net, I’ve decided to begin remedying this horrible oversight myself (for better or worse). Izlude and Kletian were the two cutest villains in the game (imho), so they seemed a nice pair to start with. In future stories and/or a revision of this one, I’ll give more detail on appearances, but normally I don’t like to focus on what players of the game would already know… Redundant and needless, unless I’m struck by some key insight…
Promises to Keep
I could feel the darkness parting me, splitting my vision in wide, fragmented edges. I can’t feel my body anymore, but perhaps I lost that ability sometime ago…
The boy had taken the Stone…He had taken away that horrid burden, that insidious pleasure of ancient pain and nightmare…Now only I remain. I feel so alive…ironic, as I’m now surely dead. The city cries out with empty fury, now. The Angel is falling…this place will become oblivion, along with it’s servants…
I can see again, now. It’s strange to see, after unseeing all that happened around me for so long. My mastery of the unseen was my greatest talent…That surely is what opened my soul to the Zodiac Stone…
The darkness is shaped as the crumbling city, the air feels cold and moist as it enters my body. Am I breathing? Have I lungs to fill with this cursed place of death and hateful undying? It hurts so very much…More than any of my darkest lore’s could prepare me for…
I’m coughing up blood, but I can’t hear the sound of my own misery. The hush is too great, a shadow over my perceptions…But I tell he’s near here.
Someone is healing me, someone is pouring that soft warmth onto my wounds…
“Izlude…?” His eyes are trying to focus on mine, but he’s been twisted by this place. I can see the gore of his father’s touch still bleeds. His youthful but stern face is contorted in pain, and more so, in fear.
“Izlude…You’ve no part in this. You may leave…Do you know how?” My hearing is improving slowly...I can hear his breathing, but it’s stench…He’s no longer human, after all…
“I’m damned for my sins, as my father was. Judgment is a blessing, a release…” The dead eyes still couldn’t focus on mine, and his posture became unnatural as a bloody cry ripped from his mouth. I could see the glint off some unholy light that had no source, shining off of his teeth as he formed his foamy screams. It was apparent that his shattered sword still strapped to his bloody side wasn’t the greatest danger on his person. His bite could pierce through solid armor…
“So I failed in this as well…Vormav, while he was still himself…” I tried to continue, but Izlude’s proximity was too disconcerting. Trying to piece together how I had survived my contact with Ramza, and why Izlude was here in the dead city in the first place, I closed my eyes momentarily.
“He asked me to spare you, to seal the Stone from you’re soul. You shouldn’t be here, you shouldn’t be allowed here...”
Izlude was helping me stand, the numbness fading to be replaced by searing pain at his cold touch. My torn robe mended itself at my gesture, as I felt my forbidden powers flowing back into my blood.
“I…I didn’t want to be forever dying. Not alone, like this…Please Kletian.” I knew the fear in his eyes was within my own as well.
“You restored me…to set you free of this evil?” I could feel my pulse singing in it’s course, as the weakness in my body continued to fade from my savior’s medicines. The hopeful look in his dead gaze was polluted with a dangerous hunger. Perhaps I had only this moment to grant his wish.
“One moment, Izlude.” He apparently hadn’t searched my person for healing resources, or he’d have given me my Elixir. Quaffing the mysteriously bitter and sweet substance, I followed his intense gaze with my hand to my neck. He was quite eagerly watching my throat muscles work the panacea down, but started as my hand withdrew, revealing the delicate beads I had hung around my seemingly appetizing neck.
“Just end this, Kletian…” His voice sounded torn and bitter. The holy beads pained him greatly, even from this distance. But it would take far greater holy powers to restore him, and my knowledge of such things was limited. I could banish him through heaven’s reign against all bloody impurity, but perhaps there was another salvation…
“Izlude.” I held his shoulders, feeling them tighten and shake uncontrollably, a stiff, hollow being overwhelmed with some alien emotion.
“Izlude, let me heal you. The beads will prevent the spread of the curse, but this is the only way you can…mend yourself, now.”
Realization started to dawn on him, and the temptation mixed with such intense self-hatred danced before me in the most hellish harmony. He was still the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen, from my days at the academy to the day I first touched the dark Stone that possessed my waking world. Even then, the young knight’s visage haunted my dreams, as well as the horrible guilt that his budding life, like many, was to be sacrificed for the greatness of the Angel’s coming…
“Damn you! Kletian, you black-souled bastard!” He tried quite hard to pull away, but the beads bound away his strengths…I easily pulled his cold forehead against my chest. He was sobbing silently, shedding dry tears as his eyes had long since lost the ability to do anything but bleed.
“Izlude, this place will vanish soon, and all still here, bound to the Stones, will be entombed forever in darkness. My powers and knowledge…may be sufficient to escape, but I’ll need your strength as well. Please…Trust me as you once did, if only because you have no choice…”
I ran my fingers up his icy backside, the cold radiating through his tunic…I could feel the broke bones, the torn flesh below that cloth with my minds touch. The unseen of Izlude was death, dying, and hunger…Of those, there was one I could satisfy.
The pain was excruciating…I could feel his jaw’s working, and made the mistake of opening my eyes to see those wild, demonic orbs staring sightlessly…I passed out, my last thought that if I died again, at least I had returned Izlude’s earlier favor back in part.
Consciousness flowed back into me, my body feeling heavy, and my neck sore as hell…Numbness that climbed up my chin, a cold dead feeling that seemed to be fading away from the touch of the beads I still wore…
“Izlude.” He was nearby, after all. We were obviously in a different part of the city, not far from the gateway back to the living world. Or rather, where it had been before it was shattered my other comrade. The young knight’s face had a much more living hue, and seemed as soft as ever in the shadows. His eyes were unnatural, strained and shattered pupils behind bloodstained glass…But they were attentive. My unseen touch felt the bones he had mended, the muscles he had reformed and tightened…
He was perhaps as living as one who wasn’t could be. He moved without moving, and was suddenly at my side, sitting up.
“That was foolish of you to do, given neither you nor I had any other restoratives on us. The very air of this place saps the life out of you with every breath, going into with it’s malice, and out with your vigor and courage…”
“You can taste it, then? The very air of this place, dying…”
“I taste nothing but your blood, Kletian. But there is much to know from even just that taste…”
I couldn’t help a pained groan escaping from my bruised body. Izlude had seemingly been a bit rough after I had passed out, from some of the marks I could feel spread across my back…Strangely my robe was no worse for it, suggesting the vampire had somehow clawed at my flesh…without touching the cloth…
“You should know, for a time I felt the same…”
Not bothering to read into what a vampire would tell me from the taste of my own blood, I rose shakily to me feet. There was no way of knowing how much time had passed, and time itself was a hazy concept even from one area to another within the ancient curse that was Murond. We may have little time, or all the time in the world. Or already be entirely too late…
“Izlude, there is no simple way back to the lands of the living, just as the way of purging the evil from you will require lore that has been lost for generations. But I believe both secrets lay within the Stones, and more to the point, the Scriptures...”
“I won’t let the Stones do more evil, Kletian. I’ve no reason to trust the servant of Chaos’s judgment in such matters.” The knight was becoming a bit more of his righteous self, obviously. Well, I’m about out of patience. I’m not wildly into opening a vein for some blood-sucker, even if he was once a man I cared so strongly for that I dared to fight the power of the Stones to protect him…
“Izlude, from this moment on be rational. You’ve tasted me, you can tell the Stone is no longer with me. My power’s are my own, as is my will and soul. Perhaps I’m still bound to this darkness, though in a different way than you. But that may work to our advantage – I need not the accursed Stone as I’ve already been ingrained with it’s knowledge. But I don’t know the spell for traversing the dimensions…or binding life again into cursed flesh. The Stones already are on their way back into the living world…Ramza will try to dispose of them, but their power will surely rise again.” The ground began to shake silently. As a nearby building collapsed into dusty debris, I realized we had to move now or never.
“Come with me, Izlude…If I cannot explain myself, then all I will do is lead you to the truth. The Stones are no longer my concern, but perhaps we can still save our lives! Think of you sister, who now mourns for both a father and brother lost to darkness. We will break the curse and restore you, and then I’ll do my best to ensure those damnable stones are lost forever! It will be my vengeance, you see…”
Perhaps it was the fact he was still drunk on my spiritually charged blood, or perhaps he too had nothing to lose. I walked on a cloud of dark magic, easily weaving the ruinous danger about myself. I was so intent on my hurrying, silently praying that some bit of the Scriptures remained within the chamber, that I was suddenly caught by an angry shadow that came from now where, and erupted into glistening lightning. My arms fell numb, as I was sealed by the skills of another Brave.
I was staring into the features of a older, bitter, and malicious man I had come to despise as much for his incompetence as his arrogance. He was several yards away, but was walking among the ruins slowly, gauging his next shot.
“Balk. You mean to bar my passage?”
“Come now, dear comrade. You’ve taken a shine to fang boy and betrayed the Bloody Angel, for what? A chance to live once again?”
Izlude was staying out of direct site of Balk, but I could feel him. Some part of me now flowed through his veins. I tried to speak to him to try the gateway alone, if by some miracle it might have reopened by Ramza’s actions…
I dashed quickly from crumbling shelter to shelter, trying to avoid the deadly marksman’s vicious accuracy. It didn’t help that the entire place was heaving madly from one moment to the next, seemingly each time as I touched the ground from my enchanted soaring. Suddenly, my protection fell, along with most of the rubble I was standing on, into the endless chasm below. I easily glided to another ledge, but it was too late...I felt the stinging rip of another curse tear through my body. My legs and their magic were failing…I could neither move or cast my magic. And I was out in the open.
“I never thought you’d truly given body and Soul to your Zodiac…You obtained the power and skill, but you never truly followed the ‘binding’. I didn’t because my skills were useful, and unique to my human incarnation.” Balk’s nonchalant attitude was wearing thin. I didn’t have that many options at the moment, completely sealed and waiting for a deranged sniper to blow me away with some ancient weapon. But even so, I elected to remain calm, focusing my concentration on breaking free of his curses…
I felt the seal on my powers weakening, but there was no way my arms would move in time to shield the next attack. Balk would know exactly how long his spell would last…
“I believed in the lies of the Stone as well as any of you, but my own skill’s in magic warped the Stone’s effect… I could pull my will on the Stone even as it imposed itself on me.”
“Lies? You’re the one who gave me the Stone, Kletian. Funny that I can still see the truth and glory of the Cataclysm…even as you who had shown it to me have lost the vision.”
“You’re eyes may let you place a shot distant as the moon, but if you do not see past the darkness, you are only looking into your own shadow…You have been duped by the hatred of the lost and vengeful, mistaking their despair and rage for ‘meaning.’”
“Perhaps you understand better once you’ve died a true death, and your body has been filled with this place’s meaning…” I was already incanting a spell to inscribe the god of darkness into his still rotting body, but I knew his aim was perfect, and my placement regrettable. Three things happened at once, nearly too fast to comprehend. I heard the shot, and felt the stinging storm of the ancient gun’s fury explode just over my head. I was falling, the ground having simultaneously decided to drop away and reform six feet below me. The jolt from landing send feeling surging back through my legs, and instantly I threw my self away from the ruins, rushing towards my startled opponent. He was training his gun on me, preparing another blast, but whether he’d finishing preparing his weapon before his body was ripped apart by my magic was a toss up. Suddenly it was no longer an issue at all. Izlude fell from above, striking out of the hell-spun sky, neatly cleaving the mysterious weapon of thunder in two. Balk spun about, breaking Izlude’s already shattered blade with the dangerous clasp of his hand.
“Ah, the little blood sucker…For you, I’ll seal your soul till times end!”
Izlude momentarily hesitated, realizing he’d no weapon or shield to parry the Brave’s deadly skill. Then he realized he still had a weapon after all. He feasted as Balk’s startled form crumpled. The Brave was attempting to still use his highly effective seal against the vampire, but he’d forgotten my spell that now engorged itself upon his flesh from the inside out. The swelling darkness and burning shadows surged through Balk’s parted lips in a ragged sigh, unable to even scream.
Izlude dragged himself way from the smoldering corpse, weaving slightly at having tasted the blood of his opponent as he was consumed by the dark spell. From his expression, it had been better than sex.
“Izlude, I tried to stop the spell from affect you, but...I was rather caught of guard…” The ground heaved suddenly. Izlude fell into shadow as the entire place began to shift forward and back, a harsh wind blowing out of nowhere, turning the place into so much dust. I felt him catch my hand as my mastery of flight allowed us to negotiate the sifting mess of solid and non solid mist. There was no longer even that slight unknown light source to illuminate the unstable void, but my unseen gaze drew me to the structure that housed the ruined nexus. Forcing open the entrance with my free hand, I heaved my cold companion into the room, hurling a spell to seal the way behind us.
At my word, torches flared, and the howling darkness outside was sealed just beyond the flame’s light could reach. Strange, unknowable things flashed by the windows, and the ground trembled. There was no doubt that all the rest of Murond was devoured by the drinkers of the darkness by now…And I had no idea what to do about the nexus.
Izlude was holding his head, as if trying to block out some horrendous noise. He looked up at me.
“I don’t want to be a part of …whatever is out there, Kletian.” I took in the condition of the ruined dais, noting the symbols that looked familiar, and trying to recall anything I could about the spell.
“We’ll be alright. This is the one place of the city that has always been. The rest is of ash, and forms at the will of the dark ones. But this is the bridge between the world that has and could be again, and the world that is.”
I began the spell that I could make out, winging whatever was unfamiliar as best I could. The magic here was old and not easily dissipated… Destroying it’s physical presence meant little to one such as I, a master of the unseen. But without knowing the spell perfectly, there were many places that one could wind up other than in a monastery. Places filled with more of the darkness…
Izlude barred the door physically with his slight frame, reinforcing the entrance’s seal that I had cast with his own unnatural strength.
“I can feel it, Kletian…I can smell the musk of the cellar…”
His muscles were straining, and he appeared to be sweating blood. His wounds had reopened, weeping as they had when he had first passed.
“I’ll hold… even if it rips me apart…Finish your spell, Sorcerer, quickly…” His eyes were closed in concentration. I took a deep breath, letting the weight of my will press against the ruins, filling the chamber with my soft, sultry chant. The spells of ancient magic were hard to replicate, and perhaps non other would even have stood a chance at piecing together this fractured legacy…But unseen was the solution, and thus I could see it clearly. There was simply…no way I would allow the magic to fail me. To fail Izlude. To give in to the raging insanity outside.
Suddenly, all time stopped…The very dust seemed to still in it’s descent, and it was fully impossible to move or breath. The silence was tangible, and it flowed from the fractured gateway of ancient secrets with the force of a rushing train. Visions spun in front of my eyes, only more disturbing were the vision behind them…
All was gone in an instant, and I was amazed to find, a brief moment before I passed out yet again, that my body, ripped asunder and incinerated, was still yet whole.
Rain began to fall softly. The dewy smell was dizzyingly tranquil. My clean robes felt soft and gentle, hiding the strange scars that Izlude’s and Balk’s interactions with my person had left. Sitting on the hillside, watching the red stained sky slowly fade from twilight to the deepest darkness, was my companion. He turned slightly, catching the sent of my blood well before his other senses noticed my presence. He didn’t meet my gaze, as he rarely did in life anyway. As always, I pulled him close, letting the unnatural coldness of his body sooth my flesh from it’s tension. He haunches over, letting his disgust roll off his frame in waves.
“I…forced myself to drink it again.” I nodded, silently nuzzling his icy neck, warming it with a kiss.
“It will only cause you pain…Holy water can only cure those possessed by vampirism, not those from which it issues. If we never find the Stones, we will then find another way, Izlude…Or I’ll join you?” His form twitched oddly. Ah, he's still charged as ever. Whether for the Church or his own moral code, he's...dedicated beyond composure. Niave, but, no longer inexperienced...
“That you will not! Kletian!” The fierceness in the young knights eyes was only enhanced by his queer eyes. I smiled into them, letting my accustomed self-confidence seep through my voice.
“A somewhat-joke, Izlude, please. I don’t consider myself the undisputed mater of magic for backing down. The curse of the Stones…They too must have been once enchanted, long ago. Their secrets are not so very infinite as my determination to defeat them. If they were forged by the dark god himself, then I will force the beastly fiend to reveal their secrets, even if I have to rend shadow from shadow itself. If they were shaped from the tears of God, then I will set the heavens ablaze until you are free from the Stone's 'blessing'.”
Slowly Izlude allowed his arms to find their purchase around me. I embrace him tightly, letting out a small sound that is impossible to make except in such situations. I still wore those 108 delicate, shiny beads of holy magic, but my demonic friend has become quiet accustomed to it’s burning unease, and even more accustomed to the delicious, rich blood it decorated.
“I hope you don’t think ill of me, Izlude…But I’m beginning to enjoy it…” His eyes flared, a dark look from his shattered eyes stinging me through and through.
“Not the pain, but the look on your face…I…I really like it. Satisfying you so greatly, so completely. It’s worth the price I pay, even though I pay it in blood. It’s worth it, and so much more…” The knight’s eyes were searching for a moment, looking for something I begged mine to provide him. Sighing, he lifted his mouth to the tender inside of my neck, scarred so many times over by now. Instead of giving me his kiss, as he often did when he finally could resist his nature no longer, he moved his lips to my ear.
“Perhaps it’s time I satisfied you, Kletain.”
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