Author Topic: Rebirth ~ The Price of Eternity [A Fan Restoration Project]  (Read 1425 times)

Danko Kaji

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Re: Rebirth ~ The Price of Eternity [A Fan Restoration Project]
« on: January 20, 2017, 01:28:09 am »
Chapter 12
Tentative Title: Of Sacrifice
part one of two
---

(A/N): Jesus, this might be the longest chapter, yet! It basically covers the climax of Valm's story, before the final epilogue-y Chapter 14. Two more chapters left to "The Boy's Side!" It was quite a ride, I'm pretty excited to cover it in its entirety. I suppose Valm and Tidus were supposed to parallel each other, and that in itself is pretty foreboding.

Overall, I enjoy Valm's arc. It's very gritty, dark, and enlightening.

*

Sloan and his troops managed to flush four of the enemy out.
   
They slaughtered the first three, but caught the last one alive for interrogation, in which they proceeded to drag him to the east side of the island. On the beach, Sloan and about twenty of his subordinates were surrounding their prisoner, whom they buried in the sand from the neck down. He looked almost comical, shouting up at them in youthful, trembling fury.
   
“Kill me! Just get this over with!”
   
All of the agents of Yevon reacted this way. Whenever a soldier realized only death awaited them, they outright refused to answer any further questions and persisted in demanding to be killed. Sloan sighed, annoyed. He knew he would squeeze nothing out of this one, but the Guard could not leave his post without receiving new instructions. Thus, the long wait.
   
Ever since they moved into this Bevellian outpost, they had been leading their battle in a passive way. For Sloan, who had dedicated his sabre to the Goddess of War and had taken on the name of the God of Vengeance, this situation frustrated him. He had suffered in silence while waiting for his brother to bind him as his first Aeon Core.
   
But Anli died, leaving Sloan behind to stew in his hate. He used to hate his younger brother before, for small, inconsequential things normal between siblings, at times a smooth talker, but also prone to moments of indecisiveness, who bore a brotherly love as great as Sloan harbored for him. When he learned that Anli possessed the gift, he couldn’t have felt more proud…
   
‘Now that he’s not here anymore, whom should I protect?’
   
The Summoner who stood as the head of Bevelle had declared the Mage of Zanarkand, his daughter, and their supporters heretics, but for some reason did not make the official decision to excommunicate them. Why? According to the rumors, Bevelle intended to use them for their own gain by exploiting the two summoners’ charisma to win over Zanarkand and lead the city into abandoning their technological weapons to rely on their own fledgling army of Summoners, which would pave the way for Bevelle’s victory.

Sloan thought the reasoning sounded twisted. He could never spare those who renounced the Gods. Anyone who rejected their faith were to be eliminated as quickly as possible. That had been their goal since the moment their elite unit were stationed to fight on this island. But the father - daughter pair of mages understood the true nature of their enemy’s plan, and sent out their young, delusion hopefuls to carry out mass murder. And then the thought occurred to him: ‘Is my government manipulating me to do the same thing?’

Even children knew that Gods were simply imaginary, an artifice of imagination. Yet, anyone could picture them in whatever image they so wished. This common and widespread illusion tightened the ranks of their army, to the extent that any man loyal enough to the cause were ready to give their very lives for it.

‘Yes, this is brainwashing.’

“Do we begin the questioning?” Kat spoke up, interrupting his musings.

“He won’t answer us.” Sloan scoffed, before reconsidering the idea; perhaps the young man would be more receptive if he opened the subject with his beloved Summoner princess. “Did you meet the Sorceress? People say that she’s in peerless in beauty. Is that right?”

The prisoner remained silent, his eyes lost in the distance while he wore an eerie smile.

“You’re nothing to her, you know that? She’s just using you and your comrades because you’re disposable. Once you’ve outlived your usefulness, she will abandon you! Nobody will come to save you!”

For an instant, the soldier raised his eyes to the Heavens.

‘...what’s this? Why is he doing that? Will reinforcements come from the sky?’

Sloan couldn’t see anything, but he knew that flying apparatuses had joined their ranks. This kind of weapon could turn the tide, he knew this for certain.

“Kill me.” He repeated.

“I see.” Sloan paused for dramatic effect, looking out into the turbulent ocean. “The tide is rising, you know. Soon enough, your head will be submerged in the waves. You won’t be the first one to try breathing underwater, but nobody has managed to do it. Do you think you will succeed where the others have failed?”

“Y-You’re a monster…”

“One of your comrades killed my little brother. I know you didn’t do it; you could have, but you know what, you might as well have. The problem, you see, is that you came here to kill him and the other Summoners. You won’t get off so lightly. You will die… but slowly. You will leave this world while cursing it, suffering from pain. After that, do me the pleasure of turning into a fiend. Then, I want you to come find me. The next time I see you, I promise I’ll tear you into pieces so I can throw them into a fire.”

Sloan hadn’t even finished talking yet when the man burst out into hysterics. A soldier stepped forward to silence him, but then the captive fell silent again, directing his gaze to the sky above, as if following a supersonic sound. Everyone did the same, and then they heard it: an unfathomable, horrendous sound that rumbled the sky. And then a stout, loud whistle rang from the sand, courtesy of their motionless prisoner.

An airship appeared from the opposite coast of the island, looming over the top of the mountain where the Luchera statue resided.

This would be the first time Sloan had ever witnessed an aircraft with his own eyes; a triangular object that soared in the air, very noisy and slow. What it lacked in speed, it definitely made up for in sheer size and the contents of its cargo. Upon arriving at the beach, various bright lights lit up and the machine started its gradual descent, kicking up a whirlwind of sand sharp enough to blind those in proximity.

Sloan and his comrades acted in haste to find shelter behind the cover of vegetation. When the commanding officer risked a look over his shoulder, he saw that a rectangular shell hanging from the underbelly of the craft ejected, and a battalion of soldiers zipped down from the opening on a set of thick, secure ropes.

Gripping his weapon in hand, Sloan turned his back on them and sprinted for the beach.

He noticed the enemy came equipped with bags on their backs, made with a complex net of strings that contained a ball; a bomb like the one Valm had described to him. Fifteen to twenty infantrymen rappelled near their buried comrade; the first one to land on the beach wasted no time to throttle him where he stood, and Sloan watched his head tip over, soaked in blood.

In the face of such brutal interrogation, the prisoner had resisted bravely, like a great warrior. If they had fought in the same camp, they would have gotten along well.

“And yet…”

Sloan murmured, trailing off under the watchful eyes of his men. They were awaiting an order. He must look strong, for them. “The last time I checked, any life worth living could never be as terrible as that.” He laughed in bitter humor, and then he immediately become serious. “Return to base and report to Valm, then place yourself under his orders. Kat will assume command of the group until then.”

Then, Sloan brandished his sabre in direction of the enemy, releasing a wild howl. “After my death, let Valm take over the Sloan name!”

‘After all, he has always been worthier of this name than me.’

*

They were intercepted before they could even reach base. The aircraft had deposited enemies throughout every mile and yard of the island. Exhausted, Kat knew that she would meet her death very soon, but she felt no fear. She had been waiting for this moment ever since her beloved Summoner’s death.

“Kanaela…”

Despite her gift in the Summoning Arts, Kanaela had been killed six months prior, soon after Mikka, before she had the chance to fulfill her objective. And now that she no longer lived, what were the chances for Kat to become an Aeon Core?

Kushu would choose Valm, and the Guard would produce an impressive creature. That left Ifarnal, but who did he have his heart set on? Everyone knew he harbored romantic feelings for his fellow Summoner, Kush, but the young woman always rejected his advances. Besides, Kat doubted a Summoner could produce an adequate Aeon Core. It would be such a huge waste.

She only had one option, then, and yet, even if Ifarnal were to choose Kat, she doubted they would be able to form a genuine soul bond. She had heard the others say that a Summoner and their chosen Aeon Core must share powerful mutual feelings for each other in order for the ceremony to bear fruit.

With Kanaela, everything would have been easy. But with Ifarnal…

Offering his life to the promised one, that’s one thing, but to sacrifice himself for a complete stranger whose only desire to bond originated from her thirst for vengeance, that’s another issue entirely. How she regretted Kanaela’s death! If only she had been strong enough to protect her, quick-witted enough to anticipate the attack…

A set of explosions ripped her away from her thoughts.

‘They’re launching an attack!’

If that massive aircraft still harbored more soldiers to overwhelm them, the Guards had zero chance of survival. Kat stood straight, undaunted; she lost her chance to become an Aeon Core, but at least she could still be the arm of vengeance.

‘O Sloan, give me the strength to lay our enemies into the dirt!’

She found courage in the happy memories she shared with Kanaela, the days they spent side by side, soaking up the sunlight when they bathed in the swimming hole, building lop-sided sand castles at the beach until the sun set, passing the time shut inside the shelter in boredom with random games. Kat snaked in and out of the trees, sticking close to the foliage until she reached a hilltop. From here, she could see the entrance to base.
Beside the dented, battered GATE 3, Kat recognized the cadavers of her comrades Gekkoh and Romand. They didn’t die in vain, succeeding to drag several more of their enemies to the Farplane with them. A familiar sword jutted out from the body of one of them, a beautiful young woman.

Kat bit back her anguished cry and hurried to GATE 0.

A gaping breach awaited her, as well as the stench of blood, and she cringed, startled by the object that struck her back. She jerked around to search for the perpetrator, and found nothing but forest and wilderness. A ball rolled by her foot, and then she heard a pronounced click, followed by a dilation of fiery white light.

Her last thought before the scorching blast of air consumed her:

‘Will I flower in the world beyond?’
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 01:31:23 am by Danko Kaji »
Lost in the winds of change~

"There's some things you can't do alone,
but they become easy with friends beside you."

Consider me a wandering 'Maechen' of FFX/X-2 lore.