Whirlwind Chapter 2

Old Skills Return

By Danny Asencio

After a mind numbing seven-day journey, Kalia managed to finally arrive in the province of Fovoham. As soon as she secured a place to stay, she began preparations to assault the Duke's private mansion located approximately two miles east Riovanes Castle. For a moment she pondered why the Duke did not simply reside at Riovanes. Then she turned toward more pressing matters. She needed to scout the mansion's grounds to ascertain how heavily guarded it was and to locate weak points in which she might enter or exit. She rented a chocobo from the local stables and was off. After a while she arrived at a small village that did not exist on most maps, because of its insignificance. The Mansion was in the northern part of the village. She encircled it casually to survey it.

Kalia immediately saw that one might easily approach the front gate disguised as one of the locals. Then she proceeded to analyze the Mansion itself. It was approximately four hundred feet from the front gate to the Mansion itself, and guarding the front door were two lancers. Large oaks with thick branches dotted the landscape. The Mansion was two stories tall, which made the roof readily accessible. Either way, she could not enter from the second floor, because it contained no windows, which was incredibly strange. Kalia decided that the second floor was the Duke's quarters. She then noticed four archers posted atop the mansion's roof, in addition to the two lancers already posted at the front door.

"This Duke is cautious," Kalia thought to herself, "He must have many enemies besides Delita." She then left to make preparations for that night.

The sun was setting fast, and so to was Kalia's chocobo riding quickly. She wanted to arrive right when the darkness struck, so that she would gain as many hours of darkness as she could. After all, she doubted that Fovoham's famous Red Riovanes Knights would allow her to escape easily, and the darkness would benefit her greatly. After a few minutes of steady riding, she arrived at the village where the mansion was located. The darkness was ominous and silent. No wind blew that night, which was a negative factor for Kalia. She needed the wind to drown out the sound of her crunching leaves underfoot as she infiltrated the grounds. She would just have to be extra quiet.

The first thing Kalia did was to choose a dark alleyway between two buildings, and there she tied up her rented chocobo. Then she threw on a long cloak made of old sackcloth, which made for the perfect peasant disguise. Clothed like this, from head to toe, she started onward to the Duke's mansion. Kalia walked slowly, casually looking around her as if she was an old, eccentric, beggar. Within a few minutes she arrived at the front gate. She carefully looked around her, making sure for one last time she had not been followed. After she was satisfied that she was not being tracked, she took off her ridiculous camouflage. Carefully calculating the height of the metal gate, she took out a shuriken with a length of strong, thin cord attached to it. She expertly manipulated the shuriken so that it wrapped around the top spire of one of the fence posts. After checking to see that the line was secure, she nimbly traversed the fence. Once at the top she dropped quietly to the ground. Her body protested just from the simple exercise of climbing a fence, but she ignored it. She had dealt with worse pain.

Next Kalia moved from oak tree to oak tree, blending in with the shadows as if she herself were one. She crossed the front yard in this way and made her way toward the side of the mansion. Once again she noted the lack of windows on the second floor, and after pondering how best to enter the mansion she decided that the most tactically sound decision would be to throw stealth aside and disorient all the guards. While hiding behind an oak tree only thirty feet from the mansion she glanced up to see one of the archers posted on the rooftop. She marked him down as her first target and slipped a shuriken out off one of her many hidden pockets and grasped it gently between her fingers. Taking aim she used her wrist to fling the shuriken at the archer. It whistled a through the air as it soared toward the archer. His head turned slightly in the direction of the sound, just in time to see the shuriken cut his longbow into tow perfectly even halves.

" Perhaps I haven't lost my touch after all," Kalia marveled to herself, " I need to keep mobile…FOCUS." The archer whose bow Kalia had bisected immediately sounded the alarm. Kalia slipped from tree to tree as rivers of arrows flowed down from the roof. The archers where shooting in every imaginable direction, and the lancers were vaulting high up into the air in hopes of spotting Kalia. They never had a chance. Kalia stuck to the shadows, like some demon of the night that cannot be seem. One by one she bisected the remaining archer's bows, exactly as she had with the first archer. By this point in time a whole two minutes had passed and the lancers were running in useless circles, praying just to catch a glimpse of the mysterious shadow that had disarmed the archers. Meanwhile, while the lancers were busy looking for her, Kalia did what she had intended to all along. She waltzed right through the front entrance. Inside the mansion was akin to a stampede of chocobos. Servants were running about in absolute panic. Kalia simply walked toward were she predicted the staircase was. In a fit of hysteria, one servant attacked Kalia with a fire poker. Kalia dodged his overhead blow and simply punched the servant in the face. The servant crumpled to the ground as if all his muscles were too weak to support him. Kalia made her way up the stairs and prepared for whatever resistance the Duke would put up, not that it would save him. Kalia had never failed a mission, and didn't intend to start now. At the top of the staircase was a long hallway that was elegantly decorated, yet not pompous or extravagant. Kalia noted that the Duke had fine artistic taste.

"Too bad I have to kill him," she pondered, " Can I really do it… its been so long." Kalia walked to the end of the hallway were two knights were waiting to greet her in full battle armor, with swords drawn. Kalia looked them both once over and laughed to herself.

"Halt! You have trespassed on the Duke's property," one ignorant knight recited, "Hand yourself over and your life may be spared." Kalia decided not to dignify the comment with a response. Instead she charged highly concentrated chakra energy into her fist, and she shouted " EARTH SLAH!" She pounded her fist into the floor, which sent the wave of chakra energy traveling straight at the unsuspecting knights. When the energy reached the knights it exploded out of the ground and hurled them against the wall, unconscious.

"The knights were guarding this room, so it is probably the Duke's bedroom," Kalia surmised, "He will probably have armed himself by now." Her ninja blade slipped slowly out of its sheath. Kalia's hand moved ever so hesitantly toward the doorknob, and she prepared herself to kill one last time.

Chapter 3

Final Fantasy Tactics Fanfic