Spirit of a Knight Blade Chapter 3
By Lia Strife
Izlude could almost hear Ramza coming down the stairs to where he was, the second underground level, and he addressed his small elite squad quietly, as to not attract attention.
"You stay here, understand!?" he said to them. "I'm going to search for the Holy Stone lower down. It's clearly not here."
"Yes, sir!" a wizard replied, speaking on behalf of the rest of them.
Izlude nodded approvingly and made his way down the stairs. He could hear the sounds of battle above, and the screams of his own soldiers dying made his blood curdle. Wiegraf was right, Izlude thought, He is good. As he got closer and closer to the next floor down, he began to feel a pulse in his heart, like a heartbeat, but not his own. A sense of longing filled his heart more and more every step he took, and by the time he reached the bottom, he felt ready to burst. Izlude stormed through the room, tearing books off shelves and turning over tables in a desperate attempt to find what was pulling at him so.
Seeker of the Holy Stone
Izlude spun around frantically to search for the owner of the voice.
Seeker of the Holy Stone
I am near to you
You can feel me free me I can bring you great strength it's in your blood
"Who who goes there? Show yourself!" Izlude screamed.
I am that which you seek look closely the voice replied.
Izlude narrowed his eyes in suspicion. Before he could register the movement, Izlude had turned a full circle and pulled a nearby bookshelf over. A small board covered what appeared to be a slot in the wall, and faint blue light was emanating from the small crack between the wall and the board. Izlude grinned widely and drew his weapon, using the tip of the sword as a lever to pry off the board. The wood broke with a loud crack and Izlude tore hungrily at what was left of the wood. There was a small hole, just big enough to fit an arm, and from it shone an inviting light, beckoning him onward. Izlude reached in and his hands touched something cool and smooth.
"Yes!" he whispered in triumph.
Izlude carefully withdrew the precious stone, gazing at the symbol etched into its side.
"Wow! Is this 'Virgo'? How beautiful!!" he said, entranced by the light.
Izlude felt almost as if it was pulling him in inviting him to a greater power, a greater existence if only he would...
Izlude shook his head and denied the sensation. The rest of his squad ran down the stairs in shambles, quickly assembling themselves into fighting positions.
"Sir! Enemy attack!" an archer yelled, pointing at the stairway.
Ramza chose that moment to emerge from the staircase, a small group of soldiers in tow. Izlude sneered at the young Belouve in contempt.
"I didn't expect you to find us here! But, just in time. Heretic Ramza, hand us the stone!" Izlude yelled, the longing feeling in his heart returning once again.
Ramza scowled at him in return, placing a hand on the hilt of his sword but not drawing it.
"No, why don't you give me yours? Do as I say and I'll let you live!" Ramza hollered in reply.
Izlude snapped. A feeling of genuine hatred rose in his heart, a hatred for this fool called Ramza who would not allow him to have the Holy Stones.
"You think you can beat us?! Then I'll take it by force!" Izlude replied coldly, drawing his sword fully.
A nearby knight of Izlude's squad ran foolishly at Ramza, losing both his initiative and his defense completely. Ramza sidestepped the oncoming blow and stabbed the knight in the back. The knight was dead before he hit the ground. Izlude shook his head, clearing it of thoughts of hatred and tried to think rationally.
"Why do you go against us, Ramza? Though you're a Beoulve, you don't obey your brothers. Why?" Izlude asked the young man, truly curious to the answer.
"It's because I'm a Beoulve that I don't obey them! The name shouldn't be used for self-gain, but rather for divine 'justice'! During the War, my father fought and died to save the people from invasion... Beoulves must not fight for a defunct royal family, but only for noble rights!" Ramza exclaimed, drawing strength from his own words.
Izlude shook his head, frustrated at the naivety of the other young man.
"Then, let's fight together! Our goals are the same! Listen well, Ramza! The Glabados want a world where all people are equal! St. Ajora's ideal world, is 'God's world'! You know people don't trust the royal family or nobility! We must do something before Ivalice is ruined!!" Izlude explained.
He is a fool to think we are wrong Izlude thought. When he is misguided so. Ramza shook his head vehemently.
"You started this war! Was that the will of God?" Ramza retorted, approaching Izlude slowly, done with listening to excuses.
"Certain sacrifices must be made for the revolution! Decadent royalty and nobles must pay, for the people! Now, cooperate with us. As Delita did!" Izlude sheathed his sword and held out a hand, as if expecting Ramza to place the Holy Stones in them without a fight.
Ramza laughed disbelievingly, placing a hand on his hip.
"It sounds good when you say 'for the people', but what you really want is... a stronger army than the Knights, and the evil power to control the people!" Ramza accused, waiting for a response from the now flustered knight.
Izlude gawked at the young man, insulted greatly by his obviously false accusation. How in St. Ajora's name did he come up with that load of excrement? Izlude thought to himself, anger mounting.
"'Evil power'? No, the stone is 'holy'! We want to guide people by God's miracle! Never "evil power"!" Izlude said.
"You know the Cardinal joined Lucavi, right? If that's not 'evil power', I don't know what is!" Ramza replied mockingly.
These "Lucavi" again what are they? Izlude pondered. And Ramza himself killed the Cardinal, not the "Lucavi!"
"What do you mean? You killed the Cardinal and took the stone from him! But he died because he was secretly collecting the Holy Stones for us," he said, shaking his head.
Izlude drew his sword quickly and slashed at a squire who had managed to sneak up behind him. The squire gawked, open-mouthed, at the blood suddenly staining his armor and he backed away into a corner, as far away from Izlude as he could. Ramza took advantage of the opportunity and dashed at his rival, sword raised. Izlude's sword rushed up to meet his, the clash of steel echoing off the monastery's ancient walls. Izlude managed to parry two more vicious slashes before Ramza slipped his sword through an opening in Izlude's defense, tearing a small gash on his arm.
In one fluid movement, the Knight Blade backed up and jumped, disappearing from view. Ramza looked around wildly for his rival, and saw him coming down from above nearly too late. He staggered aside just in time. The tip of Izlude's sword tore a wicked slash down his leg-but it was better than into his brain.
The two once again exploded into that deadly dance, lunging, slashing, blocking, always circling. This dragged on for minutes upon minutes. At last, Ramza pulled a feint, and as his opponent raised his blade to block, he stabbed, his sword sliding right past Izlude's.
Izlude went down hard, clutching at the new wound in his side. He scowled inhumanly, and Ramza swore he caught the slightest flicker of red in one of Izlude's eyes. Izlude trembled with rage, cursing his adversary inwardly. I will not die here! I will have the Zodiac stones! Damn you to the deepest hell, heretic!
"Damn! I refuse to acknowledge his power! I can't die... I must bring the stone back!" Izlude bellowed, seemingly speaking to no one.
He raised his head, a scowl fixed on his face. "Ramza, The next time I see you will be your last! Remember!"
Izlude and his comrades-in-arms vanished in a blue light, leaving no trace.
I'm a fool! He could be an ally, he is not my enemy! Ramza reprimanded himself.
"Wait! Izlude!!" he screamed.
It was too late.
The young Knight Blade was gone, and Ramza had just made another enemy.
"Let me go!" Alma shrieked, kicking and punching at Izlude. "Just you wait! My brother will come find me, and then you'll be sorry!"
Izlude frowned at the reference to Ramza, the man who had humiliated him in combat. His father had ordered him to take Alma to Riovanes castle as bait for Ramza. If they could lure him there, then the stones would be as good as theirs. After a good fifteen minutes of searching, Izlude had finally found her tending to Simon's wounds in the main chapel, and was currently trying to make his way out of the castle in one piece and bruise-free.
Not an easy task.
"That's what we're counting on," Izlude replied wearily, wincing at the stinging blows. "Would you stop punching me? It's really not doing you any good, and you're just going to wear yourself out. If you do that, how will you find the strength to escape later?" Alma frowned at him but the blows ceased. "Listen, Alma, the worse you make it for me, the worse I'll make it for you. That'll be our deal," he said, trying to at least bargain cooperation.
"I wouldn't make a deal with you if my life depended on it! I don't deal with evil!" Alma retorted.
This 'evil' again! Why are we continually accused of such acts?
"I am not evil, Alma! None of us are! We work for the same goals why is it so hard for you to see!?" Izlude yelled hotly, stung by her words.
"No we aren't! My brother and I are trying to bring peace to Ivalice; the church is trying to throw it into chaos!" Alma exclaimed, beginning to punch again.
Izlude sighed and drew his sword.
"Sorry about this " he muttered, smashing the hilt of the sword against Alma's head, knocking her unconscious. "But I really need you to stop talking."
Izlude slung Alma carefully over his shoulder and made his way out of the monastery. The field was empty, the soldiers having been ordered to assemble at Riovanes Castle after Ramza arrived. All that was left was Izlude's Chocobo, waiting obediently for its master to return. Izlude walked over to his Chocobo and placed Alma on its back before mounting it himself.
"I don't want any trouble from you, Maiandos. I know it's a big load this time, but please try your best to get us to Riovanes," he asked the Chocobo, speaking to it as if it were human.
Maiandos started walking without further ado, though it was, indeed, strained by the weight. The bang of the monastery door opening caused Izlude to swing around in his saddle to see Wiegraf, bloody and torn up, crawling towards him leaving trails of blood in his wake. Izlude's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. The heretic is that powerful? That's impossible! he thought incredulously.
"Are you okay? Wiegraf!!" Izlude yelled. Wiegraf raised his head slightly at the sound of Izlude's voice.
Wiegraf coughed, blood trickling from the corners of his mouth.
"Don't worry...about me... Just...go!" he replied, dropping his head to the cold ground once more.
Another figure burst from the door. This time it was Ramza. A cold knot of hatred formed in Izlude's stomach at seeing Ramza's face. Ramza glanced at Izlude, or rather, the 'passenger' lying unconscious in the saddle.
"Alma!!" he screamed, running towards the Chocobo.
"Go.... I...." Wiegraf said, coughing up more blood.
Izlude lowered his head in respect for a moment before replying.
"Sorry, Wiegraf!!" Izlude exclaimed, kicking his chocobo with all his might.
As he fled, Izlude could hear faint but desperate cries from Ramza, but that only convinced Izlude to go faster.
Soon, father. You will have your Holy Stones, and I will be a true Zodiac Brave, just like you always promised, he thought, heart filled with pride. It had been his long time dream to someday be able to fight the forces of evil with the powers of a legendary Zodiac Brave, and now his dream could be realized. Then, Ramza, your heresy will be purged from this land!
"Wait! Izlude!!" Ramza yelled after Izlude, oblivious to Wiegraf's predicament.
"Goho! Damn.... I can't die here. I can't face my dead allies without avenging Miluda...No.... I don't want to die..."
A brightly glowing stone, a brilliant purple, fell out of the wounded man's pocket and began to rise into the air, the light now pulsing.
Holder of the Holy Stone...
Ramza looked around for the origin of the voice before realizing that the voice was not spoken aloud, but in his head. He could feel the words, rather then hear them. Ramza suddenly realized where it was coming from, and he shifted his gaze to the Aries Zodiac Stone.
"What...? The stone.... spoke...?" Ramza whispered, entranced by the stone's light.
Holder of the Holy Stone...
Your spirit will unite with
My flesh to live forever.
It took Ramza a moment to discover that Aries was addressing Wiegraf, and he knew that their could be a serious problem brewing. If Wiegraf accepted the stone's offer, he too would become Lucavi, and in his current state, it seemed more than likely that Wiegraf would accept.
"Is this the stone's secret?" Wiegraf breathed, slowly succumbing to the stone's pull.
Your despair and resentment
"No! Wiegraf!! Don't do it!" Ramza yelled.
It was to no avail. Wiegraf raised his head for the last time he ever would as a human.
"Help...me..." he whispered.
Even as he spoke the words, spirits and demons began to pour forth from the stone, surrounding it in some kind of macabre aura. The souls began to change into light, surrounding Wiegraf and blocking him from view. When the light finally cleared, Wiegraf was gone.
In his place, a monster twice the size of a human with four arms and the horns of a ram stood in his place. Ramza's hand darted instinctively to the hilt of his sword, and he lowered himself into a defensive battle stance.
"This is the stone's power!" the being said, its voice a horrible rumble.
"Wiegraf !" Ramza said, slowly inching his sword from his sheath.
"Ramza, its power is magnificent! No, not just the power. Centuries of knowledge ingrained into my brain," it said, an elated grin spread across its hideous face.
Ramza's sword was out lightning fast, raised defensively and ready to strike. The Lucavi laughed throatily.
"Hya, ha...easy...save some for later...! Hya, ha...superb...Superb power...!" he mumbled.
The Lucavi disappeared in that same curious blue light, leaving Ramza all alone again.
Mune ni kakushita tsubasa de
Oozora e maiagareba
Wasurekakete 'ta kinou no
Jibun ni aeru
(If you fly towards the skies
With the wings hidden in your heart
You meet the self
Forgotten in the past)
Lia Strife's Fanfiction