Legacy Chapter 1

By Peptuck3

        They say that those moments that define your life always stay burned into your brain, like a mental brand. Those critical scenes in your life, the ones that truly define who you are and how you came to be at this point in life, are always there, as permanent and indelibile as stone.

        I remember that time, months ago, when I first encountered her. That woman, that illusion, the lie that was Ultimecia, wrapped in a shroud of hopes, ambitions, and dreams. It was those very ambitions that led me down that dark path, a path of destruction, paved in the bodies of those whose blood still stains my hands.

        Even now, I still walk that path, still traveling down that road of damnation. It is a road of sorrow, of pain. This road is my legacy.

        --Seifer Almasy

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        He knew this place. Rain stormed down around Seifer as he stood on a bridge. Next to him was parked the car he had been driving, the driver's door open as if he'd just gotten out. Fujin and Raijin were also out, and were walking across the bridge towards a man whose truck was sitting in the middle of the road crossing over the structure. The man wore a heavy jacket and had his hood raised up over the top of his head, and he had hood of the truck up, and was bending down over the engine, his silhouette shown in the truck's headlights.

        He looked up at Fujin and Raijin as they approached.

        "Hey, can you help me?" he called out to them.

        Seifer knew something was wrong. The bridge, the rain, the man, the whole thing was fundamentally wrong. Seifer knew something would happen, something serious, but what?

        Fujin and Raijin crossed the bridge towards the man and his broken- down vehicle, and Seifer couldn't help but follow. Fujin turned back towards Seifer, her gray hair pasted to the sides of her head by the rain.

        "HELP?" she asked Seifer. Seifer considered it for a moment, along with that feeling that something was so very wrong here.

        "Yeah," Seifer said with a shrug as he joined up with his posse. The trio approached the man, and Seifer's feeling that something was wrong grew as he saw the man's face. Recognition that he'd seen this person before rose into Seifer's mind, but he couldn't recall where.

        "Thanks," the man said, turning back to his truck's engine and cutting off Seifer's view of his face, a face he knew from somewhere. "I don't know what happened, it just cut out and I came to a stop."

        The man continued to explain what was wrong with his truck, and though Seifer tried listening, that feeling of utter wrongness was rising. The knight turned his head, looking around, towards the edge of the bridge. The glimmer of a memory returned, a feeling that something would be coming from that direction-

        -then, Seifer's SeeD-trained reflexes reacted as the hooded man spun around, the shining metal of a blade flashing towards Seifer's head.

        The knight ducked under the slash and Hyperion was in his hands, drawn faster than the eye could see and diving forward into his attacker's chest. At the edges of his vision, Seifer could see two figures climbing up from the edge of the bridge nearest Seifer. The truck's doors swung open and three more men piled out, and another pair climbed up from the edge of the bridge opposite Seifer and his posse. Every man weilded a blade of some kind, and each charged at the surprised trio.

        Or rather, one tried, having come over the edge of the bridge, but was blasted away as Raijin's staff slid off his back and smashed across the attacker's chest, tossing him off the bridge.

        Seifer spun on the other, gunblade working furiously to deflect the man's attacks as his mind caught up with his body.

        Ambush. Assassins.

        Seifer now knew what he had realized was wrong, but still there was something in the back of his mind, a realization that this ambush in fact wasn't the thing he knew would happen. That unknown event was still yet to come.

        The knight snapped his gunblade into an opening the assassin had left in his defenses, and Hyperion bit into the man's heart with an accompanying splurt of blood. Seifer spun to see Fujin and Raijin engaged with the other five attackers, and he charged in to provide assistance.

        But, halfway to his posse, Seifer spotted two more assassins, coming around from behind the posse's own vehicle, both weilding broadswords and charging at Seifer.

        The two men bore in, swords swinging. Seifer ducked a slash, blocked a second, hopped a third, and backed away as both opponents swung their blades, swords coming in like the snapping jaws of an Anacondaur. The knight smiled as both men's blades nearly took each other, an obvious sign that these two were not the brightest foes, which also indicated whoever had come for Seifer and his friends, they were not the best or the most powerful.

        Still, the two men were dangerous, forcing the knight back with their swings. Seifer viciously parried and countered, one slice opening an assassin's upper arm, sending a long line of blood trailing down. The man took a wild, enraged slash at Seifer, who took another step back, then hopped up and back.

        Seifer's leap took him up and on top of the bridge's narrow railing. Though the knight hadn't been able to see the railing, he knew where the edge of the bridge was, and had guessed (correctly, fortunately) its location. Balanced on the railing, Seifer continued blocking and countering, and at one point hopping back along the railing at a slice aimed for his left leg, the missed strike sending the sword down and cutting into the metal railing.

        One of the men took a swipe at Seifer's legs with his broadsword as the knight balanced on the railing. Seifer hopped right over the sword, Hyperion blocking a swipe from his other opponent, and the knight shifted his weight as he came back down, balancing precisely. Hyperion dropped down in the path of the swiping blade, stopping it. Them Seifer shifted his weight to balance on his left leg perfectly even as his right rose and shot down, hitting the attacker's sword hand and knocking the blade from his hand. Hyperion blocked another attack from the other assassin, and then the gunblade came across, taking the disarmed man's throat.

        The knight swiped across as he leaped down, forcing his remaining foe to block high. But Seifer wasn't actually slashing, the man discovered, as Hyperion came back from the feint and sliced into his chest, taking his heart and lungs.

        Upon dispatching his foes, Seifer turned to the assassins his friends were fighting. Raijin took one opponent out, his heavy staff crashing down on the man's skull, while Fujin ducked, twisted, dodged, and parried with her shuriken against two other men's attacks. The remaining pair of assassins were already charging Seifer's way, and the knight met them, his gunblade whirling and clanging against their own swords.

        Neither of the men were particularily skilled, and neither were also any match for Seifer, as one discovered upon his belly being sliced a second before Seifer grabbed him by his shirt and used the assassin to trip up his partner. The other assassin fell, though he didn't make it down alive, Seifer's gunblade swooping down on his skull even as the assassin dropped. The other assassin, wounded and prone, was an easy target for Hyperion, and Seifer drove his weapon down into the man's back before charging to assist Fujin.

        But the knight came up short, seeing that his posse had the last two assassins under control. Raijin had backed one of Fujin's foes away from his sister and was pressing him back against the railing, Raijin's staff and the assassin's sword clinched as the two strained against each other. Fujin had her foe all but beaten, her nimble body dodging and evading the assassin's attacks with ease. The silver haired woman hopped back from her foe, performing the focusing gesture of a spell before the assassin could follow her. A wild, sweeping, spinning cyclone of wind enveloped the man, lifting him up while at the same time kicking up dirt and small rocks which, caught in the Tornado spell, slashed into the assassin. The numerous cuts hurt him, but not as much as the biting wind or the subsequent fall to the ground when the winds dissipated. Before the wounded assassin could recover, both a shuriken and a gunblade sliced into his body.

        Seifer glanced up to Fujin, grinning at how they had dispatched their foes. Fujin didn't mirror the knight's smile, though she did give one of her rare grins. Behind her, a wet 'thunk' accompanied Raijin's overhead swing of his staff and subsequent shortening of his opponent as the assassin's skull was flattened.

        Then, before Seifer could react, Fujin's one eye widened and she leaped forward, her hands striking Seifer's chest and forcing him back and down to the ground. Before the kinght could question Fujin's actions, he saw one, then two, knives flash into her chest from behind Seifer. Fujin barely flinched from the blades, and with only a slight grimace of pain, replied to the attack, her shuriken hurtling past Seifer. The knight turned his head to see another assassin, at the far end of the bridge, take the shuriken. A number of throwing knives he'd been holding slid from his hands and clattered to the bridge, followed by their now dead weilder.

        The knight shot to his feet as Fujin swayed slightly, one hand going to her wounded chest.

        "Fuu, you okay?" he asked, his question mirrored by Raijin's as he ran up to his sister.

        "Hurts . . ." Fujin said weakly, stumbling and almost losing her balance. "Burns . . . Poiso-"

        Then she fell.

        * * * * *

        "They're all dead," Khales said to his brother, Khali. The pair were identical twins, both tall, with black hair, brown eyes, black beards and mustaches, and perpeptual sneers. After all, the two brothers were brutal and vicious assassins, and the joint leaders of the troupe of assassins who had answered to the price on the head of Seifer Almasy.

        Khali leaned back in his chair, legs up on his desk, absently swirling a glass of expensive Dollet wine.

        "All eleven?" he asked, sounding dissappointed.

        "Indeed, brother. All of the men with Telan were killed."

        "Damn," Khali hissed. Khales only smiled.

        "But . . ."

        "But?" Khali sensed something in his brother's demeanor, that seemed to indicate that the loss of their team meant nothing. His feet dropped from their perch and he leaned forward in his chair.

        "We have tracked them. To a hospital in a town near Timber."

        "A team is en route?" Khali knew his brother's response before he'd even spoken.

        "Of course. Four of our best, one an ex-Galbadian special officer. They will arrive shortly. Almasy will not run from us, and he will not survive this battle."


        With that, the two assassin brothers shared a cruel laugh. Indeed, Almasy would soon be very dead, and they would have the very large sum of money that his death would entail.

        * * * * *

        "Dammit!" Seifer hissed, punching the drink machine angrily, venting the feelings of frustration and helplessness that another nightmare had imparted. In his other hand, the knight squeezed the can of soda.

        His fault. Those daggars had been meant for him. He should be in that bed, half-dead, not Fujin. Those assassins had come for Seifer's head, for his wrongs. And Fujin had suffered for them.

        Nothing Seifer had ever done, no pain he had experienced, not the fires nor cold nor shocks of magic, nor the stinging blasts of enemy gunfire, nor even the sharpened edges of Squall Leonhart's own gunblade hurt as much as the wound he felt now. It was a gripping pain, deep inside, not within his body, but in his very core, his soul.

        It was the heavy, weighted pain of guilt.

        Seifer stared at his own twisted reflection in the plastic cover of the drink machine. In that reflection, seifer saw himself again, and he was sent back to that moment, that other nightmare where he had proclaimed himself the cause of all the suffering around him. The dream where Seifer's dark side, the one Ultimecia had brought out and grown, had risen up to haunt him and destroy those few things that were truly important to Seifer.

        "No," Seifer hissed in impotent denial. Though in the reflection, his distorted face mirrored the pained look on Seifer's own face, the knight still saw the grinning, leering visage of his dark side, the mockery of what he had dreamed of.


        Seifer focused, and suddenly his muscles surged. The knight's fist shot forward, proppelled with the power of a Guardian Force and the magic of Flare behind it. The hand buried into Seifer's reflection, into the mirrored, twisted face, and blew right through it, smashing in and striking at the hideous apparition.

        The knight blinked and his vision cleared, and then realized to his sudden surprise that he had just dented the soda machine. Then, to his further surprise, Seifer realized he had squeezed the soda can in his other hand so hard it had popped, and now fizzing soda bubbled over his hand.

        Shaking his head, and looking back up at the soda machine, Seifer tossed his can away and headed back to the room where Fujin lay.

        He stepped in through the door and quietly closed it behind him, then sat down next to Fujin. Raijin was still sleeping, next to the door, keeping a drowsy if not dedicated vigil for his sister; he hadn't moved from that spot except to use the bathroom and to eat, and even then he'd returned to the spot as quickly as he could.

        Seifer looked Fujin over. He noticed how peaceful and content she looked, so different from her stone cold outer shell when awake, masking a semi-controlled fury underneath that often was revealed as she lashed out at her brother. The knight slowly reached over and brushed some of her gray hair out of Fujin's face. Then, Seifer let out a breath and sat back in his chair, wandering the paths of memory.

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Alone I read Until the day was gone And I sat in regret Of all the things I've done For all that I've blessed And all that I wronged And dreams until my death....

~From "Like a Stone" by Audioslave

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