In the Life of a Holy Knight

By Andy Simpson

Page 1

Your country, the Kingdom of Ivalice, has been at war for fifty years now. Since you are yourself only eighteen, this is an unimaginably long period of time. And it looks like Ivalice is losing. Despite your age, you have been admitted into the most legendary orders of knighthood in Ivalice, the Order of the Holy Sword. Individually you come from the division that works with the Lesalia St. Kanoe knights, one of the church’s sub orders.

Ordalia, the country with which Ivalice is at war, is ruled by whom you are told is one of the most despotic kings in existence. You wonder how many of these rumors are true. However, the Ordalians do occupy an area of the province of Ivalice called Limberry, east of Zeltennia. You are currently stationed at Castle Igros, the capital city of Gallione. At the moment, you are sitting at a banquet for the highest nobles in Gallione, in the company of Prince Larg, the lord of Gallione. Larg is the older brother of the queen, Ruvelia. Other great nobles are here as well. The Marquis Elmdor, the lord of Limberry, who has been expelled from his estate, is present. General Balbanes Beoulve, the leader of the Order of the Holy Sword, is here as well. With him are his children, Dycedarg and Zalbag, who are both strong warriors, and his young children Alma and Ramza, and his adopted family Delita and Teta.

The banquet is exquisite. All sorts of exotic fruits and spices, some of which you have never seen before, as well as a roast of red panther that smells delicious. You are not terribly hungry, however. You listen to the idle chatter of the great leaders and heads of state around the table. You know that your best friend, Miluda Folles, is sitting outside the castle walls sipping turnip soup and maybe a cracker or two. Sure, you’re nobility and she’s not, but neither are Delita and Teta, and frankly, you don’t see what makes them so different from you anyhow. You take a small piece of red panther and spice it for your plate, then hide away another piece and spice it for Miluda. If anybody questions you, you can say you’re saving it for a friend. Nobody can argue with you for that.

At this moment, General Balbanes mentions over the conversation that his order has a new member, and points to you. Larg asks your name. "My name is Agrias Oaks," you tell him.

"She’s one of our best new prospects," says Balbanes. "Devoted, intelligent, resourceful — everything that you would want in a fine warrior." Larg remarks that you look a bit distracted and uninterested in the dinner. You certainly haven’t said much. You wonder if it is thinking about the war or about social inequality that is giving you away. You tell him that you are worried about the war. "As you see, your highness, she can’t take her mind off business. If she has a weakness, that’s it right there." remarks Balbanes. After that, the conversation drifts onto Ramza. You reach for a pear in the bowl of fruit on the table. For a moment you look up into the chandeliers. The ones in the church look so much better. Ramza is thirteen, and Balbanes plans on sending him to the military academy. After finishing your pear you grab another and put it with your stowed piece of red panther. Red panthers are dangerous predators out in Mandalia plains, but they also make good eating. At this moment, Larg wraps up the banquet, and tells everybody to convene back in the main hall at dawn the next day. You grab a loaf of bread on your way out.

Miluda is huddled under a small canvas as the light rain drizzles down. She doesn’t notice your approach until you sit down next to her. Turnip soup, as you predicted, but no crackers. She looks up at you, then back at her soup. "How was the banquet?" she mumbles.

"It was pretty exquisite. We had a spiced red panther." Miluda shakes her head. She has had red panther before, but only after one attacked her. Never has she had a spiced one, however. It is illegal to actively hunt them — that would be poaching. "I brought you a piece, if you like," you say, holding out the cloth that you wrapped it in. "There’s a pear and a loaf of good bread in there, too — but I want half the bread. I haven’t had any of it yet myself."

Miluda takes the meat graciously, and digs in. "Prince Larg wants us to meet in the main hall at dawn. Looks like we’re going to be moving out tomorrow," you tell her. Miluda remarks that hopefully she will prove herself enough in the eyes of the establishment to show that commoners are just as capable of fighting for their country as nobles, and thus deserve more equal treatment. Miluda is a member of a corps of volunteer soldiers known as the ‘Knights of Death.’ The name is simply to frighten the Ordalians into defeat. "Your brother is the leader of the Knights of Death, isn’t he?" you ask. Miluda nods. You have never met her brother Wiegraf, but from the sound of it, he sounds like a brave hero.

"Wiegraf founded the Knights of Death to show just how organized and intelligent and heroic commoners can be. For the moment it seems that we are getting some recognition," Miluda adds hopefully.

"If you don’t… I’ll always be here for you. I know the truth," you tell her. Somehow you feel that you aren’t very reassuring.

The next morning you are summoned to the main hall of Castle Igros. Larg addresses his generals, assigning each to a force designated to defend the area around fort Zeakden, located northeast of Igros. "If Fort Zeakden falls, Igros will be surrounded on all sides other than Mandalia and Gariland. And we don’t want to depend entirely on one direction for supplies." Larg begins assigning the different orders of knighthood and infantry divisions to various fronts. The Hokuten and the Knights of Death are assigned to Zeakden. Others are to defend Igros from flank attack. The Order of the Holy Sword is assigned to various tasks such as infiltrating the enemy, leading groups of infantry and other knights, and so on. All of them are to be individually assigned by General Balbanes, who due to his old age and failing health will not be taking part in the actual battle.

One by one, the illustrious lords of chivalry and piety are assigned to missions throughout Gallione. The general assigns his knights in order of age, from oldest to youngest, and so very near the end of the list, he comes to you.

"And let’s see… Sterling, you’re making a flanking maneuver across Favoham Plains (East of fort Zeakden) with the Gariland third wizard’s bolt battalion. Good Luck!" he turns to you. "Agrias… you might put yourself to use trying to investigate the Ordalian general and see what sorts of dark rituals he is supposed to be engaged in and maybe let his own troops find out and mutiny, but then you really haven’t had much time to brush up your skills yet." There is a pause. "Well, what do you think? Are you ready for the battlefield where you can learn your skills firsthand, or do you want to remain here a little and study before going off to war?"

You think for a moment. Miluda will be going to the front, but you really might want to learn an entry-level holy sword spell, Stasis Sword, before you go. "You can think for a few hours, and please come and tell me when you’ve decided," says Balbanes, who then proceeds to assign the youngest of the knights to go learn some priest spells in Gariland.

Igros castle almost feels like a ghost town with Larg and most of the knights away. People hold up in their dwellings, fearful of an incoming army, and unwilling to go out into the fields for fear of a defeat at Zeakden. In the mean time, while sitting on the parapet overlooking Mandalia Plains, you need to figure out whether you are going to learn Stasis Sword first or learn it in the heat of battle. If you learn it here, you will be deserting Miluda for a while. Of course, you’ll go and join her before too long, but she might need your companionship. But then, you sound like you have a rather dangerous mission. If you aren’t good enough with your sword, you might not come back with your life! What will you do?

If you decide that the battlefield is the place to learn your new sword techniques, turn to page 2. If you want Balbanes to teach you Stasis Sword first, turn to page 6.

Page 2

You set out for fort Zeakden and find it under siege! Although there are few trebuchets or other siege engines surrounding the fort, hundreds to thousands of infantry and archers encircle the fort. On the north side, a battle is being fought by the soldiers of Marquis Elmdor and some unknown enemy regiment. Knowing that you have been uninvolved in this war for too long while at the training, you run for the flanks of the enemy army, hoping to find some relatively undefended troop of soldiers.

An arrow, probably not personally even aimed at you, cuts through your hair and lands on the ground to your side. More arrows land around you or whiz over your head as the wind blows them off course from their original targets, the line of troops on the far side of the grove of trees in front of you. You duck into a ravine and run down it to find an area behind enemy lines where soldiers charge to the main line as reinforcements. Obviously, the archers have disorganized both formations of troops (they had to have, considering that they shot so many arrows to have accidentally almost hit you who were not even in the battle yet).

A soldier carrying a huge axe and screaming cries about exterminating the Ivalicians, runs past. You choose this moment to reveal your presence, and wreak some havoc on enemy reinforcements. "Life is short, bury — Stasis Sword!" you cast. Ice falls out of the sky, crushing, cutting, and chilling the soldier all at the same time. He screams and falls, and although evidently not dead, he is never going to be able to wield his axe again.

That moment, you hear a voice above you and look. A short, stocky man in a wide-brimmed hat stands with his arms raised to the sky. "Destruction of nature, gather in flame…" he chants. You have seen this spell before and quickly (and just in time) bolt across the back of the field, leaping over the axeman that you just shattered the arm of. " — Fire!" finishes the wizard, and flames leap up behind you scorching the small tree that you were leaning against. After the spell casts, you spin around and charge the wizard, knowing him to be a threat as dangerous as any knight. You were not expecting his strength, however; he seems no older than you are. He blocks your sword with his rod and then, with your weight resting on your sword, he throws you back, and you land on a boulder. His rod begins to look as if it were a heavy object as he tries to club you, but you duck out of the way. As he turns to face you, too close to safely cast any spells, you give him a strong kick, knocking him off the embankment that the two of you are on. "I will not be beaten by a girl, particularly not some goody-goody holy knight!" he bellows, and then prepares to cast Bolt, but you Stasis Sword him first.

Several Ordalian soldiers come at you from behind, and you scramble further up the ridge. But behind them, you notice, several Ivalician warriors, with Marquis Elmdor at the head, chase your pursuers. You turn around and cast Stasis Sword on the front three men, hitting all three at once. One dives to the side, only to be hit by ice shards as he falls; the other two stand where they are and take it. "****! She’s a holy knight! Run away!" screams the fourth man, a monk, who has now been put in the lead. "Oh my God, it’s the Silver Ogre!" he cries when he turns and sees the Marquis. Sensing that the tide has turned, you advance back down the ridge on the remaining warriors. Another Ordalian soldier, who doesn’t want to be impaled, slashed, or frozen, jumps off the ridge, even though jumping from this height is certain crippling and probable death. Of the remaining three, the two on either end fight, one against you and the other against Elmdor. They go down in seconds. The last one screams as though you had just gutted him and cowers to the ground pleading that you not kill him and that he has a family and all that. Elmdor looks at him and then at you, and then tells the man that he can live. You almost wonder if the Marquis was going to kill him anyway except that you would be angry and that he doesn’t want to lose your allegiance. You’ll have to keep your eye on him.

As you go down the ridge, you see that the Ordalian lines have broken and that a supply line has been re-established. Elmdor recognizes you and commends you saying that many another brave knight would have died today but for you, and that he can see how Balbanes thought you had promise. After the bit of flattery, you are left to your own. The siege has temporarily broken, and you are exhausted from using Stasis Sword (although unlike normal magic, holy sword skills do not drain magical energy, but they do temporarily drain physical vigor). After an unsuccessful attempt to find Miluda, you decide to rest for the evening. You hope she’s okay. She probably is.

The next morning you take a chocobo and ride around the area up to the cliff that borders Favoham Plains, an area still firmly controlled by Ordalia. You see a structure in the distance and decide to investigate. It turns out to be an old windmill, but it is heavily guarded. There is no hiding in the plains, where the only cover is reasonably tall grass, which is not very concealing considering that you are on a chocobo. You can see anything (and can be seen by anything) for many leagues. Guarding the windmill you see three knights, two lancers, and a priest, but no infantry with ordinary polearms. For a moment you think it odd that all of the Ordalian warriors that you have seen have been men (or boys), quite unlike Ivalice, where it’s about 2:1 males to females. Anyhow, there is no way you could get in this way; the lancers would just impale you. Lancers are notorious for being able to kill holy knights. You circle at a distance of eighty yards, while the soldiers stand around looking at you. You think you hear shouting at one point, and the second lancer, who had been standing on the other side of the windmill comes around to watch you.

You could have been an archer if you had wanted to — your eyesight is good enough. The lancers and knights look partially worried and partially gleeful of their numbers. You would be no match for them collectively, but any one of them probably would have trouble taking you down, and they seem to know it. For the moment, you have to make a decision. Why are they keeping this windmill guarded? You want to find out because it looks important, but you will have to try to get in some other way. On the other hand, you could report it to the generals back at Zeakden, and come here with a more formidable force. And doing that, you could look for Miluda again. But if you delay, whatever’s here might be moved, and if it really is dangerous, it might be too late.

If you go back to Fort Zeakden, turn to page 4. If you try to find a secret entrance to the windmill, turn to page 11.

Page 3

You stride through the streets of Zeltennia, intent on finding the truth about Prince Goltana before he destroys Ivalice. You hope that your search is not discovered by Goltana if he is a traitor, of course, so you at first try to be inconspicuous. You talk idly about the weather, and so on. You listen carefully, though, when you get into the Prince’s castle. There are two reasons for this. First, you will have to be very attentive if you are going to pick up any wrongdoing, and second, any false move on your part could mean doom. You casually remark about the problems that have been happening in Gallione, and you try to spot who’s paying particularly close attention. One man in particular stands out. You memorize his visage, and then leave for the day, trying not to look suspicious yourself by hanging around.

The next day you return, and the man asks you what else you can tell him about the situation in Gallione. You tell him most of what you know, and then casually ask why. He says that he’s just curious, and then starts to walk over to several very important looking officials. You listen to what they say, while chattering with a lady of the house. You don’t overhear enough of the officials’ conversation to tell any specific plans, but you do get one thing: Prince Goltana is planning a coup! You chatter a few minutes more, and gradually break off the conversation, and get ready to leave. You leave, write and send a note to the king about what you discovered using the royal messenger service for important information.

The next day you visit some of the seediest taverns that you have ever seen to look for rumors about actual tactics. You wear a disguise this time; your azure mantle distinguishes you as a holy knight, and there is nothing that such an individual would do in these bars except gather information. You ask a variety of questions, of course. You learn a number of things, about what happened recently locally with the war, the health of the king, and other things, including what Prince Goltana is planning to do in the case of a crisis. There is little convincing proof of anything, but there is some evidence. You compile the evidence with what you heard in the castle into a report which you plan to take to the capital and show the royalty. With that, you leave the city.

The fields of Zeltennia do not welcome you, however. A small group of knights show up. You hear them muttering something about a revolt, and how it would be good to keep the holy knights out of it, and how if they hush it up nobody’ll find you. Then they try to arrest you on charge of poaching. Poaching? A holy knight? Not a very imaginative crime, and not very likely, either. You are wearing your mantle at the moment, so there’s no mistaking who you are. As you back away, the knights draw their weapons and charge. You cast Stasis Sword on one of them, very nearly catching another as well. He buckles. The other two rush you, and you turn and bolt — both of them are significantly larger (and probably stronger) than you, so you probably would not fare well against them in a melee. After a minute or so of sprinting, you reach your chocobo that you had tied to a tree. You simply slash the leash tying it up — you don’t have time to untie it. As you’re ready to urge your mount into flight, somebody grabs you and pulls you to the ground. You look up and see Goltana himself! You roll and get on your feet as fast as you can, and Goltana rushes you, and engages you in a hacking match. He would be no match for you if it weren’t for his other two knights — he’s old, and not as skilled. You see the other two knights coming at you, and you leap away from Goltana and cast Stasis Sword on the two knights (You would hit yourself as well if you aimed for Goltana, and his armor looks like even as old as he is he could take two or three such hits). As the two knights scramble and drop their weapons, Goltana comes forward and knocks your sword out of your hand. You run to get it back, but you feel yourself being lifted off the ground, suspended by Goltana’s sword!

As your strength leaves you, you wonder what gave you away. You hear him mutter "Indeed, holy knights are bad news — they’re not unquestioningly loyal!" He doesn’t seem to know that you’ve been spying on him! He probably never will find out; the sword pierces the piece of parchment that your report was written on — and by the time Goltana drags it out, it will be so drenched with blood that it will be unreadable. Maybe the king got the letter you sent by his mail service? Of course, none of this matters all that much to you anymore, however.

The End

Page 4

"There’s a windmill that’s heavily guarded out on Favoham Plains. There were at least five warriors and one magic user. I don’t know what they were guarding, but it must have been important — they did not come after me, even though I was only eighty yards away and in plain view."

"Thank you, Agrias. Dismissed," says Dycedarg. You then go down to the side of the fort where the volunteer peasant armies are lodging. Instead of you finding Miluda, Miluda finds you.

"There you are! I was afraid that you had gotten hurt…" she says.

"I very nearly was. Had I been a split second slower with that wizard, I would not be here today — but let us not talk about that!" you respond. At this moment, a man who appears to be about thirty, wearing white armor with a red insignia on his chest and a flowing white cape, approaches.

"Oh, excuse me," says Miluda. "Agrias, this is my brother Wiegraf. Wiegraf, this is Agrias, my best friend."

You turn to face Wiegraf. "Pleased to meet your acquaintance." you say, shaking hands (Of course you’re a noble and he is a peasant, but you are content to dispense with formalities). You look into his eyes, and see a power within them that seems familiar. "You’re… like me!" you exclaim. "Not ordained or knighted, but you have all the holy skills that I do!"

         "Indeed. So this ‘Order of the Holy Sword’ is real. There can’t be very many of you. It is very rare for a person to have such devotion and ability, and I thought there would be too few to make an order of them at all," replies Wiegraf.

         "Our order contains Arc Knights as well as Holy Knights, but since only a person with our values can acquire those spells. Whether you have an official title or not, we are comrades at arms. Were it up to me, I would knight you on the spot," you tell him.

         After some more rumor swapping (including what you saw at the windmill) a messenger then comes up behind you. "Pardon me, Lady Agrias, but the generals require your presence."

Larg, Elmdor, Dycedarg, Zalbag, and several others are planning sessions. All of the major knights are sitting around the tent (this includes you because there are very few in your order — Wiegraf was right). "You say that you saw a guarded windmill today. Repeat your description," Zalbag addresses you. You give all of the details of your discovery, the strength of the enemy, their warrior classes, their attitudes, and so on.

Dycedarg then gives a report about Count Lenario of Ordalia trying to set up negotiations to end the war. The local commander of the Nanten Knights (Under Prince Goltana) looks particularly fearful as Dycedarg finishes the report. Dycedarg says that somebody needs to go to visit this Lenario to see what he means. The commander of the Nanten blurts out "It’s a trap, milord! They’ll just kill the ambassador, or worse!" Larg mentions the commander to be quiet.

         After all of the reports are finished, Larg tells all of the independent knights to make up their minds as to what to do. You see three possible courses of action on your part. First, you could investigate that windmill, and hope that it has no guards inside it as well. Second, you could take Dycedarg’s mission and hope that the commander of the Nanten knights is either paranoid or treacherous (which you suspect one or the other). Thirdly, you could check out this commander… If he’s prolonging this bloody war, he needs to be stopped.

         If you investigate the commander of the Nanten Knights, perhaps with a little advice from Balbanes, turn to page 18. If you decide to investigate the windmill, turn to page 11. If you go to Ordalia to meet this count Lenario, turn to page 7.

Page 5

Working on your range and your effect area is exhausting. Although it is a holy power, Stasis Sword is nonetheless magic, and as such, it does drain your strength. Balbanes says that unlike normal black, white, yin-yang, time, or summon magic, holy sword does not use up magical energy, but all supernatural powers use physical energy. After about ten castings the first day on more dummies, your range and effectiveness starts to deteriorate due to your lack of concentration, and after twenty, you collapse and lose consciousness.

You return to your senses a few hours later. "Looks like you’ve been training hard." you hear Balbanes say when you come to. "You’re perfectly all right, if you’re worried. It’s just as if you had been doing hard labor all day and tired yourself out. Obviously, you don’t want to use your spell too often in the field or you’ll leave yourself easy prey to an opponent, but that’s the only drawback." You feel as if you’ve just been asleep for a very long time, and from the sound of it, that’s all that’s happened.

"How long was I out?" you ask.

"I’m not sure ‘out’ is really the right word; anyone could have woken you up at any time by making a loud noise, poking you, or anything else that would normally wake somebody up. How long were you asleep? About six hours," responds Balbanes.

It is afternoon now whereas it had been morning. You also are quite hungry (and thirsty). "I think I missed teatime, and I think that I need something to replenish myself before any more practice."

"As a matter of fact, you haven’t missed anything — we’ve been waiting for you. Come. It is quite normal for one who has been casting spells until he passes out to wake up hungry; it’s just a facet of being worn out." Balbanes grabs a cane to steady himself, and leads you to the dining room. Ramza, Delita, and their respective sisters are already seated. "You are getting better at Stasis Sword. If you were to try now you probably could use max rangeand near max effect."

The rest of the day goes by uneventfully, as does the next. The day after, just as you are preparing to depart for Fort Zeakden, Dycedarg returns. Zalbag, it seems, is still at fort Zeakden battling the Ordalians. "Limberry is still occupied by the enemy, however, it seems that Count Lenario of Ordalia is trying to draw up plans for peace."

Balbanes then replies "What are the terms of peace that Count Lenario plans to give?"

Dycedarg answers "I don’t remember the details exactly, but it includes Ordalia leaving Zeltennia."

"Then we must send a messenger to Ordalia to try to tell this count that we will support his efforts, but it will be a very dangerous mission. Some of the Ordalians will not want peace and may try to squelch this attempt at all costs, and then it is possible that some people in Ivalice will try to stop it as well…" says Balbanes. "Who could we send?"

Listening to this, you wonder if you should volunteer. You will either be trying to recover Limberry or ending the war behind enemy lines. Indeed, this will be a dangerous mission, but you are not one to shrink away from danger if the cause is just. Do you volunteer?

If you decide to go to Limberry, turn to page 2. If you decide to volunteer for this secret mission, turn to page 10.

Page 6

After pondering the circumstances for an hour or two, you tell General Balbanes that you don’t think that you will be terribly effective without your now sword skill. Balbanes accepts your decision and schedules a lesson the next day. You bid a hopefully temporary farewell to Miluda and head to the Beoulve residence. Ramza and Delita are playing with wooden sticks in the yard, pretending that they are swords. Alma greets you at the door.

"Welcome to Beoulve Manor, Lady Agrias. I’m Alma. Weren’t you at the banquet last night?" she asks.

"I was. You must have quite a memory!" you tell her. "Is your father in?"

Alma leads you to a hidden training facility in the back of the manor. Balbanes sits in his chair, too old and worn to remain standing. You kneel to show him your respect — not only is he the leader of your order but he outranks everyone in Igros save Elmdor and Larg themselves. "Thank you, Alma." The girl leaves, so it’s just you and General Balbanes. "So why don’t you give me a little demonstration of what you already know on the target over there." he tells you, motioning to a stuffed effigy of some generic soldier. "Try maximum range." You try to stasis the dummy, and bring down only a few snowflakes on it. You recall that Stasis Sword is an ice attack, even though it effects creatures and monsters as if it were holy. "You do need to work on that a bit, but that’s not bad for a beginner. Remember that you can only use that attack effectively in richeous anger, no matter how experienced or trained you are. Try a closer range." You take a few steps closer to the dummy. This time you manage to bring down a some small blocks of ice on the supposed target. "Very good! That’s about as good as it gets for a fake enemy. You need to work on your range and area effected. Now, that dummy represents the guy that just tried to kill an innocent villager. Try again." You manage to crush the dummy against the floor under a sword-shaped pillar of ice. The ice evaporates almost immediately, but the dummy is in more than one piece. "You know, normally, one could freeze a foe within that block, so that they can neither move nor act, but that is something that cannot easily be taught."

         At this moment Ramza and Delita barge in, carrying their wooden "swords." You spin around to face them. "Well, boys, I see you’ve been having your own practice session." Delita, behind Ramza, jabs Ramza in the back with his stick.

         "Now look who just won!" Delita taunts Ramza.

         "You’re too late, Delita. I got you already," responds Ramza. The two grapple and roll around on the ground until they are tired, then get up and shake hands. The two aren’t brothers, but they act like it!

         "How old was Delita when you adopted him?" you ask, knowing that Delita is fully aware that Ramza isn’t really related to him.

         "Oh, Delita was adopted when he was four. Yes, they do so act like brothers. Why don’t you show the boys what real swordsmanship is like?" You pick up a third wooden stick, shake hands with Ramza and Delita, and then go at it. The boys are disarmed thirty seconds later; you have their sticks, and they never touched you with theirs. "Keep practicing, boys, and one day you’ll both be like her! Anyhow, Agrias, you seem to be able to handle yourself at close range, but your distance needs work. You should come back in the morning, and in a few days, you should be ready to test your skills against a real enemy."

         Dear Miluda,

         I am staying behind to brush up my skills so that I will be reasonably effective when I come out to join you. I am anxious to meet your brother Wiegraf. You say that he has holy sword skills also, no? Balbanes says that I will be ready in a few days, so I hope to see you then.

Your friend,


         You light another candle, seeing that the one that you had written your letter by is burning out. Suddenly there is a knock on the door to your room. You get up, walk over, and open it, finding Ramza and Delita both on the far side. They look worried, so you let them in. "Uh, is there a problem?" you ask, taking your letter to Miluda and putting it away.

         Ramza and Delita come in, and you close the door. "We were playing with our sisters when we overheard a conversation between father and another official," begins Ramza.

         "And this is surprising?" you ask.

         Delita chimes in. "We think we overheard him saying something about Prince Larg and Marquis Elmdor planning to take over the kingdom when the war is over."

         "Are you sure that’s what he said?" you ask. "That would be something if it were true. But… why would Balbanes put up with it if it were? That would be treason if it were true!" Ramza and Delita still look worried. "And what could I do to stop it, if it were?"

         "We were wondering if you knew anything about it," says Delita.

         "Absolutely nothing. This is the first time I have heard of anything like this. Maybe you should ask your father." You wonder why they came to ask you. However, this is an important issue.

         "Thanks for your advice. We’re just a little jittery of father…" says Ramza. They leave. You think carefully. You look at your letter to Miluda that you were ready to put in an envelope and send. If there really is treachery at work here, you might want to investigate it, but then, your country needs you as soon as you are ready. Should you bring this up with Balbanes?

If you ask Balbanes in the morning about this, turn to page 18. If you decide to leave it (and leave Ramza and Delita out of this), turn to page 5.

Page 7

Three months ago you took the mission to meet with Count Lenario of Ordalia to try to negotiate a possible peace settlement between Ordalia and Ivalice. Dressed in a brown cloak, you make your way through Ordalia’s capital. You have seen the extensive border patrols trying to keep potential spies out, which probably might actually describe you, although you have never lied to anybody. You blend in as an ordinary Ordalian citizen, and your loose cloak disguises you so well that many people probably don’t even know that you’re a girl. You make your way through the capital and towards the manor of Count Lenario. You finger the small note in your hand under your long sleeve that will tell the count who you are. You hope that this isn’t some sort of trap, but it seems perhaps too precarious for it to be, unless they’re hoping to get Dycedarg or Zalbag or someone. You walk up to the gate of the manor, and a guard asks you why you want to see the Count. You show him the paper, which is simply a symbol of the count’s Zodiacal Sign (the guard is probably illiterate). He lets you in and has a second guard escort you to the count’s chamber. You enter a room that is decorated with statues of dragons and hydrae, and see a well-dressed man in the back. The man wears a ceremonial sword at his belt. The guard indicates that you showed him the appropriate symbol to get in. "Ah," says the man. "So you are the messenger of Lord Balbanes of Ivalice. I am Count Lenario. So, who are you?"

You remove the cloak and long robes that you had been wearing and reveal the shining mithril armor and blue outfit of your order underneath. "My name is Agrias Oaks, and I belong to the Order of the Holy Sword, Lesalia St. Konoe Division under General Balbanes. Balbanes’ plans for setting up peace agreements based on your suggestions are to be found in this letter." You hand him an envelope that you were given by Balbanes. "I’ve been briefed in what that note contains, so any questions as to details I should be able to answer."

"I must admit that I was not prepared for such detailed plans. You plan to set up negotiations in the fields outside of Bethla?" asks the Count.

"Or any other site that his Majesty of Ordalia prefers," you respond. "The peace settlement would officially say that Ivalice had lost the war, but you notice that the exact terms reveal it to be a draw. Ordalia would get the glory, but both sides would be happy to simply have peace, I believe," you respond.

"And how are we to know that this whole operation would not be used to ambush?" asks the Count.

"I obviously cannot assure you if the Ivalician Government is plotting behind my back, but as for my trying to deceive you, your eminence, you have my word that I am not."

"And your order swears you to speak only the truth? Yes, or you could not use holy sword powers. Very well, I trust you. Tell Balbanes and the king that the negotiations will be held in Bethla, thus allowing Ivalice to have some of the glory. It will make the talking easier. And what about Limberry?" he asks.

"Limberry and Favoham are to belong to Ivalice. Auchest will be returned to Ordalia, seeing that it is nearly twice the size of the other two regions. Furthermore, Count Jenkins and Lord Parker will be exchanged for Duke Mark. There will be no monetary reparations," you say.

"We are prepared for such an exchange." Count Lenario writes a note on a piece of parchment and hands it to you. "Please take this back to His Majesty Omdoria (King of Ivalice). Good luck, your Ladyship." he tells you. You don your robe and brown cloak and head out the door. "And, oh yes, I have sent two escorts to make sure that you make it back to Ivalice. There are some who would rather you not and that the war continue indefinitely." You respectfully say goodbye to the Count, and make acquaintance with your escorts: Robert the wizard and Harold the knight.

After you get out of the city, riding in a cart drawn by a merchant loyal to Lenario, you pull out the letter and read it. You are continually afraid that somebody’s going to double-cross you. Of course, Count Lenario has had plenty of opportunities already, and so has the Ivalician royal family, but you need to find out just what the message that you’re carrying says. It’s just a declaration saying that the Count, who has been appointedby the king, has agreed to the peace plans. You look at Robert and Harold, putting the letter away. Harold tells you that you shouldn’t worry as you read the note. Robert asks you why Ivalice makes knights out of women. You ask him why Ordalia doesn’t. Then the three of you fall silent for a long time.

Another two months pass as you wander around Ordalia, looking for a way to get from city to city without your identities and mission being found out. Sometimes you hide in hay carts. Other times you travel overland across plains and through forests and hills, battling the native monsters as you encounter them (They’re the same species as in many parts of Ivalice). Your nineteenth birthday happens while you are in one such forest. You kill and roast a wild chocobo that day for it, but then you move onward. You constantly worry that you’re being followed. You find a canoe and the three of you row across the channel to the Ivalician coast. Upon reaching the coast, a group of five knights and three monks welcomes you. They bear the emblem of the Black Lion, the symbol of Prince Goltana.

"Ahoy there!" they shout as you approach the shoreline. "We have been eagerly awaiting your return," they shout. What would these guys know about your mission?

"Who are you?" you shout back, sufficiently far from the shore that they could not wade out to you (and they couldn’t swim in their armor…). "Do you even know who we are?" They know you, at least. They also assume that the other two are your escorts for your mission. Where did they get this information? "Paddle along the coastline; don’t land," you order to Robert and Harold. "I have a feeling that these boys are up to no good." You grab an oar and start shoving water in back of the boat. "I was afraid of something like this," you mutter. "Are you sure you know who I am? Who would have told you that?" you shout to the shore. Dycedarg told them, they say. Dycedarg? Knights of Prince Goltana? If anything, it should be Larg who sends a reception committee. "Keep paddling. We’ll go further out into the channel and land at Igros. Those guys just want to stop our mission and probably our breathing as well," you tell your companions.

"What happens if a storm comes up?" asks Harold.

"We jettison our armor and swim for it. But we don’t dare land. We can’t win three against eight," you answer grimly.

"Isn’t that Prince Goltana’s emblem?" asks Robert.

"It is, and that’s one of the things that tips me off. All of Prince Goltana’s troops should be far away. I don’t know whether they’re his assassins, or servants of somebody trying to frame Goltana." You put a heavy stroke into the water. The three of you paddle off into the sea, resting on the boat for a night as you drift towards Igros, and prepare to embark in the morning (you decided to bring fresh water in case something like this happened). You land in Igros the next morning, and head for the Beoulve Residence to deliver your note, as it is Balbanes that will arrange the actual peace talks. But something bothers you. If Prince Goltana really is a traitor, this will end only half of the war. Should you let Harold and Robert finish the mission and investigate Goltana? Or should you let any traitors be crushed under a combined Ivalician — Ordalian alliance?

If you investigate Prince Goltana, turn to page 3. If you simply finish your mission in person, turn to page 34.

Page 8

Life at Orbonne Monastery is monotonous and dull. At first, when you enter the region, you are ordered to protect queen Ruvelia, but when you get the chance, you guard Ovelia. Ovelia is extremely pious, not surprisingly. So are you, of course, but she’s more the clerical type while you’re the fighter. The monks here are nice enough, and they don’t mind you making the most of the library in the basement. You make two new friends at Orbonne, both of them captains of knights that are assigned to your command: Alicia Bennet and Lavian Abellius. Alicia is a quiet sort of girl, about your age, humble, reasonably smart, very professional, and otherwise rather introverted. Lavian has more of a flare to her; she is more showy, has a bit of finesse, and is overall more talkative. The two seem to know each-other from previous assignments. Both Alicia and Lavian were members of the Hokuten, it turns out, but they were transferred here to protect Ovelia. It seems as though they were singled out to guard Ovelia because there was a fear of leaving the Princess in male hands alone (this is also probably why you had no trouble transferring here).

Anyhow you spend your days reading the books downstairs, where you learn things from some more basic chemistry to the fire and blind spells of black and yin-yang magic, respectively. You also do some research in the greater holy sword skills, split punch, crush punch, lightning stab, and holy explosion. You will need some more refinement before you can learn any of these. You also look up some history about some of the early church saints. You notice that some of the reports of some of the saints don’t really fit. You wonder if there have been some translation errors. When you read these works, and when you go to read the more advanced books on the second basement floor, you somehow feel a sense of foreboding, particularly when you go near the stairway to the third floor. Probably it’s just some of the mightier black magic, like flare and death, that are contained in the books on the third floor (you prefer to read about holy which is contained on the second).

Time passes. You periodically go on short quests to keep in practice and find out what is going on in Ivalice. The war ends. You hear about a sordid plot involving Dycedarg as he used extremely brutal force to put down a peasant revolt, killing a member of his family. You wonder who it was. An unsettling peace settles over Ivalice. Another year passes. You hear about the rise and fall of a revolt in Goltana’s province. You wonder who started it. A few months after your twentieth birthday, you hear that King Omdoria has died, and you are temporarily reassigned to protect the queen, before being sent back to Orbonne. Tension mounts, and you fear that a civil war between Larg and Goltana may break out. You fear for Ovelia. She is an innocent soul in this great drama; she knows almost nothing of the potential threats that might well snuff out her life. She does know something, because you notice that she is getting more and more nervous. She may be getting this from you.

The reinforcements that you get from the Hokuten are not what you had expected. Instead of knights, the Hokuten send three mercenaries. One of them, their leader, is dressed in dark brown armor, is aged in his fifties, and although notably taller than you, he probably isn’t as strong due to his age. He calls himself Gaff Gafgarion. You remember a person of that name involved in the Touten knights, only to be kicked out due to his brutal fighting style. He seems overly concerned with money — but he is, of course, just a mercenary. The second is a boy, about four years younger than you. His name is Ramza Rugalia, or so he claims. You wonder if he’s really Dycedarg’s brother, changed his name to distance himself from the man. He seems resentful, as if his life involved great pain in the past. The third is Rad, who is if anything even younger. He seems to fancy himself an oracle. You can’t find anything about his background (or Ramza’s either, unless of course he is really Ramza Beoulve).

Normally, any more reinforcements might be a godsend… but something perturbs you about these mercenaries. Ramza seems like he is a noble hero who is running from something. Rad seems almost as innocent as Ovelia. But Gaff… there’s something you don’t like about him. Something… unholy. Is he a dark knight, a knight whose beliefs and convictions about the world are strong enough to grant unusual strength, but whose beliefs don’t involve God?

If you decide to not accept Gaff, turn to page 29. If you decide than a mercenary is better than nobody, and resolve to watch the man, turn to page 38.

Page 9

Nobody’s going to go after Ovelia yet. Anybody who does is a fool; she might be a help or a hindrance as far as others grabbing for power go. That means that you can keep looking at Larg. You head back to the palace and look around some more. You run into the youth identified as Algus again at one point. His extremely non-egalitarian (and sexist) attitudes get you into a fisticuff with him. You bloody his nose. After a month of fruitless searching for anything on Larg, however, you head out to the war.

Fort Zeakden, when you get there, is mostly besieged. The road between Zeakden and Igros is clear, but otherwise a ring of soldiers encircles the fort. As a late arrival to the battle, you move around and flank the enemy. It’s just you, of course, but you quickly cause a lot more damage than you could had you joined the rank of knights. Stasis Sword is quite effective. You attack reinforcements, which are less organized and prepared as battle troops, and pretty soon you have their sentries pulled away from the front lines looking for you, thus removing them from the effective Ordalian army. The sentries do a lousy job tracking you — either they’re untrained or (comparatively) slow-witted. You fight off a sentry from time to time, but new replacements keep coming out of the front lines. While they wonder where you are, you continue to disrupt supply and reinforcement lines. War is a filthy business; most of these men don’t deserve to die any more than you do, but you have to incapacitate them, and sometimes you don’t have any choice. You decide just to hide and not to risk killing anyone on your nineteenth birthday.

After about two weeks of random disruption, you circle back to fort Zeakden, which has managed to break the siege (with your help). At last, you meet Miluda as you told her you would. She is glad to see you, and introduces you to her brother Wiegraf. You share their turnip soup one night, and you see why Miluda likes solid food better. You almost would rather go hungry. While the Knights of Death are mopping up the remainder of the siege, you, Miluda, and Wiegraf grab three chocobos and head on a recon mission to Favoham Plains. Wiegraf also knows some holy sword skills, and is physically much stronger (although not as good with the magic) as you. As your mounts sprint through the tall grass, you spot a windmill on the seacoast, and the three of you go to look at it.

"Look’s like there’s a reception committee," remarks Miluda as you draw near it. Two lancers, three knights, and a priest stand guard.

"Lancers aren’t exactly an easy type of warrior to be. If they have elite units guarding this windmill, they must have something important within it," you say.

"I think we can take them, provided there aren’t any more inside. Just be sure to get those lancers first, or they’ll impale us!" says Wiegraf.

The three of you descend on the windmill and quickly take out the two lancers; you get one, Wiegraf gets the other. Miluda puts her sword through the priest. Suddenly you hear a thunderous explosion, and Wiegraf flinches, a gashed streak on his shoulder. One of the knights must have a gun! You dash towards the knight who has the thing before he can reload it and shove him off the seacliff — nearly a 100 foot drop. He hits his head. Miluda bushwhacks the second knight who was about to slice his sword into your back. Wiegraf nails the third knight with a well-aimed Stasis Sword. Then the three of you head into the windmill, alert in case anything else happens. Nobody else tries to ambush you, but you notice a small trunk inside the windmill with the Ordalian Royal emblem on it. You open the chest and look inside. It’s full of documents. "It looks as though we’ve captured one of their secret vaults — maybe the Ordalians were taking messages from Ivalice. The first paper is a wizard’s script detailing how to use that new spell that’s been devised called Flare. The second… Oh my God!" you exclaim. You read

To his Royal Majesty of Ordalia,

You must beware of attempts within your own kingdom to end this war prematurely. I also fear an attempt on your life. Guard against these, and I will send you reinforcements to crush Zeakden and Igros. In response, you agree to leave Gariland, Dorter, and the rest of Gallione to me as the future king of Ivalice.


"Is Goltana a traitor or is he being framed?" asks Miluda, who apparently was thinking the same things as you.

"I don’t know… but this third document seems to implicate Dycedarg Beoulve of not wanting a peaceful end of this fiasco either, although it has no implications of Balbanes," you say, reading the third document in the box, handing the first and second to Wiegraf and Miluda, respectively.

"I think we should take that trunk and get out of here before the welcome wagon arrives," remarks Wiegraf. "We can discuss what to do later." The other two of you agree, and you ride back to Fort Zeakden. You plan to show these letters to Balbanes when you get back — at least the one about Goltana.

You return to fight the final battle recapturing Castle Limberry, and then you head back to Igros with the rest of your order. After parades at Igros, you head to the Beoulve residence to talk to Balbanes, but you discover that he has recently died of old age. You are going to be on your own. You are going to have to investigate the papers that you found, and the only man you were sure you could trust is now dead. Meanwhile the Knights of Death have been disbanded without compensation by royal decree. Something seems wrong about this — they spilt their blood for this kingdom, and they don’t get rewarded with anything but a parade? Still, the future of this country is far from certain. The claims against Dycedarg seem weaker than the ones against Goltana — if he was plotting anything, he failed. The war is over. Goltana, on the other hand, his plots might have just begun. You have two alternatives: you can either try to find out what Dycedarg is up to, while looking after Wiegraf and Miluda in Gallione. Or you could head east and either bring these documents before the King or investigate Prince Goltana yourself. What will you do?

If you investigate Dycedarg and try to argue for a more just end of Wiegraf’s volunteer corps, turn to page 12. If you decide instead to see if Goltana is indeed guilty of treason, turn to page 3.

Page 10

"I had forgotten that we had an eavesdropper." says Dycedarg. "I don’t suppose she could do any harm, could she, as a holy knight?" he asks Balbanes.

Balbanes responds "This may be just our stroke of luck, actually. I can’t think of anyone better to send than her…." Dycedarg takes a look at you. "Take this map of Ordalia. Good luck, Knight of the Holy Sword!"

Turn to page 7.

Page 11

You ride along the north coast of Ivalice on the seashore. You’re going to have to climb up the seacliffs to get at the windmill, but that’s better than being spotted. You see the windmill looming overhead as you carefully pick your way along the seacliff. You reach into your satchel and pull out a set of climbing gear. Slowly, but methodically, you make your way up the cliff, using the spikes to anchor yourself (you could climb it freehand, but not in your armor). Finally you make it to the top, and flatten your body against the back of the windmill. Slowly you inch around to the side, and see that a lancer has his back turned, looking across the plain. "Do you think that that girl will try something?" you hear someone ask. You duck back behind the windmill and listen, hoping nobody sees you.

"I don’t know, but no question — she was Ivalician. She looked like a holy knight, too, with her waist-long blue mantle. If we’re right, then she’s extremely dangerous: devoted, smart, tenacious, skillful, and endowed with magical prowess that most black mages can only dream of!" You have no intention of using the last ability that you have at the moment; casting stasis sword on the lancer would certainly reveal your presence. After a bit more chattering, you sense that the lancer has moved to the other side of the windmill. "We ought to keep a look out for her." you hear him say.

You slip quickly and silently around the wall and inside the building, thankful that your armor is not chainmail or something that makes a great deal of noise. The sound of the mill slowly grinding away makes drowns out whatever noise you do make, or so you hope. You also hope that that priest can’t divine anything about your presence. The inside of the windmill is stuffed with crates of Lord knows what. In the far side of the room, there is a small trunk with the Ordalian royal emblem engraved on it. You tip-toe over to it and slide it open. It is filled with official documents. You pick one up and read:

To his Royal Majesty of Ordalia,

You must beware of attempts within your own kingdom to end this war prematurely. I also fear an attempt on your life. Guard against these, and I will send you reinforcements to crush Zeakden and Igros. In response, you agree to leave Gariland, Dorter, and the rest of Gallione to me as the future king of Ivalice.


Goltana is committing treason!? You wonder if this is just a fabrication and is planned to divide Ivalice as it is, or if it is real. You never really trusted Goltana, actually — too fat, while others starve. You gather up the other documents and place them in your satchel, then close the trunk as quietly as you had opened it. Suddenly you feel a presence behind you! You spin around and see several of the guards — two of the knights, one lancer, and the priest — looking back at you. The knight holds some piece of metal… Oh no! It’s an ancient weapon, a relic left over from a long fallen civilization, and is known as a "gun." It has a chemical explosive that fires a small metal projectile at incredible speeds towards its target —faster than the eye can resolve, piercing most any kind of non-magical armor ever devised. "Alright. Who are you?" demands the head knight.

You give him your name. You can’t just lie to him. "Ah, yes, the Oaks family. We’ve heard about you." There is a long pause. Then the knight continues. "I see that you also are fairly well educated, since you can read and all. Or Joey, the priest saw." So the priest did have divination spells… "You know what this is? From the fear in your eyes, my guess is that you do." He waves the pistol around.

The priest, who has been identified as Joey, then asks "How could she be such a brave warrior to be a holy knight and still be afraid of us?" The knight tells him that he’ll explain later. You know that courage is the ability to act in the face of fear, not insusceptibility to it.

"Well, I have this thing trained on your heart, and obviously I can’t just let you go knowing what you do from reading that paper. Anything to say before I silence you?" You grab your satchel and try to hold it over your chest so that he can’t kill you without destroying the documents, but he fires first. Itwasn’t aimed perfectly; the knight aimed too far to the left. Still, the bullet goes straight through your breastplate and into your left lung. You drop the satchel and reel from the impact and the wound, before dropping to your knee for shortness of breath. "Just leave her. She’s too dazed from the injury to cast any spells, and won’t have the strength to fight us physically. She won’t last long even though I didn’t hit her perfectly." the knight tells his companions, the rest of which have entered the windmill. "Go out and look for any more intruders." The guards leave you in the room alone. You gasp for breath while your pierced lung fills up with fluid. You know that that knight is right about your never being a threat again. You wince in the pain, and slump to the side of one of the crates. You are already quite faint, and you are steadily feeling weaker and fainter.

The End

         Page 12

         "Yes, thank you for your suggestion. We’ll look into it." These words come from Prince Larg of Gallione, as you kneel in front of him. The prince then remarks that he has some other business to attend to, and that he has to go. He brushed you off just like that! Here you are, a heroine of the Fifty Years War, and he doesn’t even respect you! Sure, you’re a level below him in status, but what does that mean? You’re only one level down, and he doesn’t want to listen to you. How could he have any respect the peasants? You leave the palace, and head through the streets of Igros. You notice the youngest Beoulve boys playing in the yard of their manor.

         You look at them pitifully. They know nothing of the storm that is about to strike Ivalice. Soon they will learn stained with blood. Many of the soldiers have no jobs, less money, and very soon less yet loyalty to the country. You are going to be torn between the two extremes. There are some decent people among the nobility (yourself included), even the royalty. Yet these good individuals are probably going to be overlooked by those without noble status that you consider to be your friends. And if arguments and mediation don’t work, you may be forced to pick sides. As you get out of Igros, you head for Mandalia, and sit yourself on one of the heavy limestone blocks. For the moment, the plains are fairly well patrolled, so the monsters that live here are not likely to attack you — at least not this close to Igros; you’re really only a half mile from the city’s walls. You look around, pull out your sword, and stare at it for the longest time. You had hoped that you would never have to use it again. But that looks like it is going to be impossible.

         You decide to head for Gariland. On the way your fears are justified, you get waylaid by a huge army of bandits. They circle around you, armed with a combination of civilian daggers and high-grade military weapons. Judging by your characteristic blue mantle, they identify you as belonging to the Order of the Holy Sword. They seem to want everything you have that is of any value, saying that rebellion (not thievery) is a costly business. You ask them who they are, and they tell you that they are the "Death Corps," a group organized to demand compensation for the volunteer soldiers who fought in the war. You ask them who their leader is. They debate this for a moment and decide that since they intend to kill you for being nobility, they can tell you. Wiegraf, as you suspected. You demand that they take you to see Wiegraf before they take your life. They demand that you give them your sword, and then grab you very roughly and bring you to the windmill that you found the note in during the war.

         "We caught this girl on Mandalia Plains. She wanted to talk to you." The leader of the bandits calls out.

         Wiegraf steps out. "Agrias!" He looks at the bandits. "Release her — she’s innocent! And give her her sword back!" he orders. "Are you all right?" he asks you.

         "I’m fine, but I think that your soldiers were planning to kill me," you respond.

         Wiegraf reprimands the troops and tells them to take prisoners before arbitrarily slaughtering captured nobles. Then he turns to you. "As is fairly obvious, we’re revolting," he says. "Evidently some of the men have assumed that all nobles are bad… I’m sorry. You almost died because of me. I should have given better orders earlier."

         You stand up and face Wiegraf. "Do you know what you are getting into? The Hokuten are more than a match for your volunteer corps. I agree with you that we need to change the power structure, but we can’t do it violently. We’ll lose," you tell him. "Your men will die — all of them. So will you. So will your sister. So will I, because sooner or later Larg or Dycedarg or somebody will find out that we were friends and want to make sure there’s no dissention."

         "I am afraid of that, but we can’t just tolerate this injustice. Do you want to live in a world where everything is governed by rank?" Wiegraf responds.

         "We have to try some other method. We could seek help higher up, like the king, or the church, or something else. But unless you manage to get the entire peasantry up in arms, your revolution will be impossible." There is a long pause before anybody speaks.

         Wiegraf turns and walks over to the seacliff and looks across the ocean. "You are noble in the best sense of the word, Agrias. You detest violence, and fight only in the cause of peace. Yet… somehow I can’t see any level of nobility permanently deciding to aid us. There will always be exceptions, such as yourself, but what good will it do in the long run to convince the king to be more egalitarian if his son wants to be a tyrant? I am not advocating the abolition of feudalism, but I do think that a new set of laws above that are above royalty are needed, and NO king is going to go for that unless he’s forced." Somehow, you have the feeling that he’s right. Maybe by some stroke of luck Wiegraf can unite the peasants, but maybe you can use your religious clout (as a holy knight) to get the king to create such a system of laws.

         If you tell Wiegraf that you are going to be his ambassador in the capital, turn to page 17. If you decide that he’s right and that only a revolt will suffice, turn to page 15.

         Page 13

         After several days of trying to argue with Prince Larg with little effect, you head back to Favoham plains to tell Wiegraf that you are going to speak with the king himself. However, when you get there, you discover that Golgaros, one of the other captains of the Death Corps, has taken a hostage to escape after a failed attempt to assassinate Lord Dycedarg. You look at the hostage while Wiegraf criticizes Golgaros for the kidnapping. The girl wears a lavender dress, has brown eyes, and long, strait dark hair. You think you recognize her from back when you visited Balbanes.

         "Why did you kidnap the girl?" Wiegraf asks Golgaros.

         "We needed a hostage to escape. She’s our only ace in the hole to let us escape. Because she’s a Beoulve," responds Golgaros.

         "That’s no Beoulve," you say. "The Beoulve daughter, Alma — she’s blond. That is most likely Teta Hyral, and you definitely should let her go… or her family will come looking for her.

         "Hear that, Golgaros? Let her go," Wiegraf orders him.

         A female monk enters the door and whispers something to Wiegraf, who goes ballistic because of it. "WHAT!? Miluda killed?!" You are shocked at the news, and you watch as Wiegraf clenches his fist. The monk says that it’ll be only a matter of time before the cadets get here. Wiegraf then orders a general retreat as the monk leaves, and orders Golgaros to leave Teta here. A shout that the enemy are here comes from outside the door. "****! Already?" exclaims Wiegraf, who then goes out to head them off.

         You grab your sword and wonder what you’re going to do next, retreat or go help Wiegraf. Then you notice that Golgaros is taking the girl anyway. "What the **** do you think you’re doing, Golgaros? Wiegraf ordered you to leave her!" you exclaim. Golgaros grabs her and tells you that unless he takes her, everyone is going to die. You would rather that than allow this innocent girl to die instead, and you approach Golgaros with your sword ready. "Release her, Golgaros, or I’ll do to you what Wiegraf did to Gustav." You remember how Wiegraf impaled Gustav for kidnapping Marquis Elmdor.

         You move to block the exit; if Golgaros is going to get out now, he’ll have to go through either you or Wiegraf, speaking of whom, you hear something that sounds like Stasis Sword being cast outside. Golgaros shoves Teta aside and draws his own sword. It’s a short conflict — after a few parries, you nail Golgaros with a Stasis Sword of your own. Now you have a decision to make. Are you sure that you want to take Teta out into the middle of a fight (that is who she is; you ask her)?

         If you decide to take her out even though there is a battle outside, turn to page 28. If you leave a note that you’re taking her back to Igros via Gariland, turn to page 21. If you decide to take her to Igros via Fort Zeakden (leaving the appropriate note), turn to page 26

         Page 14

         "Please rise, good Lady Knight. Tell me, I understand that you come all the way from Igros to speak with me (cough). You must think that you have something very important." These words come from the Omdoria, the King of Ivalice. You, who had been kneeling to show your respect to the king, stand on his order.

         "Your Majesty, I believe that I know how to quell the Death Corps revolt with a minimum of bloodshed," you say.

         "Go ahead, Lady Agrias."

         "The Death Corps are what remains of the ‘Knights of Death,’ an organization of volunteer soldiers that fought under the Ivalician banner during the Fifty Years’ War, as it has come to be called. Somehow, the soldiers were forgotten after the end-of-war celebrations, and they have interpreted this as a statement by the nobility, and probably by the clergy as well, that the peasantry are intrinsically inferior people, if not outright beasts of burden. What they demand is that they be treated as soldiers worthy of some compensations for fighting in the war. Although I think it rash for them to revolt, I do feel that they have a legitimate gripe."

         King Omdoria coughs again, then spends fifteen seconds hacking. "Are you all right, Your Majesty?" you ask, concerned.

"I am ill, and might not be able to implement this. Guard, call my wife in." The king composes himself. "Agrias, tell my wife what you have told me, so that if I fall too ill to act, she can take over." Queen Ruvelia enters with the guard, and you immediately drop to your knees. Omdoria tells you to stand again, and you do so. Ruvelia listens to your story, and looks somewhat chagrinned.

"Are you sure that these ‘Death Corps’ will stop if given compensation for their deeds at war?" she asks.

"There are roughly three thousand of them, so I cannot speak for all of them. Their leader, however — I fought with him during the Fifty Years’ War, and he is as noble a warrior as any I have ever seen. He is not ordained as such, but he possesses the same holy sword powers that I do. I hope — I believe — that his men would listen to their leader. It is admittedly hard to understand how such a man could revolt against his king, but he has, and his revolt must obviously be put down with as little bloodshed as possible."

"All right (cough), how sure are you that this man doesn’t simply want power for himself?" asks the King.

You close your eyes for a moment. If Wiegraf really does decide to try to destroy the social order against your suggestions, you would not know what to do with yourself. Your eyes remain closed while you give your assurance: "I would stake my life on that, my liege."

"That is a strong statement, young knight (Cough, cough, hack). Oh dear, I fear that I will not be able to speak any more of this today (cough). Return tomorrow," says the king, who then resumes a series of more coughing. "Dismissed."

As you leave and head for an inn that you planned to stay at for the night, a messenger comes back to you. He addresses you "Queen Ruvelia wishes to know what you plan to do by ending this revolt in this way." Uh-oh… This looks like some kind of loyalty or integrity test. How to answer…

If you answer that you are trying to correct a social injustice, turn to page 25. If you say that you are trying to restore loyalty of some three thousand odd peasants to the crown, turn to page 22.

         Page 15

         "I’ll join you. Indeed, I would rather not live in a world where those who display their courage cannot get what they deserve," you say finally. "Though I honestly think that we will all perish unceremoniously."

         Wiegraf pauses. "If we don’t succeed… what may at first be a ripple will one day be a tsunami. And if it isn’t…" there is another pause. "Then may the Lord wreak his vengeance upon this land."

         You don’t say anything at first. Then, after what seems like an eternity, you say "I should change my outfit — I’m no longer nobility." Wiegraf stands silent. "But now that I’ve joined, I demand the ability to veto any order if I feel that it harms innocents."

         "You may always do that, Agrias," replies Wiegraf.

         You leave and go to the windmill. You remove the azure mantle of the Lesalia St. Konoe order and put on a green cloak complete with a hood. You scratch the insignia off of your breastplate and decide to leave it blank. You then scratch your name off of your sword. Miluda enters after a while. "I see that you have joined us. I never thought it possible that you would cast aside your rank… I know you always regarded me as an equal, but…"

         "But you expected that I would try to get you knighted instead?" you reply. "Yes, Miluda, I have changed. Lady Agrias Oaks of Lesalia is dead. I am somebody else now." You turn to her and embrace as though you were sisters. "The question that I have to answer now is… Should I go to our fortress south of Mandalia or operate out of this in Favoham?"

         If you decide to go to the southern sector to disrupt Larg’s communications with Gariland, turn to page 19. If you decide to help Wiegraf coordinate the operations of his army, turn to page 16.

         Page 16

         Wiegraf, after hearing of Marquis Elmdor’s abduction, decides to go after Gustav, a subcommander of the Death Corps, who did it. You go with him. Your trek takes you to the Dorter slums, where you meet Gustav’s fencer. "Where is the Marquis? Where are you hiding him?" Wiegraf asks the fencer.

         "I don’t know…" you hear him mumble.

         "Then where is Gustav? Where?" shouts Wiegraf, taking the fencer by the top of his vest. The fencer manages to break free, but slips on the ground and falls, then rolls over to face Wiegraf. You notice that it’s starting to rain, and hide behind a building, afraid that somebody’s going to watch.

         Wiegraf advances on the fencer and draws his sword. "Alright, this is your last chance. Where are you hiding the Marquis?"

         You hear the fencer mumble "d-desert." Wiegraf puts his sword away.

         "I see… in ‘Sand Rat Cellar.’"

         You see a group of boys approaching, motion to Wiegraf and then dart away from view. Unfortunately, you’re too late. "Wait!" you hear one of them yell.

         "****. The Hokuten," mutters Wiegraf, who then follows you. You hear the fencer and his local group of thugs start to fight with the young knights, but you and Wiegraf for the moment have more pressing matters.

         You go with Wiegraf to Sand Rat Cellar in the Zeklaus Desert, and you watch as, after a bit of Wiegraf and Gustav spurting retorts at each other (Wiegraf is quite the idealist, Gustav is more pragmatic if not a plain and simple bandit), the two go at it. The exchange is very short, Wiegraf impales Gustav in less than five seconds.

         Suddenly the door opens, and three cadets, dressed as Hokuten Knights, barge in. You hide behind a pillar, hoping that they don’t see you (and they don’t). Wiegraf, however, is out in the open, and they spot him easily. What follows is a hard ball negotiation match, after which Wiegraf manages to avoid fighting them by letting them have the Marquis (his ideas anyway), letting him go (they never do take notice of you). You take in the images of the three boys. One of them, who appears to be their leader, bears a strong resemblance to Ramza Beoulve. A second looks similarly like Delita Hyral. You have absolutely no idea who the third one is, but he seems the most volatile and contemptuous of the three.

         After that, you and Wiegraf head back for the windmill base on Favoham. He also thinks that the blond boy with the pony-tail is indeed Ramza, but he’s not sure of either of the others. You tell him that if the cadet is Ramza, then the dark-haired one is almost certainly Delita, and you explain who he is. The third fellow may not even come from around here — his clothing looks as though he is from Limberry. On your way back, Wiegraf explains that he thinks that Dycedarg arranged for this kidnapping. You have trouble imagining why.

         Turn to page 13.

         Page 17

         "I can’t join your revolution. I have made an oath of loyalty so long as there is any justice in the Royal Family whatsoever. I’ll tell you what I can do, however. I have a somewhat respected standing in the Galbados Church. I could try to bring religion down onto your side, after all, that the peasantry should be the slaves of the nobles cannot be the Will of Heaven. I shall go to the royal family and try to sort out this mess diplomatically. Just try to keep your ‘Death Corps’ from killing too many innocent civilians, or it won’t matter what I say."

         Wiegraf turns to face you again. He opens his mouth as if he is going to speak, then shakes his head. "Good luck, Agrias," he says. "I have a feeling that you’re going to need it."

         With that, you depart and head south to Gariland. You see large groups of disgruntled peasant men and women along the way, armed with whatever they still had from their days in the war. Some of them question you, others leave you alone. Some watch you go by, but don’t say anything. You have the feeling that they recognize you as somebody who has some form of special permission, seeing that you come from Favoham. You have a note in your satchel from Wiegraf that explains that you are to be left alone, but you doubt that it will help you much — most of the soldiers are probably illiterate.

         When you get to Gariland, you see an old man coughing and hacking in the street and a group of thugs behind him waiting for him to collapse fromhis illness so they can take whatever goods he has. You consider telling them t o lay off, but you realize that these thugs look about as pitiful as the man they are stalking. You watch one of them collapse out of hunger and the others cluster around him grabbing things. This is too much for you to bear. "Halt, all of you. Leave him alone. Go to the chapel if you can’t find food!" One of the thieves turns around and charges you with his knife. He’s extremely clumsy from want of nourishment, and consequently you overpower him in both strength and agility. You grab his knife hand, pry his weapon loose, then draw your own sword. "You’re under arrest for attempted murder!" You take him to the local sheriff’s office, and they tell you that he’ll be strung up in the morning. You would protest this kind of punishment if he were simply a thief, but he tried to kill you. You are going to have to do something, and soon.

         You could go to Igros and try to argue with Prince Larg again, this time threatening to bring the church in, or you could go to the capital of Ivalice, maybe get some help from Cardinal Draclau, but that would take more time, and by then Wiegraf’s rebellion might be crushed, and your efforts would be in vain. If you decide to go to Igros and do what you can, turn to page 13. If instead you go directly to the king, turn to page 14.

Page 18

         "A rumor about political infighting, eh?" These words come from General Balbanes in the morning. "I don’t know if these rumors are true, but there are some floating around. One man was in talking about it just yesterday. Ramza and Delita came to me to ask if there was any truth to these rumors last night. As you know, the king has a rather sickly constitution, and although the queen is expecting a child, even if the child is a boy, he is far too young should the king’s health fail." You ask Balbanes about Ovelia, but he tells you than nobody save the adopted princess’ homeland would support her. "And then, of course, there’s Ruvelia herself, but the Parliament might want her removed for fear of a tyrannical rule…"

         "That leaves Larg and Goltana," you say. "And both have been known to be capable generals."

         "Precisely," adds Balbanes. "That’s the fear anyhow. And if the situation is dire, it might be as important to us to quell it as to win the war with Ordalia. If a civil war erupts before peace is negotiated with Ordalia, Ivalice will be easily conquered. If a civil war erupts later… then obviously there simply will be no peace." Balbanes stands still, listening. "Ramza stop eavesdropping!" You hear a patter of running footsteps in an adjacent room. "I knew he was there," remarks Balbanes. "Anyhow, if you think that this needs looking into, I don’t have any knights on domestic patrol. But beware! If you decide to investigate anybody, and the threat is real, this will probably be even more dangerous than the front itself. On the other hand, if the threat isn’t real, then you’ll be just wasting your time. You decide." You silently decide to stay — You see that this war can’t last too much longer, and you have never trusted some of the high officials in Ivalice.

         Since Larg lives in Igros, you decide to investigate him first. That way, if nothing is wrong internally, or if the situation at Zeakden gets truly bad, you can go to the front to help out. You head for the palace within Igros. Portraits of the White Lion decorate the walls, and high officials talk jovially in the halls. You decide to wear a long dress over your armor, so that you will not be conspicuous and fit in with the other ladies of the palace. And if somebody tries to assassinate you, you’re armed under your outer clothing.

         You find Larg talking with another official in one of the upper halls and slip into a ballroom so you can watch him and talk with some of the ot her high nobles. Some of them are discussing the problems of a revolt, but while you listen you hear nothing of Larg being treacherous. Goltana maybe, but not Larg. It seems that they’re really more interested in a possible peasant revolt. A boy about four years younger than you speaks about how nobody should give the peasants any slack whatsoever. He is promptly told "Quiet, Algus! This is serious." You hope that boy changes his attitude soon — some of what he speaks is heresy.

         After a day’s searching, you retreat to a room that you managed to acquire in an inconspicuous location (You don’t want to be associated with Balbanes. If somebody comes after you, you don’t want to endanger him or his family). You sit down and think carefully about what you found out. There is no direct talk of Larg revolting in Igros Palace, so if Larg is plotting something, it is a well-kept secret. There is some worry about Goltana, but very little (one reference). More likely it seems that the peasants are going to be exploited. Will this spark the Knights of Death to revolt? That will sure tear your loyalties if it happens. There is one other thing. Ovelia, the adopted daughter of the king, lives in a monastery to the south of Dorter, about twenty-five leagues southeast of Igros. If a struggle for succession does break out, she is an obvious target for assassination (and so is the queen). She is five years younger than you — old enough for a warlord to worry about for politics, but too young to do much of anything.

         What will you do? If you decide to protect Ovelia, turn to page 8. If you think that Larg (or perhaps Goltana) need more attention, turn to page 9.

         Page 19

         The fortress of southern Mandalia is not a pretty sight. It was a small keep during the Fifty Years’ War, but it was ruined during an Ordalian raid. Now the roof is mostly gone, save for an arch that was once the gateway. Most of the back of the fort has sunken into the sea, though it is still possible to set up tents in back of the fort. Miluda also comes to the southern fort, and you continuously plot the strategies on Mandalia. You overhear of a location in Igros where some extremely dark rituals are supposed to be being practiced, but you mainly concentrate on the matters at hand. For the most part you are successful, until one day after a group of thieves, probably associated with the Death Corps somehow sneak into Gariland and get massacred by the Gariland cadets.

         It seems then that the cadets come out looking for you. The day Gustav, one of the captains, manages to capture one of Ivalice’s most despotic governors, Marquis Elmdor, the cadets manage to repel the last of the attack and save one of the young knights. You track them to Igros, but then wonder if you really want to go into the city. You then remember of these bizarre rituals that Dycedarg is supposedly carrying out in Igros. Should you see if there is any truth?

         If you go into Igros, turn to page 31. If you go tell Wiegraf that there are some problems with Elmdor, turn to page 16.

         Page 20

         "I am going to have a talk with this dark knight. I hope that I can convince him to change," you tell Alicia and Lavian. They both wish you luck, and prepare to take Ovelia elsewhere in case you fail.

         You find Gafgarion talking to Ramza outside the gates of the monastery. Gafgarion mentions something about Ramza trying to run from his past. You now have little doubt that he is, in fact, Ramza Beoulve, but you are not going to press him on that. He ran from his brothers because they are disgraceful, and you don’t really blame him. You listen as they talk. Gafgarion seems to have some respect for the boy — the mercenary knight is very cynical, but he seems to want to bring up the boy as though he is an apprentice of sorts. It is almost as though Gafgarion actually would like to be a noble warrior, but can’t. Perhaps you’re in luck.

         You confront Gafgarion as he stops talking with Ramza and comes back to the Monastery to check on events. "Gafgarion, the other knights and I were wondering what drives you to fight for money. I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but overhear the end of your conversation with Ramza, and it seems that you have been cynicized somehow…"

         "Money pays for food," grunts Gafgarion.

         "But… fighting for it? Do we really have to kill one another simply to eat?" you say.

"It’s more than that," says Gafgarion to you. It seems almost like he has been wanting to say this for some time. "People in this world… they just end up getting used. That’s the way the world is. A life is worth the amount of money that would pay to end it. And unless you’re at the very top, you can’t do anything. You’re the pawn of whomever pays you."

         "That’s horrible. Why do you put up with it?"

         "It is horrible. But I don’t have any choice. Neither do you, nor anybody else. Unless you can get to the top, you are just going to end up being used, so you’re better off dead!" replies Gafgarion.

         "But…!" you stammer. "Why don’t you fight to change it? Either way, you win. If you succeed, the world doesn’t work so awfully anymore. If you fail, then you die and don’t get used anymore."

         Gafgarion leans against the wall. He seems lost in thought. "How old are you, Agrias?" he asks. You tell him: twenty-one. "You are surprisingly wise for your age," he says.

         "I would more likely call myself ‘idealistic,’" you respond.

         "Very well. But we still need money to pay for food and lodging and equipment. I can’t stop being a mercenary," says Gafgarion. You silently nod. "But thank you, Agrias. You have given me something to strive for." You are relieved. You think you can reward him with the extra gil.

         Turn to page 24.

         Page 21

         Fort Zeakden is too dangerous. The Hokuten will be attacking there and they will probably kill you and Teta whether or not you are innocent. Therefore, you have to go to Igros by route of Mandalia Plains instead. You set out across the plains at dusk, with sullen clouds hanging in the sky. You pull out a long cloth cloak, and you and Teta huddle underneath it as the rain begins to splatter down. Still, it’s cold. You feel your passenger huddle against your back trying to keep warm, but you simply keep moving. The longer you linger in Mandalia, the more likely it is that you are going to be jumped by monsters.

         Mandalia is often called the ‘beast plains.’ You don’t know why; whether it is because of the beasts that live here or because of the images of tusks that the limestone boulders invoke to travelers. Whichever, Mandalia is famous for both. You pay the utmost attention, straining your eyesight to identify the pillars of limestone and steering away from them before your chocobo hits one and strands you here. You shiver against the cold and weariness. You hear a low moan behind you. "Are you alright, Miss Hyral?" you ask.

         "I’m just cold," you hear her say. You ride on through the night. Occasionally the rain seems like it’s letting up, or you even see the moon through the clouds, but the clouds always move in again and the rain intensifies. "Don’t you need sleep?" you finally hear Teta’s voice behind you after three hours or so. You don’t have a clock or watch, but you guess that it’s probably past midnight.

         "The longer we stay here, the more likely we run into the monsters that inhabit the plains. If the monsters, when we encounter them, number more than three or so and contain a large contingent of red panthers or wild chocobos, then we may never get to Igros with our lives. We have to keep going."

         The rain begins to pour. You huddle under your cloak, and pull it down to almost where you can’t see, trying to let in as little rain as possible. It doesn’t work very well; you are absolutely soaked, but it is warmer, you are sure, under your cloak than without it. Although your clothing is totally waterlogged, at least it is warmed up by your body heat.

         Suddenly you see something that you were hoping you would never see. A red panther is tracking you from the right. You steer your chocobo so that you are moving farther away from it, but it continues to follow you. About thirty minutes pass while the red panther follows you. At this point, Teta notices, but you keep going. Another fifteen minutes pass. Then you see a chocobo, a second red panther, and two goblins up ahead. You try to rapidly steer away, but the chocobo and second red panther move forward to intercept you while the slower goblins cover your back so you can’t retreat. Although you know you’re out-numbered, you draw your sword. As it becomes impossible to evade the monsters ahead, you cast Stasis Sword on the chocobo and forward panther. Hoping that you stunned them, you try to direct your chocobo to leap over the two ambushes — but only the red panther was stunned. The wild chocobo slices off one of the legs of your chocobo and sends you sprawling. The red panther that had been following you catches your dismembered steed and proceeds to finish the job, while the wild chocobo, two goblins, and other panther come after you. One of the goblins jumps you, and you slash through it, sending it to the ground, gurgling its blood. "Run!" you scream as the other red panther jumps you, knocking the sword out of your hand. To your dismay, the wild chocobo chases after Teta. She’ll never make it without you. You run and grab your sword, but before you can wield it, you feel the panther’s claws digging into your back, and you fall forward. The panther then stands on top of you, continuing to slice its claws through you. Your shriek is barely audible over the storm and your grip on your sword loosens. You feel the panther bite into your shoulder, while it’s claws continue to work upon you. Your mind quietly fazes out.

The End

         Page 22

         "So you’re loyal to the king? Very well." The messenger leaves. You’re not too thrilled with his reaction and spend the night somewhere else so that anybody looking for you can’t find you. You go back to the palace the next day and meet the king in his chamber. He looks a little bit worse today. Queen Ruvelia is already in the room. She is doing the speaking today.

         "So you propose that we compensate the Knights of Death for their fighting in the war?" she begins. "What, specifically, do they want?"

         "I believe that they want jobs and a place to live. That is their official motto, anyhow," you answer. "They also want some respect — that it should be permissible for nobles and peasants to be friends."

         King Omdoria speaks up. "(Cough) That is all? I’ll do more than that. Guard! Inform the barons that these people are to be given land to work." The king tries to get up, but can’t. "And Lady Agrias, I hereby give you the authority to knight Wiegraf. (Wheeze) And, if Larg doesn’t want to listen to you, you should try to find out if he is engaged in some sort of treachery. Dismissed." Then the king begins coughing as you hadn’t seen him yesterday. You enquire if he’s alright, and the doctor in the room looks at you. He’ll live, but only for a few days. As you leave, messengers are sent to publicize the rationalization behind this decision. Apparently Omdoria wants a place in history for doing something good even on his deathbed.

         "Your revolution is kaput. Your demands have been met," you tell Wiegraf and Miluda back at the windmill at Favoham. "And, oh yes, Wiegraf, do you swear that henceforth you will serve justice, the king, and the church?"

         "Given the turn of events, I do," is the reply.

         "On your knees," you say, drawing your sword. Miluda looks worried, but Wiegraf does so. "By the power invested upon me by the late King Omdoria of Ivalice, in response to thy courage in the Fifty Year War, I hereby dub thee Sir Wiegraf, Knight of the Holy Sword. You may rise," you say, tapping him on the shoulder. Miluda breaks out in tears she is so relieved. "In the mean time, us three have a mission. Although we found the letter in the windmill implicating Goltana, the Queen thinks the more worrisome is the one implicating Dycedarg. So we go to Igros and investigate it. As a Knight you can’t refuse anymore. Shall we be going?"

         Wiegraf whistles, and his chocobo Boco comes around the corner of the windmill. "I would help you anyway for helping me. Come on, Miluda."

         The three of you ride to Igros by chocobo, accompanied by a young archer named Misty that you pick up at the Soldier Office in Gariland. You reach the Beoulve Residence and encounter Ramza, Delita, and a third boy, whom you don’t off hand recognize. You tell Dycedarg that by order of the king he is to cease his campaign against the Death Corps, as Larg has been notified. Dycedarg listens to this, and then looks at the two friends you brought. He looks disgruntled that Wiegraf and Miluda Folles have ultimately won this battle, if only by your help. The boy that you haven’t yet met, who calls himself Algus, remarks under his breath that peasants should be property of the nobles. You strongly criticize him after you overhear this. Dycedarg looks even more askance at you for that.

         You, Wiegraf, and Miluda follow him as he retires to a room where you suspect that he is planning something. You hear him talking about something, in a somewhat hushed and very serious manner. Wiegraf mouths to you that he is talking about some sort of evil crystal power that he intends to use to take over the country. Evil crystal power? You listen closer, and it is clearly evident that he does intend to seize power in Ivalice for somebody higher, but clearly extremely evil. As he wraps up, the three of you go out into the main hall, where Misty, Alma, Teta, Zalbag, Ramza, and Delita gab happily. Before you can drag Misty off to tell her what is going on, Dycedarg comes into the main hall.

         "Alright, Lady Agrias, I cannot allow you to first make the war that I wage against rebels moot and particularly not to then come in here and conduct an investigation on me," says Dycedarg. Ramza looks at you, then at his brother.

         "Cannot allow? Cannot allow justice? The ‘Death Corps’ were fighting for equality. Why should I stand by and let thousands of perfectly good people perish if it can be simply averted?" you respond. "Your father would have done what I have done, because it is the right thing!"

         "He would, yes. But I am in charge of the Beoulve household now, so I make the decisions!" replies Dycedarg.

         "Brother?" Ramza asks.

         "Kill them!" orders Dycedarg. Several knights enter through the door to the ante chamber.

         "I will not allow my brother to ruin my father’s name!" screams Ramza, grabbing an epee off the wall. Delita sides behind him, and Zalbag says something similar. Algus pulls out a crossbow and aims for Miluda. Battle ensues.

         "Ramza do you really think that Balbanes died of old age? No! I poisoned him! I wanted to be able to wield this power that the Beoulve had. I wanted this crystal," says Dycedarg, revealing that he has a crystal in his pocket, and he draws his sword. Meanwhile you deflect Algus’ crossbow bolt that was aimed at Miluda and she lunges for him. Algus does not last long. Zalbag, Delita, and Wiegraf make short work of the knights that Dycedarg had called in. You and Ramza concentrate on Dycedarg. Dycedarg casts a spell that flings you off the stairwell that you were fighting on, while Ramza engages from the side.

         "You killed my father to take his position? You’re no Beoulve!" shouts Ramza, who parries Dycedarg's sword thrust and makes a jab of his own. You position yourself directly under Dycedarg and cast Stasis Sword on him. Misty climbs a bookshelf and shoots him. Dycedarg falls to his knees. He draws out the crystal that he had been holding, as you, Misty, Miluda, and Wiegraf surround him. The crystal begins to shine, and Dycedarg turns into one of the most horrible monsters you have ever seen. He’s hard to describe — his form is vaguely humanoid, but he seems to also have a very beast-like appearance, as if his head were that of a boar or something similar. His skin is a muddy green, and he wears an orange shirt-like garment, covered with chains.

         "You will never defeat the mighty Adramelk!" bellows the monster’s horrendous voice. You remember that Adramelk was one of the legendary Lucavi, demons that existed back in St. Ajora’s day, and were defeated by the Zodiac Braves. Adramelk lunges for Ramza, and flings him ten meters across the room, landing on top of his sister, Alma. Wiegraf hits him with Crush Punch, before he too is flung across the room. You are about to attack when Adramelk looks at you and Miluda, and begins casting something. Your eyes widen as you realize what he is charging up.

         "Run for it!" you scream, and you and Miluda dart out of the way just in time. Misty, unfortunately, tries to get in front of Adramelk to get a good shot at him. She is caught in the spell. A symbol — Sagittarius — appears over her, and an array of demonic images, each resembling a member of Lucavi, rends her and sends her to the flood, mercilessly slain.

         "What the **** was that?!" Miluda questions you.

         "That’s Zodiac, the most powerful attack spell that ever existed. A summon spell, but the only way to learn it is to be hit by it and survive, which is not an easy task! That’s the evil version of the spell — if a human learns and casts it, it summons the Zodiac heroes rather than the demons." You then run towards Adramelk and hit him with a very solid Stasis Sword. He snorts, but then you hear another horrible roar behind you. Another demon, Velius it would appear, is standing behind Wiegraf, who is still trying to recover from being thrown. Velius could easily pounce on Wiegraf, but his eyes are fixed on you.

         "Curse you, Agrias! If it weren’t for your use of religious clout for social justice, I would have gotten control of Wiegraf here! And now look, you’re defeating Adramelk! I ought to (censored. Velius’ description of how he would like to kill Agrias is so graphic that to reproduce it here would be to make this an X-rated story)."

         "Let’s get out of here while we still have the chance!" Miluda whispers urgently, knowing that the group of you could never defeat two Zodiac demons at once. You, Miluda, Wiegraf, Zalbag, Ramza, Delita, Alma, and Teta run for the door, chased by blasts of hellfire as you run that scorch the bodies of the knights that Dycedarg had summoned. Out of the door, Zalbag gets enough chocobos for all of you to ride, and you cut the rest loose so that you will be difficult to chase. You very nearly get hit by Dark Holy in the process, but you do make it. Alas for poor Misty!

         As the eight of you ride across Mandalia plains, going as fast as you can, you debate what do next. "I wonder how many other prominent officials are really those demons. I mean, it could be anybody!" says Zalbag.

         "They’ll all be people who look good on the outside, but have secret dark sides. They’ll all command prestigious positions, and will be physically vigorous," you say.

         "That would be Marquis Elmdor," says Wiegraf.

         "And Cardinal Draclau," adds Alma. You shiver. "What about Altima [the leader of Lucavi]? Somebody has to be leading these demons. Who could Altima impersonate?"

         Miluda thinks carefully. "I don’t suppose it could be St. Ajora?"

         You shiver violently. "No… it couldn’t be… could it?"

         To find your fate, play the battles of Final Fantasy Tactics, but remember that the story is different. Go to the soldier mediation place to get extra needed characters: Knights with white magic (particularly Holy) and magic attack up will make for Wiegraf and Delita. Do the same for Agrias in Chapter 1, but use the real her for chapter 2 onward. Miluda is, a knight. Make Zalbag a samurai. Ovelia makes a good priest, and so does Alma. Teta isn’t much of a fighter, so just pretend you have her tagging along. You can try an infinite number of times in fights with Miluda or Wiegraf (they’re your friends, not your enemies, so these battles don’t occur). If Agrias crystallizes, it’s game over (as if it were Ramza). If you lose, Ivalice falls to the Lucavi, but if you win, the ending is MUCH happier (neither Delita nor Wiegraf ever goes bad)!

The End

         Page 23

         "Let’s get out of Orbonne and head for Dorter," you say. Alicia and Lavian agree. You check this with Ovelia, and she says that it is all right with her. She might be a little worried about the mercenaries as well. You tell Simon that he is to make it appear as though you are simply hold up in a more secluded part of the monastery, while you leave. The four of you put on brown cloth cloaks and slip into the night. The road to Dorter runs underneath a canopy of forest, but is not itself dangerous. For some reason, the monsters try to stay away from Orbonne Monastery. You are glad to get away, actually. Every second in the church you felt a sense of foreboding and of distrust. Is there something wrong with the place? Anyhow, you’re away from it, now.

         You reach Dorter by early morning. You continuously look behind you to see if you are being followed, and it does not appear as though you are. You grab a small cottage in the north of the city — not the slums, but not the wealthy district either. You don’t want to attract undue attention, as you look odd enough already: four girls aged between sixteen and twenty-two. Once inside the privacy cottage, you remove your brown cloaks, and try to set up a temporary shelter. You are glad that none of you wear the variety of armor that clanks and rattles as you move.

         Days pass. You suspect that sooner or later your absence from the Monastery is going to be noticed, and scouts are going to come looking for you, but you hope that they won’t be able to find you. Alicia and Lavian leave in the morning to collect some food in the local market. You tell Ovelia that hiding here means probably not getting the large quantities of meat that she is used to. She accepts this; she apparently hasn’t been fed like most nobles. You look out through a crack in the door, but you see nothing extraordinary. Seeing that, you go back to sitting on the floor, and wait. Sooner or later you’re going to have to find another hiding spot. You also fear for Simon.

         You tell Ovelia that when Alicia and Lavian get back, you want to check at the monastery to see if anything is amiss. You look out the cracks through the door, and you see Gafgarion and several knights with the White Lion emblem approaching! "Get to the roof! They’re coming!" you hiss to Ovelia. You follow her up the stairs, grabbing your sword along the way — not that you will be able to do much; you’re out of your armor as well as out-numbered five to one. Even if Ovelia casts Magic Barrier on you, reraise won’t be able to undo the massive damage that being struck without armor. When you get to the roof, there is nowhere to leap to! "Jump into the alley — or something. I’ll try to hold them off as long as I can!" you say. But apparently more knights have surrounded the cottage. There are at least a dozen of them. There’s no escape.

         Only a minute or so later, Gafgarion drags Ovelia from the cottage. Alicia and Lavian, who return only a few seconds too late, are cut down where they stand by Gafgarion’s other knights. The scarlet stain of your blood on Gafgarion’s sword coats over the older stain left a few hours before by Ramza, who found out Gafgarion’s plan and tried in vain to stop it.

The End

         Page 24

         "I think that we should pay Gafgarion with what else we have," you tell Alicia and Lavian.

         Suddenly a monk comes with a message from the north: the Parliament has ousted Prince Larg as guardian of the late King Omdoria’s son Orinas, appointing instead Prince Goltana. "This has civil war written all over it," you tell Alicia and Lavian.

         "What about Ovelia?" asks Alicia.

         "Goltana will likely want her removed so that Larg can’t claim her as the rightful heir to the throne," you say.

         "I suggest that we move. Larg and Goltana both may think that this situation will be simpler with Ovelia dead," says Lavian.

         "Go to Dorter and get a caravan to take us out. I don’t know where we can go… Lionel, maybe," you say. Lavian departs and goes to the city to arrange a traveling escort.

         Two days pass while Lavian goes to Dorter and back. When she returns, a heavy storm has come over this region, but she does bring another guard captain with her. This other captain, about twenty six, is a dedicated young woman who aspires herself to become a holy knight, but does not yet make the cut. Meanwhile you stand behind Ovelia who is quietly praying in front of the altar in the monastery. You don’t catch what she is saying, but you gather that she is afraid and dismayed. At last you say "Princess Ovelia, let’s go."

         "Just a moment, Agrias," she answers.

         "The guards have already arrived," you tell her.

         Simon steps forward. "Princess, please don’t give Agrias any trouble. Please hurry."

         Gafgarion enters, followed by Rad and Ramza. "What’s going on? It’s been nearly an hour!"

         You turn around. "Don’t be rude to the princess, Gafgarion.

         "Is this going to be all right? This is an urgent issue for us."

         You are dismayed at Gafgarion’s crassness. "So there are rude knaves even among the Hokuten?" you mutter.

         "I’m being more than kind to the Guard Captains here. Besides, we’re mercenaries hired by the Hokuten. I’m not obliged to show any respect to you."

         Not show respect for a holy knight? "What! How dare you?" you involuntarily exclaim.

         "Enough. Let’s go," says Ovelia’s voice behind you. Simon says something to her which you don’t catch, and she replies. Suddenly the new guard captain opens the door, clutching her shoulder, and limps in. Simon rushes to her side.

         "Lady Agrias! The enemy!" she cries.

         "Prince Goltana’s men?" exclaims Simon. You break into a partial run, drawing your sword as you exit the door.

         The rain outside pours down as lightning flashes in the sky. Standing in front of you, Alicia, and Lavian are a knight, three archers, and a chemist. All but the knight are undecorated, but he wears the crest of the Black Lion, Goltana’s insignia. "The crest of the Black Lion?" you exclaim. "What’s wrong with Prince Goltana? He’s such an idiot! Does he want to start a war?"

         The knight leading responds. "Knave! There’s no point in resisting. Just give us the Princess, or that beautiful face of yours will be scarred forever!" He waves his sword at you. At this moment, Gafgarion, then Rad and Ramza, come out of the door behind you.

         "Fools! Only idiots attack head-on!" he roars. You tell him to leave it to you, but he responds "We can’t make money that way!" He turns to his companions. "Rad, Ramza, follow me! Kill them all! Leave no survivors!"

         "Nonsense! We don’t need to kill them! That’s just what Goltana wants us to do! Just let them go!" you reply. The five advance.

         "That’s impossible," replies Gafgarion, pointing at the advancing soldiers. He’s right; they are intent on fighting, even in the face of impossible odds. And they are dangerous enough that if you let them, they will kill you. You regretfully ready your sword. This is going to be a massacre.

         If you convinced Gafgarion to change values on page 20, turn to page 32. If not, play Final Fantasy Tactics to find out what happens.

The End

Page 25

         "Very good," says the messenger. "You may go now." You shrug your shoulders and head out into the city. You shrug your shoulders and walk out into the city. The imperial capital is a brussling city built mainly for purposes of government, but also for trade. It is located near the center of Ivalice, and is actually only a few leagues south of the place you were born. You go to the tavern you had pre-arranged and rest for the night. You return to the palace the next day.

         You are greeted by another messenger, and told that the Queen would like to speak with you before you meet her husband again. You follow the messenger to a room where you are joined by guards that are supposed to escort you to the Queen’s chamber. The messenger opens a door for you, and you walk in, but one of the guards suddenly clubs you when you try — or at least, that’s what you gather happened. You never actually know what hit you.

         You return to your senses in some sort of prison in a tower. As if on cue, a man escorted by more guards enters just as you are waking up. You recognize him as Dycedarg Beoulve. "Excuse me for not being polite," he says. "But loyalty to justice is not loyalty to us."

         "Are you the one behind this? Does the King know about this?" you exclaim.

         "No, neither would we want him to. Imprisoning a holy knight is a major crime, and although the king is sickly, he might cause problems if he wanted to. But if we can make it so that we can legitimately crush the ‘Death Corps’ ourselves, then we can take over when the king dies of his illness." Dycedarg rests on his staff. Your initial reaction is to draw your sword and blast the guy with magic, but of course you’ve been disarmed. Why would the son of Balbanes be acting this way? "So, if we silence the diplomat, we might precipitate a civil war!"

         "How do you plan to get away with this? The church keeps track of its holy knights you know. My disappearance will not go unnoticed. And it is the high priest who really holds the power in this kingdom. Do you really think that you can oppose the church?" you say hoping to scare Dycedarg.

         "In case you didn’t know, the church is corrupt. They know about your situation and helped arrange it." You gasp. At this moment, a man wearing a very dark brown suit of armor enters. His horned helmet he carries in his hand, and you can see his face — he is an elderly veteran of war, in his fifties, you would say. The aura of cold and cynicism about him seems to indicate that he is a dark knight, an exceptionally rare type of warrior that believes fully in the supernatural but has denies the existence of God. Dycedarg greets him, motions to you, and then leaves, taking his entourage of guards with him.

         The man looks at you, evidently studying you. "Miss Oaks?" he says. You look up at him instinctively. They even your name… "Allow me to introduce myself," says the knight. "My name is Gaff Gafgarion, a mercenary."

         "You!" you exclaim. You remember hearing about this man and witnessing his brutal fighting style in the Fifty Year War. "So you can’t be a knight, so you decide to be a mercenary?"

         "It pays the bills, and speaking of which, I have been hired to make sure that that young, spirited voice of yours is never heard again by anyone of the outside world," he responds. "Now, I am to understand that you are a rather intelligent girl, no?" He pauses. "So I thought that we could let you just imagine whatever silencing method we are going to use. Just be sure of this: I’m sure that Dycedarg isn’t going to go for a painless method. It may well be quick and unceremonious, but you will feel it." With that, he leaves. You turn and look out of the window. It looks a courtyard inside a walled encampment outside of the main city. Nobody would hear you if you tried shouting. You wonder what Gafgarion plans to do to you. He can’t burn you as a heretic — that would not be possible to do to a holy knight without starting a popular uprising. You have to escape, but you are not going to squeeze your body through the metal grid of this window, and the lock on your cell doesn’t look pickable. You sadly realize that the only out of this place for you is oblivion.

The End

Page 26

         You tell Teta that you are going to take her back to Igros via fort Zeakden, hoist her up onto your chocobo, and start riding. You just hope that you don’t run into any trouble somewhere along the way. You set off across Favoham Plains, looking behind you at the windmill into the distance. Teta tries to find out who you are. You tell her that you’re somebody who should not be here but is, and is concerned for her well-being. The tall grass whips by your feet as the chocobo carries the two of you onward. Teta looks back, and mutters something about hoping her brother is home. You look at her, and see that she’s understandably worried. So are you — you don’t want to encounter any monsters or other problems.

         But you do. You reach fort Zeakden and see it as the site of a battle, just as it was in the Fifty Years War. You wonder what you will do. Should you try to go around the fort, and then take the road on to Igros, or should you make the potentially dangerous trek through Mandalia Plains? You risk being pursued if you go to close, but what if you encounter monsters out on Mandalia?

         If you decide to cross Mandalia plains, turn to page 21. If you try to go around fort Zeakden, turn to page 27.

         Page 27

         You can’t go by way of Mandalia plains. The region is swarming with goblins, red panthers, and wild chocobos, of which the latter two are particularly dangerous and you can’t outrun them. You have to go close to Zeakden, no matter how perilous that may be. You try to skirt the outside of the fort and hope you don’t encounter anybody. But youdo, and they are on the side of the fort that you don’t want to go around for fear of getting too far out into the plains. The girl behind you asks "where are we going?"

         "Back to Igros, I hope. We can’t go via Mandalia Plains because we’ll get waylaid by the monsters that live there. I just hope we can work our way around this battlefield that the fort has become — again," you say as you recall the fort’s importance in the Fifty Years’ War. Your passenger looks around fearfully. You watch as several groups of knights fight it out on the snowy outskirts of the fort, and try to move around them as best you can. All of a sudden, a crossbow bolt flies over your head. "Keep your head down!" you say, and then, trying to hug the back of your chocobo as tightly as possible, you move in back of a large stack of crates, presumably Golgaros’ supply depot. You poky your head up and look around, listening for a direction in which there is little fighting. You think you hear one, and head away towards that silence. But somebody shoots another crossbow bolt, this time hitting your chocobo.

         There is a loud "Wark!" as the bird flops over, sending you and Teta sprawling. You see a young man moving toward you, and you shove the girl into a ditch so that if he tries to shoot anybody, it will be you and not her. The man is really more a boy — about 16, it appears. He wears a blue cloth suit that covers most of his body, has shortly trimmed brown hair, a vicious facial expression, and he wears the crest of Limberry. He looks like the boy that you heard in the Palace at Igros that presumably his mother identified as ‘Algus.’ You get up and draw your sword, but before you can attack him, he has his crossbow aimed strait for your heart. You’re wearing a mithril breastplate, so that might stop the bolt. For a moment, time seems to stop.

         Then it happens in a flash. Algus’ bolt penetrates through your armor, but gets stuck in your breastplate and does not go into you. Blocks of ice fall out of the sky and lacerate the boy, who quaffes a potion immediately. He must have spent some time studying intermediate chemistry. He readies another shot, but at such close range a crossbow is not a very effective weapon. You make a quick lunge for him and your sword goes into his abdomen and out the other side. He gags, and then looks you square in the eye. His eyes are full of conceit, hatred, and desire for revenge. It takes him a second to realize that you’ve killed him. Then his expression turns to one of despair, a desperate struggle to hold off his invitable end, and a terrible jealousy. You would give him the mercy of putting him out of his misery instead of letting him bleed to death, but every second is precious. You only hope that you can take the girl back to Igros without the benefit of a chocobo.

The End

         Page 28

         You tell the girl that you are going around the side of the windmill to see what’s happening, and if the Hokuten simply want her back, you’ll try to negotiate a truce. You both climb around the back of the seacliff and in back of the party that is assaulting the windmill. You watch as the bright flare of a Crush Punch spears a knight from out of the ground, and you hear him cry as he falls to the ground. Despite this temporary victory of Wiegraf, however, it looks as though he’s losing. At this point Teta shouts her brother’s name and he turns. The boy next to him turns, too, and Wiegraf almost takes the moment to attack. Suddenly the blond boy with a pony-tail calls a general movement in your direction. The two siblings rush forward and embrace. Wiegraf, limping slightly from his wounds, calls his remaining troops to attention — his chocobo, Boco, and one of the two female monks that guarded the entrance to the windmill. You circle around the Hokuten and stand between Wiegraf and Delita.

         At this point the blond-haired boy speaks out, "We have what who came for; we will leave now if you’ll let us!"

         "And what about my sister?" cries Wiegraf, readying his sword again.

         "Calm down!" you shout. "Before we do any more fighting, why don’t we find out just what the **** happened! First off, who are you?" you demand of the Hokuten boy who seems to be the leader.

         "I’m Ramza Beoulve. This is my friend and fellow cadet, Delita [he motions to the dark-haired boy]. We came to rescue his sister, who was kidnapped," says the blond boy.

         "Now how did Miluda die?" you interrogate. "Did you kill her, and why?"

         Ramza explains that after he, Delita, and a third by named Algus rescued Marquis Elmdor, they were charged with a mission to attack the thieves’ hideout at the ruined fortress south of Mandalia. During the fight, they encountered a young woman named Miluda, although they did not know what her last name was. During the fight, Algus got into a dispute with Miluda, and he claimed that peasants were literally the farm animals of the nobles. Ramza then later told Algus to ‘get lost,’ after he found out that Teta had been kidnapped and he and Delita set out looking for her (apparently this Algus did not think any higher of Delita than Miluda…). He and Delita encountered Miluda again on Lenalia Plateu, but this time she was not in the slightest way willing to talk, and so they struck her down in self-defense. They tried to revive her with a phoenix feather, but it she simply wouldn’t respond.

         After you listen to this story, you remark "Yes, unfortunately that does sound somewhat like Miluda." Wiegraf nods solemnly and sheaths his sword.

         "I don’t ever want to see you again, Ramza, since you killed my sister. But… it looks like you had no choice. Go now, and we will never have to fight again," says Wiegraf.

         "I will try to convince Lord Larg to treat you better," says Ramza.

         "You are still naïve, Ramza," says Wiegraf.

         At this, Ramza and the rest of the knights leave. Wiegraf drops to his hands and knees, and you rush to his side. "What will we do, Agrias? You’ve lost your best friend and I’ve lost my sister."

         "We try to carry on," you answer. "In the meanwhile, I’m going to talk with Larg, or maybe even Ruvelia myself. I don’t want to live in a world like this… and if I can’t change it… I’ll go down trying."

The End

Page 29

This guy is going to pay out to the highest bidder. You can’t take him, particularly since Larg or Goltana are going to pay a lot more money for the Princess’ head than the Church will to keep her safe. "Well, it’s just us again," you say to Ovelia, Alicia, Lavian, and Simon. "No more mercenaries. We’ll be better off without them."

"They’ll be coming back to fight, now, you know," grunts Alicia. "Still, you probably made the best decision."

"We really ought to get out of here, then," says Lavian.

"They’ll never find us if we are right under their nose," Ovelia remarks. "Let’s go to Igros."

"That is very bold," says Simon.

"Bold — but effective. Larg will think that we went to Lesalia or Lionel or somewhere. He’ll never even look for us in Igros!" you interject. "We can disguise ourselves as you like, Your Highness."

"Brown hooded robes will be fine," says Ovelia, rising. Simon goes and get four cloaks for you, which each of you don. They’re so large that nobody will even see your boots. "Perfect! Thank you, Simon!" remarks Ovelia. You feel almost like you’re pretending to be the semi-legendary Cidfolas Orlandu (whom you studied under before Balbanes) putting the thing on.

"Let’s go," you say hastily. The three of you go out the back, not using chocobos for stealth, and head first for Dorter. On your way, you see Gafgarion, several other knights, but not Rad or Ramza, pass you, riding to Dorter. You hope they leave Simon alone. It looks like you’re getting out just in time. You whisper that the four of you should pick up your pace — you want to reach Dorter before Gafgarion comes back looking for you. You make it just barely. As you get into the main street and blend in with the commoners, you see Gafgarion and company gallop past you on their chocobos. Lavian gets drenched in mud as they gallop past. "Good thing they’re not careful in their search," you mutter. As night falls, the four of you duck into an alley. "We don’t have any rations. Should we stock up before heading for Gariland, or try to pick up supplies in Gariland? They’re still looking for us, so we shouldn’t linger here in Dorter, but if we keep going there’ll be no food and only swamp water in Sweegy Woods to sustain us. What should we do?" you ask.

"If they find us, they’ll kill us," says Alicia. "We’re badly outnumbered."

"But can we go two days without water? The swamps in Sweegy might be poisonous," retorts Lavian.

"You’re the knights. You know better how to survive in the wilderness than I do," says Ovelia. "You decide, Agrias. I can go two days without food."

If you decide to go strait to Gariland, turn to page 39. If you, Alicia, and Lavian go to get supplies first, turn to page 37.

Page 30

         Alicia and Lavian take positions fighting the knights, including their leader, on the west side. You are slightly regretful that your friends are fighting uphill. You could have done some better planning. You follow Gafgarion onto the bridge, as he prepares to cast Night Sword on Delita on the far side. The Princess scrambles up the side of the cliff, trying to get to safety. Three knights close around Delita. Gafgarion turns and sees you coming just before he is in range of Delita for a dark sword spell. He turns to you, realizing that you, not Delita, are to be his adversary. On you and Gafgarion the battle will hinge. If you beat him, you can open up an escape route for Ramza, Alicia, and Lavian across the bridge should they need one, and then you can help Delita. If you lose or take too long, both Ramza’s party and Delita are outpositioned and or outnumbered.

         You lock blades with Gafgarion. He is not as physically strong as he once was being in his fifties, but you’re no stronger (you’re not anywhere near as massive). Still, you force his sword off the edge of the bridge before he pulls it back and makes an easily parried overhead blow. You step back and cast Stasis Sword, hoping to freeze him. The spell doesn’t; he reels, then casts Night Sword back, draining some of the strength that you wounded from him out of you. You close, and strike him with your sword. He blocks your blow with his shield. He thrusts at you, and you leap backwards, still on the bridge. You see one of the knights on the far side of Gafgarion get impaled by Crush Punch. You cast another Stasis Sword, and Gafgarion another Night Sword. Although your armor could withstand one night sword, it is hard-pressed to absorb two. You take a step back, somewhat dazed; the spell hurts! You hear a cry behind you, glance back, and see Ramza go down on his face, dark crimson blood pooling underneath him. Rad, Alicia, and Lavian are already down. You turn back to Gafgarion. The wounds you inflicted on him he healed by draining you, so he’s not a bit dazed. If only you had managed to freeze him so that you couldwail on him. He steps forward and knocks your sword out of his way before gutting you. You drop to your hands and knees, looking at the scarlet stain on the bridge. There’s no way you can take an injury like this. You look up, and see a knight put his sword through Delita’s chest, and he falls onto his back. Then you fall forward onto your stomach, your arms splayed off the bridge, your cheek pressed against the hard, wet wood, your eyes pressed shut. Waves of pain surge through you. After a few seconds, you decide to take one last look around. You lift your head up, open your eyes, and see Gafgarion behead the Princess. He then walks back to you, as you turn back, go limp, and close your eyes, never to open them again. You feel your consciousness evanesce. Evanescence… what a sad, sad word. What a sad, sad fate.

The End

Page 31

You enter the building that is rumored to be the home of the evil practices. You stealthily work your way into the building, so that nobody sees you (though you do not see anybody who clearly is a guard). You finally get into the central chamber, and inside it is a structure unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It looks somewhat like a collection of the exotic mechanical devices that you hear exist in Goug. But this thing is huge! A sphere several meters in diameter sits atop a shaft, which goes down into a three meter high stack of electronic equipment. You know nothing about electronics; the arcane secrets that you are familiar with have only to do with magic. You recall that relics like these were prevalent in the ancient empire that predates Ivalice.

You walk cautiously around the huge construct, which is about twelve meters tall. Nobody is in this room. You see a brown scarf on the floor, and you walk over to it. It looks like it was dropped by someone in a hurry. You suddenly see a flash out of the corner of your eye. The sphere blasts an electrical discharge towards a metal ring strung around the ceiling. You don’t want to be in here when that thing fires up fully. You get up and start to run out, a tingling sensation spreading through your body…

You find yourself lying on a mountain trail, overlooking a technological village down below. An enormous construct is in a mountain valley to your right, steam emitted from stacks protruding from it. You look around further. The building is connected by a huge cable network to the town, and other directions that go off to the east. You realize that you have been teleported somehow, not just in space, but also in time, to some time when technology thrives. You don’t know whether it is your past or your future. You also don’t know how, if ever, you will get back. You hear a noise behind you, and you see three travelers, all about your age, but dressed radically differently. One of them is a man, who wears a tight blue shirt and dark pants, has spiky blond hair, and carries an enormous sword over his back. The second is a young woman, dark-haired, very lightly clothed, with a gray shirt and tan shorts, who looks insanely strong, and is holding a small yellow sphere. The third is also a young, dark-haired women, who wears a pink dress, carries a long metal staff. "Who is she, Tifa?" asks the man.

The woman holding the sphere says "From what I can tell with the scan materia, she’s a knight from long ago, back in the age when magic did not come from materia, before the age of technology." Well, you’re in the future.

"Let’s bring her back to Niebelheim. We can see what we can do for her there. She probably is quite lost, if she knows nothing about our high-tech society," says the other girl.

The End

Page 32

The progress of the story follows almost exactly as it does in the normal Final Fantasy Tactics up until chapter 3, with the following exceptions: First, and most obviously, Gafgarion does not betray Agrias at Zirkile Falls (Use a knight with black magic or the drain yin-yang spell if you want to play this out), and second, if Agrias dies and crystallizes, that is the end, as she is the main character here, not Ramza (and Ramza can’t dismiss her for the same reason). We return to the story as Ramza returns with Alma to Orbonne Monastery.

Because Ramza is now considered a ‘heretic,’ his sister Alma escorts him to Orbonne Monastery. They are going to have a difficult time condemning you as long as you posses Holy Sword powers, even though you were as instrumental in the arrival (and defeat) of the Lucavi Queklain as Ramza, if not more. Anyhow, the Shrine Knights of the high church are trying to collect the remaining Zodiac Stones for their nefarious purposes. So you, along with Ramza, Alma, Mustadio, Rad (now an mediator), Alicia (now a lancer), and Lavian (now a geomancer), travel to Orbonne Monastery.

You find the place in shambles. Wounded and dead priests lie all about the floor. Simon, struggling with a terrible wound, kneels on the floor overlooking some of the first floor bookshelves. He recognizes you and Alma. You hear shouting down below. Simon tells you that the church is trying to weaken Larg and Goltana. You declare that they are not priests. Alma decides to stay behind and care for Simon, while Ramza goes below. He then asks you what you will do. You don’t answer; you simply draw your sword and follow Ramza. After a bloody skirmish on the second floor with three enemy lancers, you reflect on how you spent long hours here reading a year ago now. Now all your favorite books are tainted with blood.

On the third floor, you encounter a knight leading some more soldiers. He calls himself Izlude. He orders Ramza to give him the stone, and then claims that he is trying to simply topple the evil power of Larg and Goltana. But the aura that you sense in him gives him away. He is a knight blade, a powerful knight who uses his strength for evil. You step forth and accuse him up front of his deeds, and he concentrates his attacks on you. Your holy sword skills beat him back somewhat, but the ferocity of his attack catches you off guard. Before he can smash your sword making you inoperative, you hear a gunshot, as Mustadio nails him. He snarls a retort at Ramza, then another at you, then teleports to safety. You go back up to the first floor.

The first thing that you notice is that somebody has grabbed Alma. Simon is nowhere to be found. You hear a familiar voice say "Here’s Ramza. To underestimate him would be fatal!" You are amazed to see the speaker come through the door, with several of his warriors following him.

"Wiegraf! You’re alive!" exclaims Ramza.

"Been a long time, Ramza. Glad to see you again!" he calls back, his sword ready for a fight.

"You know this guy?" you respond to Ramza.

"Agrias!? You, too! I thought you were dead!" now it is Wiegraf who is amazed. "Agrias, this twerp killed your friend, Miluda!"

"Delita killed Miluda, not Ramza, and even he had no choice!" you scream. Ramza tells Wiegraf that he has forsaken his ideals, and that Miluda would be very disappointed in him. "Ramza’s right, Wiegraf. Miluda died bravely fighting in the causes she believed in. If all you do is to embrace the power-hungry churchmen whose greed, along with that of the high nobility, forced her to revolt, then she died in vain. Now if you won’t carry on her cause, I will!"

"Two Knights of the Holy Sword will then fight to the death. It will be a sad day when our order dies forever," says Wiegraf. "The doom of a planet — Crush Punch!" You dodge just well enough that the fiery sword ripping up out of the floor does not impale you and rend your spirit from your body, but the spell still hurts.

"Is that the best you can do, Wiegraf? You haven’t learnt any new skills for two years? I’ll show you one. Absorb power in the sky and strike — Lightning Stab!" You blast Wiegraf with one of the most powerful spells in existence. Wiegraf is not so agile, and finds himself partially deafened by the thunder of the lightning blade reaching skyward. He tries to Crush Punch Ramza, but he can’t cast as well not being able to hear what he says. Ramza leaps up onto the parapet on which you and Wiegraf stand and slashes at him. Wiegraf makes a savage counterattack, wounding Ramza. A shot from Mustadio and Wiegraf reels, but his armor still absorbs the shot. Now Alicia impales him, and Wiegraf drops. After a few gasps about being one of the Zodiac Braves, the man teleports away. Wiegraf, a Zodiac Brave? Sounds unlikely, but plausible. If the Braves have returned to fight Lucavi, you wonder who else they could be.

The seven of you run out of the church looking for anybody, and find Wiegraf lying on the ground in his blood on the walkway. Wiegraf mutters something in despair. Suddenly, a blue crystal rolls out of his suit onto the floor, then rises about two meters above the ground. It begins to speak to Wiegraf in an eerie voice. Lightning flashes. "Wiegraf! Be careful! I don’t know what that stone is up to, but it might be very bad!" Wiegraf pays you no heed. He begs the stone to help him.

"I am Velius, the Devil. Your wish is granted," you hear the stone say. You gasp in horror — Velius is another member of Lucavi. Queklain wasn’t alone, and Lord knows how many others are in your world, causing problems! Sure enough, Velius appears. Ramza noisily draws his sword. Velius, who had been talking to himself, wheels around. "There’ll be plenty of time for that later!" he taunts. Then, he teleports. Simon comes back out of the church, hands Ramza a book, and collapses. You try to tend him, but he is dead. Even a phoenix down does not work.

You head for Dorter. Velius is going to be a powerful foe. And he is going to have a super-Wiegraf with perverted Holy Sword powers backing him up. What should you do? If you buy a better suit of armor for yourself to fend off Velius’ attacks, turn to page 40. If you instead buy a spear for Ramza, knowing that lancers generally do well against holy knights, turn to page 36.

Page 33

You head for Igros, but do not find the Princess along the way. You sneak into the palace of Larg to see what he is planning to do. You spend a few days fruitlessly searching before you find anything. On your way into the palace on the fifth day, you see Gafgarion coming your way, and you duck into a dark passage where he can’t see you. The dark knight goes by you without noticing you, thumbing through a large pile of gil. You, Alicia, and Lavian follow him, eventually ambushing him out in the city. The three of you grab him and wrestle him down with no trouble. You demand to know what happened. Gafgarion explains how he never did any kidnapping.

"I do not want to hear any lies. Now what happened?" you demand.

"We ran into a boy named Delita who grabbed her. Ramza turned against us at that point and tried to aid Delita. We killed the both of them, and then we brought her back here, where she is to be beheaded," says Gafgarion.

"Chains," you call to Alicia and Lavian. You string him up, gag him, and then head for the supposed execution site. When the executioner sees you coming, he dispenses with the ‘last words’ and beheads the Princess. The rest of the executioner’s day goes very badly; Lavian lops off both his arms and both his legs before you restrain her. It’s too late for a phoenix down, and it’s no use torturing people. You vow revenge on Dycedarg and Larg, preparing to make an assassination.

You’ve seen the security of Castle Igros. They don’t expect a holy knight to turn on them, definitely not to assassinate them. A holy knight would mount a pitched battle, like any chivalrous warrior. Of course, they would try to stab you in the back, but they’re not expecting you to assassinate them. The truth is that they do not understand what a holy knight really is. She, in your case, is a knight, yes, and she will normally perform as one. But, in truth, she is a warrior fighting for what she knows is right, and she can do anything that she feels is warranted. They won’t expect you to use your Holy Sword powers against them in surprise. They will only realize that you can use them under any circumstances in which you attack in richeous anger.

The only question that remains is whether your life will be brought to an end before you can escape.

The End

Page 34

         You reach the Beoulve Residence and found that, while you were in Ordalia, that General Balbanes’ health has taken a turn for the worse. You demand that Lord Dycedarg allow you into his room to see him one last time. Finally he lets you do so. Dycedarg, Alma, and Zalbag are all standing around their father’s bed. "Through swift action we were able to recover Limberry." Dycedarg looks at you and says that it appears as though the messenger to Count Lenario has returned.

Balbanes turns his head and sees you as you walk over to his bedside. "The Ordalians have agreed to peace negotiations, and we will be concluding them at Bethla Garrison."

"The long war… will finally end," wheezes Balbanes. "I am proud to have a knight such as yourself in my order."

"Thank you, your Lordship," you say, partly blushing.

At this moment you hear footsteps running in the back behind you. You automatically spin around. This reaction and alertness has saved your life more than once the past few months. You are glad to see that it is only Ramza who enters. "Father!" he cries.

"Lower your voice." Dycedarg tells him.

"Come hither, let me look at you." says Balbanes. "You start at the academy in the spring, don’t you? I recommended Delita too… I think the headmaster was a bit surprised. Treat him well; he’s a good boy. Take care of Alma."

"Yes, Father." says Ramza.

"Make a fine knight, Ramza." After saying this, Balbanes closes his eyes and loosens his grip on Ramza’s hand. Alma breaks out in tears, and you almost do, too. Quietly, you leave, and prepare to go to Bethla.

On your way through Araguay Woods, you, Harold, and Robert get waylaid by some of the monks and knights that tried to "greet" you on the north coast of Ivalice. "They’ve sure come a long way to catch us." mutters Robert.

You nail both monks with stasis sword, and the one who survived gets roasted by Robert’s fire spell. At that moment, one of the knights jumps Robert while another is occupying Harold. "You die, wizard. You Ordalians will never survive in Ivalice, and your ‘friend’ will desert you for her own good, ‘cause she’s Ivalician like me!" Those are the knight’s last words. Blood splatters on Robert’s hat and cloak as you impale the knight.

While Robert, wounded and shaken by his ordeal, scrambles away, another knight jumps you from behind. You’re just quick enough that his sword misses you, but you go sprawling from the impact of the knight’s body. You roll onto your back before you can get up, but by then the knight is standing over you, preparing to plunge his sword into your chest. There are rocks on either side of you, so you can’t roll, and your own sword and shield went flying in the impact — you’re trapped. Just then, Harold lops the head off the knight standing over you. "You saved my life! Thank you!" you manage to stutter.

"You saved my brother’s life. I was only repaying the favor." says Harold. Harold and Robert are brothers? They must be. You and the two brothers hurry to Bethla, hoping to lose any more pursuers, while you heal Robert’s arm with Cure 2.

You negotiate the treaty between Ivalice and Ordalia. It appears that neither kingdom really wanted to fight any more. The kings had forgotten what the war was even originally about.

Eight hundred years later, a historian named Alazam Durai will number you as one of the greatest figures in the history of Ivalice.

The End

         Page 35

         Heading east from Dorter you pass through Araguay woods, where you encounter a group of goblins, but no kidnappers. You do encounter kidnappers at Zirkile Falls, at the crossroute between Zoland and Bethla. Ovelia is being defended on the bridge across the river by a young man who is dressed (and equipped) as a holy knight of the Zeltennian order. On either side of the bridge, Hokuten knights, including Gafgarion, Rad, and Ramza. You shout the Princess’ name, and she looks your way. One of the knights motions to Gafgarion to ‘kill them,’ pointing to you, Alicia, and Lavian. The boy on the bridge then speaks to Gafgarion’s party — he recognizes Ramza. Ramza, in turn cries out "There must not be any more innocent victims like Teta!" it hits you. He is Ramza Beoulve, and he’s switching sides. The boy on the bridge must be Delita. You now have to decide; if you try to get up on high ground and lure Gafgarion and the other knights on the west side of the falls into a lousy position, you may lose valuable time in helping Delita on the far side of the falls; even a holy knight cannot defeat three enemies at the same time. Furthermore, Gafgarion might not fall for your trick. On the other hand, if you go across the bridge to engage the knights on the far side, or protect the Princess on the west side of the bridge, you will put yourself into an showdown with Gafgarion. If you can paralyze him by freezing him with Stasis Sword, you’ll win, but if not, he’ll drain the life out of you and undo any wounds you make on him. On top of that, while you’re occupied, Ramza, Alicia, Lavian, and Rad will be themselves fairly outnumbered, and one of the knights looks like he’s had some special training of his own. You have a split second to decide.

If you tell Alicia and Lavian to try and take the higher ground and lure the knights on the west side of the bridge into a poor position, and hope that Delita and the Princess can get up on the cliff where you can rendezvous, turn to page 41. If instead you tell Alicia and Lavian to assist Ramza while you take on Gafgarion, turn to page 30.

         Page 36

         You enter Dorter before anybody else and go into the local shop, where you spend every gil you have to buy a partisan. You are sure that it will come in useful — your party needs another lancer. Meanwhile, you encounter a strange wizard, who instructs Ramza to come to Castle Riovanes, capital of Favoham, if he is to spare Alma’s life. You don’t have time to get the new armor fitted to you that you wanted, so you buy a set of X-potions instead. You encounter the wizard, who calls himself Malak, again on the way to Riovanes. He tries to kill his own sister, whom you save from him, while the wizard tries to kill Ramza at the same time. When you get to Riovanes, you fight a ferocious battle with Malak (who teleports away when defeated, and Rafa teleports to chase him). When you defeat the castle guards, the gate opens, and a wounded knight stumbles out. "Help… Monster!" he cries weakly, then dies. It appears as though Velius is causing problems…

         You go into the castle and spread out to look for Alma and Rafa. Your trek brings you to Duke Barinten’s throne room, where young knights lie abo ut drenched in pools of their blood. You notice Izlude lying, mortally wounded leaning against a stairwell. You kneel down beside him. He tells that his father Vormav isn’t human. Vormav is another Zodiac demon?! You quickly ask Izlude for a description, but he has for the moment passed out. Though you know he can’t hear you, you tell Izlude that you are going to either avenge him or join him. He wasn’t such a bad guy after all. You get up and head out of the room, are jumped by a knight, and quickly fend him off. Why are the knights fighting you and not Lucavi? Unless they’re under mind control… An archer takes a bead on you, but you hear an explosion and the archer clutches his chest and falls. Mustadio blows the smoke from his gun.

         You round the corner, and see the castle’s great hall at the end of the passage. Ramza, spear ready, stands on your side of it; Wiegraf, standing on the higher side of the hall, opposes him, evidently wounded. You sprint to Ramza’s side, followed by Mustadio, then Alicia, Lavian, Rad, and finally Gafgarion. As you run, you see Wiegraf surround himself in a lacy blue light, and by the time you reach Ramza, Wiegraf is no longer there; Velius stands there instead. "I see you brought help, Ramza. Then, I’ll do the same." Three Archaic Demons appear behind Velius. "And, oh yes… I know you, Miss Oaks. I’ll bring a special friend to help with you!" Ramza readies his spear, and you draw your sword. A very large Ultima Demon appears on your side of Ramza, evidently Velius’ ‘special friend.’

         Ramza must have been doing a great deal of yelling in the fight with Wiegraf — he is so fast that he jumps and hits Velius before the demon has a chance to react. Velius makes the next act; he advances a few meters, and begins charging something up; Cyclops from the sound of it. He turns toward Ramza. You nod towards Lavian and then towards the Ultima Demon. All you need to do is defeat Velius and all of his cronies will go down easily. You move just out of the area of effect of the summon and hit Velius with Lightning Stab. Gafgarion drains the demon off to your side with Night Sword, and Lavian then petrifies the monster with Carve Idol. Alicia advances, and then jumps, aiming for Velius. Rad goes around a pool of water on either side of the hallway to cast something, and Mustadio shoots the foot of one of the demons on the top of the ramp. Velius’ summon strikes Ramza, and causes Ramza to drop to his knees. He pulls out an X-potion, and quaffs it. The two of the three Archaic Demons come partway down the ramp and target Ramza with some horribly perverted version of Holy. Ramza just jumps, and the spells activate while Ramza is too high, out of the attacks’ reaches. Velius begins casting Cyclops again, this time at you, and you counter with another Lightning Stab. The blast deafens Velius, and he can’t finish the spell. Gafgarion comes up beside you and casts Night Sword. Ramza impales the monster. Rad begins casting Drain on Velius from the side. Mustadio throws Ramza another potion to fully heal him, then fires his gun in his other hand. Alicia gives Velius a good solid poke. Lavian tries to carve Velius into an idol. Velius casts an ability which petrifies Rad, but Ramza impales him again, bringing down the monster. Mustadio pulls out his needle. Velius explodes in a brilliant flash of light, leaving behind the Aries Zodiac Stone. Ramza runs and picks it up, then says that he does not know where to find Alma, but Rafa will be chasing Duke Barinten up on the roof.

         You find Rafa with a sword (odd; she usually carries a rod) up on the roof, preparing to kill Barinten. Barinten pulls out a gun, and Malak, who finally realizes what is really going on, tries to save her. Barinten fires, hitting Malak in the head. He falls to the rooftop. At this moment, a young blond woman comes up behind Barinten, grabs him, and hurls him clear off the roof! A second woman appears next to the first, and Marquis Elmdor shows up on the other side of the roof, and demands the Zodiac Stone that Malak has. Rafa fishes it out, but refuses to give it up. You’re already in action — the women are Elmdor’s infamous assassins, Celia and Lede. You are going to have to be fast to save Rafa. You dash up behind her, and notice that Elmdor is already taking his strides of his own. Ramza goes and pokes Celia with his spear, and you get in position to defend Rafa. Unfortunately, Elmdor is almost already there, and you don’t have time to attack him; just get in the way. You feel Elmdor’s Muramasa katana slice through you, and you collapse to the roof, letting out a cry as you do so. You hear Rafa scurry away, but you know that your finished. You roll onto your back as Elmdor hurries to catch up with Rafa. Everything goes dark.

         You are pleasantly surprised to return to your senses and see Mustadio kneeling by your side, holding the burnt remains of a used phoenix down in one hand and an X-potion in the other. You grab the potion, gulp it down, and then are ready to return to the fray. Elmdor wasn’t expecting to have to deal with you again, and you target a holy explosion just under him. He doesn’t realize what happened until too late; your spell blasts the Marquis clean off the roof of the castle, sending him three hundred feet to join Barinten below. Celia and Lede turn toward you as this happens, and both come after you. You quickly survey the battlefield for what happened while you were out. Lavian is down, a dagger nestled very neatly between her ribs, and Gafgarion is seriously wounded by two hits from ninja swords. You hear Mustadio fire off a shot behind you and nail Lede in the heart. Ramza, whom you hadn’t seen at all, impales Celia from above. Mustadio is off to revive Lavian before it’s too late. The bodies of the two assassins evaporate, as they teleport elsewhere. How they do this mortally wounded is hard to see, but they do. Maybe they’re not human. You look over the side of the roof, and Elmdor’s body is not lying next to Barinten’s either. You turn to Rafa who sits over Malak. She sits over Malak, trying to talk him back to life. The Zodiac stone in her tunic glows brightly, and several stars of light come down from the heavens and shower the rooftop. Malak grunts. You wonder — perhaps if a person with a Zodiac stone has bad emotions like anger, vengeance, hatred, or greed, as did Draclau and Wiegraf, it summons demons, but if the emotions are love, loyalty, friendship, or duty, it revives people. This might be the general pattern of these stones.

         You find out later that you are right.

         Although there is no record of Ramza or Alma ever appearing after the end of the Lion War, the same cannot be said of whom is the heroine of the war, equal to Ramza in every respect: Agrias Oaks. Eight months after the end of the war, Agrias was seen reviving Ovelia in the same manner in which Rafa revived Malak. Afterwards, Lady Agrias became one of the leaders of history, leading a revolt that overthrew the tyrannical government of Romada north of Ivalice, and preventing a second war of succession with the end of Delita’s reign (unlike Ramza, it was impossible to condemn her as a heretic while she still had her holy sword powers). There is also evidence to suggest that although Olan never saw Ramza again, Agrias knew exactly where to find him, and kept a life long friendship with him until her death at age 65 of what seems to have been cancer. It is worth noting that Agrias, like Ramza, was one of the twelve legendary heroes that appear to oppose Lucavi. As such, we will see her again, the next time the demons show up.

-Alazam Durai,

History of the Lion War,

Shinra Publishing Corporation, Midgar, 1998

The End

         Page 37

         You return with several jugs of water, and a bag full of dried fruit and cheese, only to find that the Princess isn’t there. You, Alicia, and Lavian, look around. You find the Princess’ scarf on the ground. "****!" you exclaim. Somebody came in and grabbed her while we were gathering supplies. Worse, we have no idea who did it."

         "It could be anybody," says Lavian.

         "Well, let’s see… we were worried a great deal about Goltana. Whomever took her may have gone to Zeltennia, and we should follow," says Alicia.

         "Yeah, but Gafgarion and his crew were working for Larg, and they were after us as well," you say.

         "Do you think that Gafgarion would come after us to make sure we don’t follow?" asks Lavian.

         "I don’t know. He might. The thing is that Goltana would probably do the same. As a holy knight, I’m dangerous, and everybody in Ivalice knows it," you reply.

         "I vote we look for the Princess at Bethla, and then Zeltennia," says Lavian.

         "I think it more likely that it’s Larg that grabbed her," says Alicia.

         If you agree with Lavian, turn to page 35. If you agree with Alicia, turn to page 33.

Page 38

         You decide to let Gafgarion come to Orbonne. You take Alicia and Lavian and try to guard Ovelia more closely. The princess asks you why you seem more protective now, and you tell her that you think Gafgarion might be up to no good. You wonder what could be done to neutralize the Gafgarion threat, but keep Ramza and Rad to help. Should you tell Rad and Ramza what you are thinking? You talk with the lead priest taking care of Ovelia, Simon, about what you want to try. Simon agrees that Gafgarion looks somewhat untrustworthy; however, the old priest does not think that you should try to dismiss Gafgarion. You draw a closer council with Alicia, and Lavian.

         "How much extra gil do we have?" asks Alicia.

         "We have maybe eight thousand, maybe nine," answers Lavian.

         "Eight thousand gil! That’s enough to plate a warrior in pure mithril!" you exclaim. "But Ovelia is worth more than a single knight in the political game. I would not be surprised if the price for her head is thirty thousand gil!" Alicia nods silently.

         Lavian looks around. "We could pay a little extra to Gafgarion. Do you suppose that Rad and Ramza will get any of it?"

         "Somehow Gafgarion seems to have some respect for those two as if they were his sons," says Alicia.

         "We could try to convince Gafgarion to be less money-oriented. Or we could try to hide in Dorter, leaving Orbonne as a decoy," you say.

         "Gee… do you think an enemy might see through that?" asks Alicia. You shake your head.

         "We could try to convince Gafgarion to see the light…" suggests Lavian halfheartedly.

         "That might actually be a good idea. Do you detect an aura of cynicism about the man? It might be possible to make him an idealist," you say.

         "So what are we going to do?" asks Alicia. You pause for a moment.

         If you decide to head for Dorter, taking Ovelia with you, turn to page 23. If you decide to placate the mercenaries to keep them loyal, turn to page 24. If you try to get their leader to change his ideology, turn to page 20.

         Page 39

         The four of you do not encounter any monsters in Sweegy woods, and you find a plant living there the sap of which is so dilute that you can use it for water. The rest of the trip to Igros is also uneventful, and you manage to get a cottage in the city. "They’ll stop looking for us after a few weeks. If Larg and Goltana really want to start a war, they’ll get on with it by then. They are somewhat impatient," you tell your companions. "And food is a good deal cheaper than potions or equipment. The only problem is that those among us that are accustomed to living in luxury won’t be able to."

         You wait a few days and then hear about some dark rituals that Dycedarg is supposedly engaged in. You remember that he was one of the people that you were worried about back during the war. You decide to go investigate what is going on in the area of Igros that you here Dycedarg is conducting these practices.

         Turn to page 31.

Page 40

         When you head back to Dorter, you encounter a strange wizard, who instructs Ramza to come to Castle Riovanes, capital of Favoham, if he is to spare Alma’s life. You don’t have time to get the new armor fitted to you that you wanted, so you buy a set of X-potions instead. You encounter the wizard, who calls himself Malak, again on the way to Riovanes. He tries to kill his own sister, whom you save from him, while the wizard tries to kill Ramza at the same time. When you get to Riovanes, you fight a ferocious battle with Malak (who teleports away when defeated, and Rafa teleports to chase him). When you defeat the castle guards, the gate opens, and a wounded knight stumbles out. "Help… Monster!" he cries weakly, then dies. It appears as though Velius is causing problems…

         You go into the castle and spread out to look for Alma and Rafa. Your trek brings you to Duke Barinten’s throne room, where young knights lie about drenched in pools of their blood. You notice Izlude lying, mortally wounded leaning against a stairwell. You kneel down beside him. He tells that his father Vormav isn’t human. Vormav is another Zodiac demon?! You quickly ask Izlude for a description, but he has for the moment passed out. Though you know he can’t hear you, you tell Izlude that you are going to either avenge him or join him. He wasn’t such a bad guy after all. You get up and head out of the room, are jumped by a knight, and quickly fend him off. Why are the knights fighting you and not Lucavi? Unless they’re under mind control… An archer takes a bead on you, but you hear an explosion and the archer clutches his chest and falls. Mustadio blows the smoke from his gun.

         Accompanied by everyone except Ramza, you head into a sort of high ante room, with water on either side of a bridge. On that bridge, Wiegraf stands triumphantly over the body of your friend. You wish you had bought that spear. Wiegraf speaks in a malicious, gloating voice. "Now that I have Velius’ power, I have Lightning Stab, too, Agrias. Soon you will join Ramza and Miluda."

         "And I know better spells yet. But… you’re not Wiegraf. You’re only Velius in human form!" you cry. "Heaven’s wish to destroy all minds — Holy Explosion!" Wiegraf reels. Gafgarion drains him. Lavian hits him with carve model. Alicia impales him from above. Wiegraf disappears. "Now where did he go?" you say exasperatedly. Mustadio looks at you depressed… It’s too late for Ramza. Then Wiegraf appears at the top of the bridge at the far side of the room. He glows, and is replaced by Velius.

         "Sorry to keep you waiting," he sneers. "You have some help, Agrias. So do I." Three Archaic Demons appear. This battle is going to be a good deal harder.

         Velius lunges forward, and begins charging up a summon spell. You dash out of the way and cast another holy explosion, this time on Velius. Gafgarion casts a night sword on one of the Archaic Demons. Alicia and Lavian come forward and deliver two attacks on Velius. Mustadio gets his potions and phoenix downs ready. Now it is the demons’ turn. Velius summons a huge cyclops, which brings down Gafgarionwith its frozen blades of air. Mustadio is ready with a phoenix down, but more attacks follow. Two castings of Dark Holy from the Archaic Demons kill Alicia and Lavian. Rad dashes forward and kills the already wounded Archaic Demon with his stick, but he is brought down by the other two. Velius charges forward gracelessly at Mustadio as he tries to revive Gafgarion. You get in between and use Velius’ forward momentum to put your sword through his heart. Unfortunately, even that doesn’t kill him. Velius simply laughs. Velius’ counterattack mangles your shield and your sword. You retire to the sides and pull out the extra sword you kept for emergencies. The two Archaic Demons cast another dark spell on Gafgarion and Mustadio, neither of which will have a chance to react before the spells cast. You make another slash at Velius, but he simply bats your swordarm aside. Then he’s on you. Your new armor does nothing against his unnatural strength. The awful pain of the demon’s claws slicing through you is the last sensation you ever know.

The End

         Page 41

         You guard Alicia and Lavian as they make their way up the side of the cliff. Ramza and Rad follow, while you fend off the knights on the level with you. Then you try to climb up an embankment; Ramza grabs you and hoists you onto the slope, while Alicia cuts down a knight that tries to come up. The two on the far side of the falls see what you are doing and begin to do the same. You see an enemy knight go down by a Crush Punch. Gafgarion gets too close underneath you, and you Stasis Sword him, freezing him solid. You have the advantage now; you, Alicia, and Lavian leap off the embankment and slash down the remaining knights. Rad and Ramza join Delita on the far side of the bridge. Gafgarion, his cocoon of ice shattered, teleports away.

         The Princess comes around the cliff and gets behind you. "You’re Delita Hyral, yes?" you address the boy. "Why have you switched from Gallione to Zeltennia?"

         "I had to," he says, on the defensive. "Gafgarion would have found her in Dorter."

         "And how long would that have taken?" you reply.

         "A day, no more. He’s not stupid."

         "And neither were we. We were just getting supplies to go to Igros," Alicia chips in.

         "Igros?! With Larg and Dycedarg in the city with you?"

         "They’d never have seen us right under their noses like that." You then question him "You seem to have some other fear of Igros." Delita looks at you. Ramza looks disturbed.

         "How do you know me? Do you know my past? Answer me that first," he says.

         "I was one of Balbanes’ students. His last," you say, trailing off. "I’m Agrias Oaks. You might remember me from back in the Fifty Year War. I’m sure that I visited you at least once." Delita shakes his head. He remembers you now. He explains the fate of his sister a year ago. How he wanted to save her, but he couldn’t. The guy who killed her, Algus, he believed that Delita, as a peasant, could do nothing of worth. So Delita decided to leave, and become a holy knight. Maybe he could get some political power someday to show Algus. To avenge his sister. As you listen to Delita’s story, you pity the boy (though you pity Teta more). "So that’s who died in Dycedarg’s plot! Sir Hyral, as I guess that is your title now, Algus isn’t going to be watching. You say you killed him. He’s not there anymore. If you want to make something of yourself, perhaps you should avenge yourself on Dycedarg. If we can find enough evidence to back ourselves up, which shouldn’t be too hard, we can nail him for what he deserves!"

         "What should I do?" asks Ovelia behind you.

         "As a Princess, you are free to do as you like, but I would suggest that you hide in Igros. Gafgarion is going to tell Larg that you’re going this way, probably to Lenalia. If we go to Igros as we planned, we should really throw them off. You can take your throne when the war is over," you tell her. You turn back to Delita. "In the mean time, we can see that this war ends quickly while avenging Teta at the same time. As for the inferiority that Algus accused you of, he knew nothing. Nobles and peasants have different roles, but they’re not intrinsically different. Nobles protect the peasants from harm. Peasants feed the nobles in exchange. In becoming a holy knight, you have switched roles. Now Balbanes is dead, but he would have said the same thing. As holy knights, it is our duty to uphold this ideal. Agreed?"

         "But… I’ve already broken it," says Delita. He then goes on to describe the destruction of the Death Corps: Algus’ telling Miluda the same thing that he told Delita, Miluda becoming totally unforgiving because of it, and being so genocidal that only her death could stop her. You faint.

         When you awaken, you see Ramza and Ovelia kneeling over you, and Alicia and Lavian still keeping Delita away. You get up. "Miluda… Miluda was my best friend! We fought together in the Fifty Year War, us and her brother Wiegraf!" Delita recoils. "No, it wasn’t your fault. It was Algus’ fault. It was Dycedarg’s fault!" you growl. "Come on. Now this is personal!"

During your adventure in Igros, you discover that the whole of Ivalice has a corrupt government, and the church is if anything even worse. Your convincing Delita to actually join you rejuvenates his friendship with Ramza (who you learn for certain is really Balbanes’ son, after all), and consequently Delita never actually ‘uses’ (manipulates) anybody. Now you are in the capital city of Lesalia, preparing to overthrow the existing government. You, followed by Ramza and Delita, run down the hall towards the room of Dycedarg, who has taken advantage of the Lion war, caused the deaths somehow of both Larg and Goltana, and claims the throne for himself.

         You get to the door, spur the guards into a run (they’re up against two high-level holy knights and one unstoppable lancer!). You kick down the door, and enter the room, seeing Queen Ruvelia sitting on a throne of no power. "Agrias Oaks, you have gone way to far now. You have plotted to destroy the government!" she taunts.

         "Correction, Ruvelia. I have overthrown it. Yes, I admit it; I’ve led a revolt of my own. But, I have evidence that should remove the power structure as it exists because it is inherently evil and filled with lies. Case in point!" you point to Dycedarg as he enters the room through a side door.

         "You should win, three on one, like this…" says Dycedarg. He pulls out a crystal which envelops him in a hideous light. "But not like this!" says Adramelk. Delita mutters how he should have known all along. What follows is a ferocious battle that you would no doubt lose but that you were wearing the regen/reraise giving Chantage perfume and carrying an Excalibur of your own. As it is, you give (and take) most of the hits, while the others concentrate on staying alive. Finally Adramelk goes down, and grab Ruvelia and take her out of the throneroom where you are greeted by the aging Cidfolas Orlandu, who now tells you that you basically have control of the country and can decide who will rule Ivalice next.

         "I… have no interest in having my own political power. I’d do a lousy job, and with Adramelk…" you say. "That leaves you two," you motion to your companions.

         "I’m not interested either. I want to know the truth about my family and my religion," says Ramza.

         "I’ll do it, if that’s alright," you hear Delita say.

         "I’ll put a condition on that. Every year, you will cast Split Punch on a boulder in the main square of the castle. All the people are to come to watch," you say. "If you cast it successfully, you’re still king. If not, the general populace gets to revolt. So as long as you’re a good king and can use holy sword, there’s nothing to stop you. Fair enough?"

         "In case power corrupts, yes," says Delita.

         You and Ramza step back, and draw your swords. "Hail, King Delita!" you both cry.

         "Right, now the first thing that I’m going to do is make a crusade against Adramelk and his friends!" calls Delita. "Let’s go."

         Thanks to your helping Delita to avenge himself following Zirkile falls, he remains the person he was back before the ordeal at Fort Zeakden. He joins you in your crusade against the Lucavi demons. Together the three of you eventually defeat Altima and restore peace to Ivalice. Delita turns out to be a better ruler than anybody could have dreamed of. Furthermore, his wife dies of old age, not of a knife wound (Delita doesn’t die of a knife wound either). Your idea of making Split Punch, an easily recognizable holy sword skill, a prerequisite for royalty remains for hundreds of years to come.

         The new political situation created in the wake of Altima’s defeat would allow you to decide to seize the reins of power at any time you wanted, but you never do. Instead, you eventually marry Ramza, and start a family of your own. Even though you live in a relatively modest house in Lesalia, Delita still visits you frequently, asking your advice on issues that pertain to just politics. You live happily until your death of old age at 65; Ramza lives a few years longer (he’s also four years younger than you). Delita eventually gives up the throne, leaving it to a younger, less competent, but no less idealistic successor. The three of you go down in history and legend alike. This is more than partially justified; you are three of the thirteen (twelve plus a leader) Zodiac Heroes who defeated Lucavi the last time. And you will again, along with your other ten fellows: Miluda and Wiegraf, Mustadio, Izlude and Melilodoul, Reis and Beowulf, Cidfolas Orlandu, Rafa, and even Zalbag.

The End

Andy Simpson's Fanfiction