Duty That Binds Chapter 11

Waltzing With Chance

By Seravy

NOTES: Ilaberry pie- a pie made of small round berries of a light pink colour about the size of a thumb
Gustivon floats- an Ivalician dessert made of various fruits, wrapped in a thin layer of pancakes. The wrap is then placed in a cup of juice.
Globin-stife - think horseradish except named differently
Rhoslynne mix- a combination of various herbs used to treat hangovers.

Despite being a grown-up 21-year-old woman herself, female behavior had always eluded her understanding.

Observation one: Women, especially youths, seemed to take immense joy in holding each other when reunited, screaming until their voices cracked when a simple handshake or a small nod sufficed. Observation two: Often demonstrated by Alicia and Lavian, female acquaintances always linked arms when strolling through streets which she found most impractical as it hindered speed and caused much grief to others around them. Another unexplainable phenomenon was their custom of parting; tears were usually unavoidable, with plenty of hugs, filled with promises of writing and “keeping in touch”. However, as much as these details could go unnoticed, the amount of time that these customs took tortured every fiber of patience within her.

“Lady Alma, Princess Ovelia, the carriages are ready.” Said Agrias, for the fifth time that morning.

“Just a few more moments.” Replied Alma, for the fifth time as well. A fine eyebrow did its reflexive twitch.

“Be sure to write to me.”

The young Beoulve tightened her grip around her friend’s elbows, with no intention of releasing this last contact of comfort.

“I’ll be sure to.”

“I’ll write you everyday.”

“Me too.”

How they both wished to part with a smile, but the heaviness around their hearts was simply too stubborn to leave and tears flowed ruthlessly down their frowns.

“Oh, Ovelia! We haven’t even parted yet, and I’m already missing you.”

The girls wept within a tight embrace. Chances of their reunion seemed far away and the surrounding plains echoed the loud sobs. All the other escorts took immediate pity, ashamed for even feeling the slightest hint of impatience. All except for one.

“Forgive me for intruding once again, but we must depart soon.”

“Just a few more moments.”

“We’re already behind schedule.”

Alma immediately lifted her head from a tear-soaked shoulder, and scowled.

“It’s still so early in the morning, a few more moments won’t hurt!”

Agrias was about to express her own concerns until the princess looked pleadingly at her with a silent promise and reluctantly she nodded her approval.

“Take care, Alma.”

“You too.”

Ovelia embraced the blonde troublemaker again, taking every second to memorize the parting warmth. It was Alma who had first approached her on their day of meeting. Unconditionally, she offered her honest heart and together they explored Illica monastery, hands held tightly through every turn, like the greatest adventure of all time. She remembered Alma’s first contagious smile and how beautiful it shone. And as she promised, Ovelia then croaked the deciding word against everything that made herself.


She broke the embrace and held Alma’s hands tightly in her own, the same way her hands were nostalgically held for the first time by the same person.


And with a final breath, they released each other, slowly.

“Take good care of Ovelia for me.”

“We will.” Joined Alicia and Lavian, droplets of tears running down their faces as their superior shook her head at such unprofessional display of sentiments.

Alma embraced each of the apprentice knights, allowing the empty air to chill her warmed fingers. Lingering glances scurried across their separating paths as they turned their backs and headed for their respective groups.


Agrias looked to Alicia and acknowledged her whimper as she dutifully helped the princess board the carriage.

“Alma said she has something to tell you.” She sniffled.

The blonde knight couldn’t help but feel a little surprised. Nevertheless, she made her way to the other band of escorts where her former charge purposefully stood with her arms crossed before her chest. Alma’s face was still red and puffy but the tears had stopped and her eyes shone with resolution.

“Bully Ovelia, you’ll wish you’ve never been born.”

“Rest assured as I was assigned to protect her.”

“Ovelia likes ilaberry pies and gustivon floats. She hates globin-stife and that purple vegetable stuff. And never Malboro meat. She gets sick after she eats it.”

Her voice cracked at the last few words and she had to stop to prevent a new node of sorrow from surfacing.

“And don’t forget her birthday. ” Alma added after another breath. “And knowing you, I’ve written everything down here.”

A small parchment that was hidden in the folds of her crossed arms was roughly shoved into view. As forcibly requested, Agrias took the offered item, taking note of the red Beoulve seal at the opening.

“Lose it and you’ll wish that you ran faster then a chocobo.”

The blonde knight nodded, sharply looking to a side. She reminded Agrias of a foe who had just lost a duel.

“And I also wanted to thank you for last night.”

Cold blue eyes focused on her with hidden shock.

“But this doesn’t mean I like you though.” Added the Beoulve with immediate reflex. “I intend on repaying the favour.”

“Whatever pleases you, Lady Alma.”

The petite blonde roughly ran a sleeve over her nose, as a sharp tang at the ridge threatened to spill. With dry lips and wandering guilty eyes, Agrias pulled out a white handkerchief from one of the pouches of her belt. Alma took the offer and wiped her eyes, along with a good blow of her nose.

“Thank you.”

“You could keep it.” Said Agrias, more then willing to release ownership of her hankie. From another pouch, the one that held potions and other battle aides, she extracted a bottle with a shade of deep green. She had been skeptical about her purchase as she had bought this along with the princess’s potion but seeing the loud Beoulve’s unusual… civility, it seemed appropriate as a token.

“What’s that?”

“Rhoslynne mix. A remedy for headaches. Have it with water as it’s bitter.”

Alma nodded, silently grateful as her first hangover and excess amounts of crying weighted on her brows.

Realizing that she was the one delaying the departure, Agrias bowed and proceeded back to the princess’s carriage. For once, reluctance gently pried at her and looking back at the empty monastery, she mused with a bit of soft glee. The past 9 days was indescribable, a small but ridiculously memorable part. After all, who could ever forget someone like Alma Beoulve. Despite her ridiculous manner, her character was not one to be forgotten and Agrias pondered whether she dreaded or looked forward to a reunion after this separation.

“You know, you’re not that anal if you don’t try to be!” Called Alma to the retreating back.

The knight knitted her brows but refrained from responding as she placed her full weight onto Pyros’s back. Agrias nodded to the furthest soldier. The signal flag was raised and with a curt pull on the reigns, a few unsteady trots sounded in the fresh morning air and slowly into a series of steady paces.

The wheels of the carriage rolled noisily over rocks and hardened mud, accompanied by various rhythms of thumping from chocobos. Each inch that they crossed, the ground will redundantly mark it, waiting for rain and Mother Nature to remove these imprints.

The escort that trailed behind yawned from his dull job. The sun was just stirring from its deep sleep and fragments of darkness lingered over the sky. Every knight had worked with sparing hints of rest and together they removed all traces of Illica’s inhabitants. Ophion was loaded as a part of Alma’s luggage to be tried in secret once they reached Igros castle although she was blatantly told to lie about this incident within her charge’s presence.

But she still felt uneasy, a small wiggle of alert within her nerve that she can’t seem to ignore. There was only herself, her apprentices and four Igros soldiers on this journey. It may be unwise for a large group but neither was it logical to journey with such a revealing carriage and overt uniforms like some bold invitation.

“I have yet to ask your name.”

The question disrupted her train her thoughts and Agrias reluctantly looked to the knight that rode beside her.

“Agrias Oaks.”

“Brasz Ormandy,” he replied, “and what a pleasure to meet you.”

She immediately disliked him, especially the way he smirked at the word “pleasure”. But for courtesy’s sake, a curt nod was graciously bestowed as this Brasz was in charge of the mission.

“What a night, eh?” He remarked, relighting the conversation. “Damn, I’m burned out.”

Agrias merely rode on and her lack of enthusiasm propelled him forward until his chocobo trotted inches away from hers.

“Maybe me and you can have a little drink once we’re at Dorter.”


“Come on, I’m sure you could use a little relaxation.” He said, “Trust me, it’ll be worth your while.”

“I’m not in need of any sort of relaxation.” Reaffirmed Agrias, slighted by his indiscreet approach.

“And most certainly you don’t,” he scoffed.

Agrias immediately looked to him and his grin expanded as he pointed to his neck. Now she knew why Alicia and Lavian were giving her small nudges and suggestive grins as she touched her own neck with sudden realization.

Brasz winked and Agrias could feel that familiar impulse magnetizing her sword. Fortunately, Pyros shared the same sentiments. She hated strangers who approached her master without her permission and combined with slight jealousy for the zealous and young chocobo that Brasz rode on, the veteran steed knocked her head into the neighboring fluff of yellow, sending Brasz behind and fighting for balance.

“Good girl, Pyros.” Whispered Agrias as she gently petted her loyal chocobo and silently wishing never to meet Alma Beoulve or that damned gypsy ever again.

Brasz stayed behind as the group trotted along at a comfortable pace. Alicia and Lavian were obviously enjoying themselves as they idly chatted with two other soldiers—both males-- like some camping trip. The other two exhausted soldiers lagged behind and their heads would occasionally dip with sleep. And with another four days of traveling, her mind couldn’t help but wander as well.

They have taken a detour, the route north of Igros, leading into four whole days of wild and untamed traveling as opposed to one and a half. It seemed ridiculous as they were almost making a full circle around their destination, fearing a leakage of information although she can’t see the advantage of this new itinerary. Their small parading party was not reassuring either.

Then there was the princess. Agreeable but nevertheless, royalty and the journey seemed even harsher. What had transpired last night seemed to have made everything a lot more complicated then they should be. Agrias sighed with displeasure as she surveyed her surroundings which consisted of nothing but rows upon rows of heavy forest. Several birds scurried away from their safe haven within the autumn falling leaves as occasional squirrels and other small critters dashed out from all sides. Agrias slowed Pyros until she trotted beside Brasz. Animals usually hid upon the sounds of chocobos.

“Changed your mind?”

“We’re being followed.”

“I noticed.”

“five... no seven.”

“We should attack.”

“What’s if there’s more of them?”

“But we can’t afford to wait.”

Sadly, he was right. If they waited till nightfall, darkness shall cloak their attackers and it’ll be even more difficult to be rid of them.

“I’ll inform everyone.”

“No. Too obvious.”

“We should wait until a more appro--”



“On my signal.” Brasz added.

“That’s too rash.”

“Trust me.”

Agrias added whispered bits of protest but the other knight simply winked and reached for his crossbow from the side of his chocobo. He then shot into what seemed like an open bush. A yelp was immediately registered and Brasz boomed his command.

“Full speed ahead! NOW!”

But instead of heeding the command, the crew only watched the open with inane alert. The two trailing escorts immediately paid for their mistake as a swift wave of arrows butchered them blindly from all sides, a fate which could have been avoided by simply speeding forward, offsetting the aim. Fatally injured, the left wing released the reigns and her body slapped into the dusty road, rolling out of sight with rapid velocity. The other hollered in pain and an involuntary tug slowed his chocobo, inviting a fresh batch of arrows and his prompt death.

Their demise effectively spurred the others and the ground shook with panic from the sudden thumping of speeding chocobos.

“We should be safe at this rate. Turn right at the next fork and we’ll circle back to Igros.”

Agrias heard the commanding knight but remained silent, concentrating intently on the path before them. But their safety did not last until the next turn. Spheres of fire shone from the shrouding trees ahead as the distinct smell of burning alcohol reeked the air.

“Oh shit, they’re bringing out the good stuff!”

Fiery drops of blaze rained from the side, from the sky, from seemingly everywhere. Agrias and the knights drew their swords and batted away as many arrows as they could, maneuvering their chocobos at the same time. Some of them missed, others narrowly blocked away while the majority found its target; the carriage. Flame grew and fed on the painted wood, slowly but steadily consuming its victim. Agrias then heard a scream. Two to be exact as Lavian’s undisciplined chocobo reeled in fear, almost tossing his rider off.

“Steady, boy, steady!” she wailed.

But his untamed instincts crumpled at the threatening sight of fire and like any other untrained animal in the face of danger, he ran with Lavian tightly grabbing onto her chocobo’s neck; a fatal error. Alicia called out but Lavian was already speeding away straight into the forest, screaming. Her best friend immediately went after her, abandoning her post but Agrias couldn’t care less.

The drapery over the window fell off, revealing the face of a young beautiful girl, who called her name in absolute fear.

“Cover me!”

Brasz complied and rode to her side, blocking off arrows as they headed for them both. With her safety temporarily guarded, Agrias adjusted her speed until she was synchronized with the burning carriage.

“Stand back!”

Through the blazing opening, Ovelia cowered to the other side of her seat and Agrias struck open the carriage door. It fell towards her and the knight towered back and lost her position to the sound of another scream of her name. Luckily, it missed her.

“Are you done yet?”

Agrias scowled but ignored Brasz yet again. With deft precision, she caught up to the carriage and reached out.

“Give me your hand!”

Carefully yet desperately, the princess inched towards her bodyguard. Their fingers were about to touch but the carriage slowed and fell away, Agrias’s hand dropping from her sight. The wheel was shot and so was its driver and the coach dipped to its maimed side, dragged along the road by uncontrolled chocobos. Ovelia called for her again.

Agrias immediately went after her charge. The fire had begun to ravish its feast at an incredible speed, its arms greedily expanding around its victim. Smoke rose like roasting meat, although its smell was not a bit pleasant. Ovelia clung onto the back of the carriage, the slanted angle nudging her off into the hustling ground. Agrias held out her hand once again.


Ovelia shook her head, coughing from the thick smoke that attacked her nose and watered her eyes. The fallen side of the coach broke away and what remained of the carriage fell closer to the ground. The young girl screamed and struggled against the impact.

“I’ll catch you!”

Time taunted her against what little that was left because once the flame was through with the tough wood, the princess will be next.

“I can’t do it!”

“Yes, you can!!”

Her charge shook her head again and an arrow skidded over the knight’s arm, angrily biting past the leather and into her flesh. Agrias winced but kept her hand outstretched.


Oveia looked up and the plea extended like a prayer. She reached out and once she touched the leather surface of Agrias’s glove, she felt her hand encased within a firm haven and the fear that shook her fled like a coward. Following the unswerving blue eyes, she jumped as the burning ceiling missed its bite. And as promised, Agrias caught her.

“Good move!” cheered Brasz but the blonde knight could no longer hear him. She held the princess firmly by her waist and Ovelia laid her face against the cold surface of her breastplate.

Three attackers sprung out from the sides, alerting her miscalculation. Their readied crossbows were immediately released, gingerly blocked by their armour and bad aims. Celshia, their right wing, dropped behind and confronted them. Her sword dutifully battled against a vicious flail. After ducking an obvious swing, she sliced a leg off the pursuing chocobo and without a limb, her opponent collapsed into the road to join her fallen teammates. Brasz tried to follow through with what his subordinate started only to be called back by Agrias. Heeding the warning he and Celshia moved away and the blonde knight rode towards the flaming carriage and with a swift strike, she broke the tough leather that linked the chocobos. The coach fell behind and crashed into the last warrior.

“Hey now! We make a good team!”

“Don’t be so sure,” replied Agrias as a line of warriors, followed by a row of archers impatiently awaited their arrival just ahead. From behind, they could hear the sound of raging chocobos quickly approaching. This was definitely more then seven and Brasz swore.

“Everyone, take a tu--”

“Don’t.” ordered Agrias. She calmly looked ahead, and held the princess even tighter.


“Shut up and follow me!”

Agrias whipped her reigns twice and Pyros knew this was the signal for her maximum best. Without much choice, Celshia and Brasz followed her. The archers were charging, she could feel it and Agrias pushed Pyros even harder. Just as the arrows were released, the Holy Knight delivered her own specialty, an attack that held true to its summoning phrase.

“Life is short… Bury, Stasis Sword!”

The familiar rush of energy burst within her. Light in the form of ice fell upon the front line of archers and swordsmen. Their bodies froze upon the hidden spell and Agrias rode through them, easily towing her sword through their immobile bodies.

“Celshia and me’ll hold the bastards off. You go on ahead.”

Agrias nodded and rode on as Brasz and his subordinate turned around and caught the unsuspecting line of archers.

“Alright, you low curs, gimme all ya got!”


Danger brought harm but it also gave her immense joy because she knew she was not a burden but an asset, an invaluable partner. She had pride, wisdom and experience, something which distinguished her from others of the same specie. Unlike those lower beings, she was an equal, treated with respect and the utmost care. The amount of hurt she felt when her child gave her reigns to another almost killed her. That was why she always gave her best.

Pyros kept going, following her master’s silent command but no matter how hard she pushed herself, they were going slower and slower and slower and slower… until her knee gave way and she fell. Never had humiliation been more evident.

Agrias immediately went to her side and gently touched her head. Now that she stopped, her entire body screamed with endless waves of sharp pain, but she knew better then to scream. No, unlike those other amateurs, she kept quiet or their enemies might hear them.


That was her name. She may not understand any other word but this one she knew and will never forget. Pyros whimpered, dreadfully sorry for failing her most precious daughter, her beautiful baby with the prettiest coat of feathers in the entire world.

An arrow had struck her side and she bled. She tried to touch her master but her head was too heavy. She was old but wise and she could feel the end creeping towards her, like she had seen many times on the battle field to other chocobos.

Agrias gently embraced her and stroked her neck, murmuring this foreign yet beautiful phrase in human tongue.

“I’m so proud of you.”

It was wonderful. And within a quick jerk around her heart, she saw her mother and her dearest chicobo, crying with red swollen eyes upon her young golden feathers once, long ago.


With just a soft flick of his sword, energy flowed through his veins, arousing his brain and every inch of his aging muscles. Others would have called it stealing but to him, it was all the same, the same luxury of power.

“That’s the last of them.”

By the time he got here, most of the archers were gone but the others were doing pretty well which was why he had to lend a hand. After all, he had to do something to look like he deserved his reward. No way in hell, was he going to go back empty handed when employed to wake up so damn early.

A tall and broad warrior on a rare black chocobo stared down upon his shorter stature.

“All done,” he said.

But his assurance wasn’t enough and his employer scrutinized his perfected masterpiece.

“Where is the girl?”

“Somewhere up there.”

He vaguely waved his hand to the road up ahead.

“You fool! Why didn’t you go after her?”

“I was busy saving these sorry asses!”

The truth was, he entirely forgot about that part of the deal but an excuse was better then none at all.

“Hey, we was doin’ just fine without you!” defended one of them. Duga, he believed his name was.

“Just fine? Five corpses against two weaklings does not look fine to me.”

The burly man boiled with mortification but his temper was quickly subdued by a quick mention of his name by his superior. His temporary boss turned his solid gaze back upon him, obviously displeased.

“Mister Gafgarion, I believe I did not employ you to save my subordinates. I must say, I’m quite disappointed in your service.”

“And wasn’t it that lank of yours with that sissy squeal!” added Duga.

“Back off, pal. He’s just a kid.”

“So? Doesn’t change the fact that he gave us away.”

“Alright! I’ll cut the cost. Happy, now? Besides, no need to fret. The blondie’s choco was hit. They shouldn’t be far.”

“Very well, then. Troy, Rever. Clean this up. The rest of you, follow me!”

With a solid hit of his heel, the black chocobo hustled away, leaving behind a branding stare upon the knight with dark armour; it was a warning, one that did not tolerate failure.

“Do it right this time, you lousy merc.”

The one named Duga spat just beside his boot before clumsily climbing onto his steed, a plain yellow one and rushed after his leader.

“Bastard.” He murmured.

“I’m sorry, Mister Gafgarion.”

The young boy, on the verge of manhood, looked away in shame. His left leg was roughly bandaged while dirt spread itself generously over his minimal protection of a leather vest. The smell of fresh country upbringing hung around him like bees to pollen.

“Hell yeah, you just cost me a good deal.”

“I’m really sorry.”

He hated it when people were sincerely apologetic because it forced him to reciprocate although he rarely does.

“Don’t sweat it, lad, nothing a little negotiation can’t fix.”


“Just cut the crap, Rad, we’ve got a job to finish.”


Pyros laid still, her laboured breathing settling into nothingness. Those vivid black eyes stayed slightly ajar, wet with the remains of pain dimly reflected in a pool of never ending darkness. She was warm, like the many times that she had embraced her. Gingerly, almost refusing to, Agrias removed her dagger from the nurturing breast of her chocobo. She wiped the wet blade over the roughness of her slacks and the leather soaked up every drop of it.

Sacrifices had always been inevitable. She knew this very well, a truth that was branded deep within her soul, even in sleep. Agrias returned her father’s emblem back beneath her royal blue jacket and stood up. She then placed her arms beneath the dead chocobo’s wings and began to drag the body into a side. It felt cold, almost burning to touch and without another look, Agrias concealed its existence with leaves and other scraps that she could find. The blood upon the ground was efficiently dusted away by a fallen branch to cover their tracks.

“We must leave, immediately.”

As if her voice was nothing but thin air, her charge just continued to lie upon the filthy earth, motionless.

“Are you injured, your highness?”

After moments of delay, Ovelia shook her head and slowly rose to her feet. Following her bodyguard, she copied Agrias’s hurried strides into the forest without a single clue of where she was going or even what they were running from.

“Where is Alicia and Lavian?” she asked, her voice was steady and rhythmic like a ceremonial drum.

Agrias hesitated but decided for the facts. Her superior was asking a question and the truth was mandatory under the Code of Honour. And the princess deserved it.

“Lavian’s chocobo went mad and Alicia went after her.”

“Are they alright?”

“It is uncertain your highness.”

“What about Sir Ormandy, Lady Celshia and the others?”

“4 casualties. Sir Ormandy and Lady Celshia stayed behind.”


“I don’t know.”

The answer seemed to satisfy her curiosity and Ovelia fell silent again only to interrupt the soft hushing of grass with another question.

“It’s my fault, isn’t it…”

It was then did Agrias noticed how pale the princess looked and how her features froze with dead vacancy. Not even a tip of tear was hinted within those emerald eyes or even fear, or panic or any conventional reactions which she was prepared to witness and deal with. She also recognized, for the first time, just how young the princess was. In fact, her charge reminded her of a little girl placed on a chair that was too high.

“No.” was Agrias’s firm and definite reply despite the hesitation.

But it wasn’t enough, not when your people were so desperate for your death. She had tried so hard to do what was expected and in the most logical sense, Ivalice should love her or at least be satisfied. But now, they were even denying her the most basic right that anyone owned, commoner or noble. To serve her country was her duty, and if their wish was for her inexistence, should she follow this will?

Agrias stopped and walked towards the princess who trailed behind. Her shadow and height covered the petite girl as she closed their distance until a bare inch was left.

“I’ll protect you.”

It was the least she could offer; to give Ovelia a chance to live. The princess deserved that much. No one should have that taken away. It would be beyond the most barbaric act a man could commit.

Agrias turned around but stopped once again when she felt her hand embraced within a timid clasp. She looked to the princess who immediately released her as if she was made of hot burning coal.

“I-I’m sorry.”

“I don’t mind.”

Her voice was soft as she laid her gloved hand before the princess. Ovelia seized the offered comfort, like a drowning bird’s last breath of fresh air and together, they slowly passed the forest with soft cautious steps, for even a speck of sound will get them killed if heard.

They did not have any means of transport and the path before them was the only way, a curving route to gently guide them to Igros. But they wouldn’t make it; it was only a matter of time before their enemies caught up, before the earth will rumble with alert and them, caught within a large net… like now.

Agrias ducked behind a tree, crouching low with the princess close by her as the distinct rumbling of chocobo claws became more evident and stopped.

“I’ve found the body!”

“They should be near!”

“Spread out!”

The grass rustled as fresh humans invaded its silence. Agrias gently drew her sword and the grip around her hand tightened. But she had to let go. One of them was quickly approaching their area. Ovelia could almost guess what her bodyguard had to do and she closed her eyes. Her hand was released and Agrias smothered the mouth, her thumb and forefinger pinching the nose. A quick slit along the throat was efficiently coordinated. Not a sound left the destroyed vocal cords as she mutely laid the body onto the ground and unnoticed they inched a bare meter back where they came from, towards one of the riders.

Ovelia shook, a desperate scream floating amidst her chest. It seemed almost better to just shriek and allow this nightmare to end. But Agrias’s promise steadied this maddeningly part of her and moved her body towards the next tree.

With the same fluid movements, the Holy Knight cleared another pursuer. Her heart rocked within her chest, begging her to hurry. She proceeded to the next one, not realizing her exposed angle and before her blade could touch the exposed throat, a scream thrashed through her fingers and into the air.

They saw her, all of them, their eyes twisting to their position. Agrias released the twitching body and dashed for the chocobo. She thought of Pyros but immediately vanquished the memory and with an efficient tug, she moved to the princess. Almost violently, she pulled her charge onto the chocobo and rode back to the road.

Another batch was already waiting for them, their weapon drawn with anticipation. Agrias swore, she rarely did, and using the chocobo’s heavy body, knocked down two archers and sliced opened an opening with sharp strokes of her sword. This was well planned, like a three course meal with Ophion being the appetizer, leading into the main course. She could almost feel herself being dragged into the last course, and their attackers would feast on their capture, a sweet dessert of satisfaction.

The fork was approaching, the one that Ormandy had mentioned but the path to Igros had thundering warriors on chocobos, their bows stretched, and she was forced to take the other, the one she had never taken before. Arrows zoomed past them, luck and her twisted riding pattern barely protecting their reckless escape.

Agrias had ducked behind the chocobo’s head, her view shrouded by large amounts of poor yellow feather that didn’t even began to compare to Pyros’s soft and perfect coat. She was determined to delay the inevitable as long as possible for she cannot die, not without a fight, not without being remembered for her struggle to be the best.

But it had come to an end, literally, as the forest disappeared into bare terrain and their paths abruptly ending into a deep darkness below their feet.

Bows were pulled tightly back and released. Agrias reeled her chocobo and arrows rained and punctured the animal’s body. In utter pain, the chocobo threw them off before falling dead, almost instantly. Agrias immediately got to her feet and a cold sheen of nostalgia ran through her.

They were surrounded. Armoured warriors, marching upon victory, circling them ring after ring, suffocating. They inched in unison, burdening slow as their prey struggled in their net. Several squires swung their swords and Agrias barely parried them away, her foot close by the chasm’s edge. She pushed them just far enough for a quick summon of her Holy technique. In an instance, the squires froze with sudden stillness, their eye balls rolling with spasms of fear and Agrias confirmed their suspicious by guiding her sword their immobile bodies.

Through the blood, a curt light caught her attention towards a man who oddly raised his sword into the air, his eyes closed with practiced concentration. His blade shone with a baleful glow that matched his armour and her stomach squeezed with a warning twist; she have seen this before, somewhere, long ago… and the blade dropped.

“Night Sword!”

Forbidden energy howled and invaded her like a deathly screech. Her prepared attack slipped away no matter how hard her mind battled for that special spark of Holy force. The sky above her darkened with sinister spirits, spreading its wrath over everything that composed her. It was like sharp poisonous claws ripping her naked flesh. She could feel her life force moving from her and into that man’s blade and body, depriving her of the ability to even scream.

The light then disappeared, into nothingness, the same sensation left within her, or rather a lack of. Agrias dropped to her knees, plunging her blade into the ground for bare support. She even almost forgot to breath as sudden exhaustion stripped her of everything except a coating of cold sweat.

Another set of attackers, monks, launched themselves before her and Agrias fought piteously against them, her armour and body taking vicious blows. Despite her efforts, the knight was shoved away like insignificant dust and onto the ground, her head dipping into the open air of the cliff. It was only then did that awkward attack seemed to subside. The princess was kneeling by her, calling her name but all she saw were looming swords above her head.

To be continued…

Just in case some people did not get the neck thing: in the previous chapter, Agrias was bitten by Alma and the gypsy.

Another thanks to Animeanie, my ever-helpful beta-reader!

Chapter 12

Seravy's Fanfiction