Power of the Stones Part 4

By Sid Palmer

Nelveska Temple

"So Barinten was killed," Asuglav stated.

"Impossible, we're unstoppable!" Ruvelia barred her teeth. Asuglav gripped Ruvelia's throat tightly and lifted her off of her feet.

"You fool!" Asuglav yelled and threw her through the heavy wood door breaking it into splinters, "You're going to end up dead thinking like that!" Ruvelia rushed him with a dagger. Asuglav sidestepped it and used all his force to slam her through the marble wall of the chamber into the moonlit night outside. "Its happened before, one by one Ramza killed us and its happening again. Usually one learns the virtue of cooperation when joining with a stone, but you are unusually stubborn."

"Barinten was a weakling, that is why he failed. Besides, he was beginning to bore me," dismissed Ruvelia stabbing Asuglav in the back. This time he pinned her to the wall with enough force to keep her in a state of agony.

"I think I'll let you spend the night like that," Asuglav said pulling the dagger out, "it will teach you a little discipline. Ohh, and I'll be leaving sometime in the next few days, I will need you to keep a watch over things here, I hope you learn your lesson by then. Asuglav left Ruvelia to squirm in pain.


Limberry Castle

"We shouldn't just stay here and rot with all the other corpses laying around," Olan impressed.

"Where else do you think we should go, remember, I no longer am in a position to carelessly walk through the countryside shouting my name for all to hear," Delita replied.

"But of all places not here," pleaded Olan.

"We're here because soon the Deidic Sect will make a fatal mistake and I want to be close enough to utilize it," Delita explained.

"Then why not go somewhere closer like Zarghidas Trade City," continued Olan.

"If we stayed in a city there is no doubt that we would be discovered," Delita reasoned.

"Your reputation will still be lost," Olan returned.

"This matter of the split with the Church is a very delicate matter for the elders, for everyone involved with the church actually. If I can carve out a foothold in this dispute I may be able to twist the elders' arms enough to force them to drop the charges. That is all I need. That is the only thing in the way of the people returning my crown. I must admit, the Church surprised me, but how did they find out?" Delita pondered in the cold silent hall of the castle that was filled with death.

"The elders can't just dismiss heresy, they've always been very strict with it," Olan doubted.

"Religion be damned, they'll do whatever they feel like doing. If something's important enough to them, they'll throw establishment out the window," said Delita sullenly, "Now I begin to understand how Ramza felt." Delita continued to think to himself while sitting in a dusty plush chair.


Igros Castle

After Delita had taken control of the government he destroyed as much of the remaining nobility as he could. In their place he installed regional governors. Gallione was from then on governed from Igros by the Douf family. The Doufs were known for their unswerving allegiance and Governor Sir Hrowen Douf, who was a commoner, was knighted for his bravery and fierce methods of attack during the Fifty Years War, elevating his family's status, something very uncommon. As a result he was well received by the people. Upon the announcement of the King's heresy people had become very tense. In order to try and ease that tension and take people's minds off of these events the Governor threw a ball for the more influential citizens of Gallione to attend that evening. Ramza found it an excellent opportunity to return home and search for the sword.

"I've looked almost everywhere and still nothing where is it?" Ramza wondered out loud to himself, "I suppose I"ve been saving this room for last." Ramza came to the door that led to his father's meeting room, now used by the Governor. Pushing at the door, Ramza found it locked. He wedged his sword between the door and its frame and pried. After straining against it for five minutes the old wood of the frame around the bolt cracked apart allowing it to swing free. Ramza stepped inside, closing the door behind him.

"My complements on the gathering tonight, Governor," mentioned Valwart, a family friend of the Doufs, as the live music continued in the background.

"I was hoping it would be an enjoyable affair," replied the Governor.

"I was wondering what your thoughts were on the King's decision, well when he was the King, to eliminate the province of Limberry and parcel it out to the adjacent ones?" Valwart continued, making small conversation.

"His thoughts were that since a large amount of Limberry is uninhabited the remaining population is not sufficient to warrant Limberry remaining "sovereign" in a manner of speaking. Also the fact that it was utterly devoid of leadership after the war contributed," Governor Douf explained. All the while Elgana Douf, Hrowen's daughter, stood by his side with an uninterested half smile plastered across her face.

"If you'll excuse me," Elgana requested and took her leave of the two. Elgana was bored as usual and found herself having to falsify her emotions more often. The fear of becoming truly dead to reality sat in the back of her mind.

The moon was bright enough that Ramza didn't need to light a torch to see. The meeting room had a large oak table surrounded by chairs covered with leather padding. Ornamental weapons hung on the back wall. Ramza remembered when the table had been covered with tactical maps and documents from nobility and royalty of many nations when his father helped to coordinate the Fifty Years War. Now it was bare, only a few trivial papers sat on a bookcase to the side. Ramza looked the room over, to see if there was anything hidden, to no avail. Ramza remembered his father telling him something about a passage in this room a few days before he died. He had said that his older brothers may take over the castle and possessions of the Beoulves, but the memories and things he kept there were for him only. Ramza walked to a window to see the moon. He glanced at the moon and looked into a courtyard below. People laughed at shallow jokes and acted like they were interested in what others said about themselves. Sometimes Ramza wished for that. He wished he could enjoy life. He almost wanted it enough to be willing to trade in the truth that he knew, and made him a heretic, for a chance at it. Just him, Alma, and whoever wanted to have a pleasant chat to live in peace without having to be exiled from humanity. Why do people have to keep secrets, thought Ramza to himself. Just so they have something that only they can use to have power over others? And why must people have power over others? Ramza was not interested in gaining some sort of superiority over people. Power is given to a person so he can bring order, Ramza continued. Fame and prestige has nothing to do with it, the person is burdened with the responsibility of bringing order. The person should be pitied, maybe admired for what he does, not revered and worshiped.

He is a servant of the people, the people assist, but do not serve him. It is at times of crisis, only the most grave crisis, that one is able to force the people to serve him through fear and the promise of salvation. That is what Delita had done. Even now the people want him as their leader for the promises he has given them.

Ramza noticed a small rod of metal protruding out from the wall under the window. After leaning as far out of the window as possible he yanked it upward. He found it to be a spring loaded switch that was pushed back to its original position after he pulled it. Ramza heard a clicking sound like a catch popping open. He went around the room pushing at the walls until he found a section that gave. The left side was hinged. Ramza strained against the heavy stone wall, which became more resistant the further he pushed it. After pushing the wall as far as he could, Ramza hopped though the opening that was just wide enough for him to slip by. Immediately the wall sprung back into place and clicked shut.


"So what?" Said one of two Royal Ivalice Knights stationed at Igros.

"Well, its been a piece of pie tonight," replied the other.

"Its "piece of cake" you moron, you stupid or something," relaxed the first leaning against a door. The door swung open just fast enough for the knight to be unable to stop his fall. "What the hell?" He moaned from the floor.

"Who's the stupid one now," chuckled the other.

"Shut up," the first returned to his feet and examined the door, "Look at this, the frame is broken. Someone busted open this door."

"Should we put a search together?" Asked the other.

"There's only us and two other guys looking out for the Governor. This is a ball, we didn't plan on having tight security. Let's just look around and keep an eye out," the first advised. The other nodded.

Ramza put his hand and wiggled it in front of his eyes to test how dark it was. He couldn't see a thing. Ramza pulled a special small torch out of his belt. The torch had been doused in black oil and given a light coat of sulfur. Ramza coughed when the torch was near his face. After pressing the end of the torch to the stone wall he pulled it while dashing. His feet touched only air and he tumbled down stairs through the dark. Ramza picked himself up and ran again, this time the torch flared allowing him to clearly see the door ahead of him before he slammed into it, being knocked to the floor senseless. After slowly sitting up, Ramza rubbed his eyes with the thumb and forefinger of his left hand. He picked up the torch and opened the rickety door made of wood slats running vertically.

Within, Ramza gazed upon the memories of a generation. Old maps and momentos of people long dead among other things lined the shelfs that filled the small dank room. Ramza noticed his father's coat of arms and examined it. Everything in this room was a piece of his father. His life was contained in it. Ramza looked at a dull metal award given to Balbanes for saving the King's life from an enemy spy. He noticed a dusty yellowed letter laying on a desk below a huge picture. After shaking some of the dust free, Ramza read it.

To my beloved son, Ramza,
   If you are reading this then I am glad. For it gives hope that my soul may reach some measure of peace. In this space I have left the effects of my life. When you look through it all just remember that this is the life I have done my best to live.
    Your brothers are strong practical men. However, I think you may understand all this better than them. Be wary of them, I fear they may already be walking down the path to corruption. Always remember that with total power comes total corruption. As a Beoulve you will be forced to carry a burden. Part of that, unfortunately, will be to watch over your brothers.
    Another part will be to use the power you have responsibly. Longer than anyone can remember, it has been the duty of our family to protect and serve Ivalice and to keep it safe from those who would abuse this kingdom and use this nation for their own gain.
    If you ever need assistance against such a foe, contact my good friend, Count Cidofolas Orlandu. If he has passed away you might try his adopted son Olan Durai. Remember to always do what you believe is right and never allow anyone to trick you into thinking anything different. Take good care of your sister, she is the only one left for you to love and you are all she has. I am proud to have you as my son.
       Your father,

Ramza left the letter on the desk as he had found it. He put his hands on the desk and used them to support his weight while staring at the ground for a long time.


Channel Between Mainland And Northeast Island

A strong breeze blew through the channel, stirring the waters and causing the flotilla of small soldier transport boats to gently rock.

"I'm glad you decided to stay with us, Agrias," mumbled Zalbag.

Agrias narrowed her eyes, "I stayed to help Orlandu and I'm only here to finish the job as far as Ruvelia and Asuglav are concerned. After that I want nothing to do with the Church."

"Still," Zalbag added, oddly calm from the bow of the lead boat. He remained silent for a few minutes and then, "We should reach the island before sunrise and maintain the element of surprise. After a few hours to prepare we will march right though the front door of Nelveska Temple. They'll be too confused and surprised to put up a sound defense. Then the Deidic Sect will fade into history.

"The Church will probably erase it from any text," Agrias spat ruefully, "but the threat will be gone."

"You are wrong," scolded Zalbag, "numbers may not be enough to kill the two demons, it may come down to a battle of skill. When that time comes I will have dire need of your assistance."


Zarghidas Trade City

"Come Olan, we have no time to waste, the Shrine Knights have already assembled for their attack on Nelvseka," Delita commanded.

"But why do we need to be there?" Olan begged.

"We'll talk on the way," Delita hastened. The two hopped on their chocobos and brought them to a gallop. "Through a twist a fate my destiny has become linked to Asuglav's. Then again I've always made my own fate."

"What are we going to do?" Asked Olan, with no comprehension of Delita's reasoning.

"What else.....


Igros Castle

Ramza looked up at the large picture and was surprised to find that it was of a woman. "Could this be the mother Alma and I never knew" thought Ramza to himself. She had a soft, kind look, not the proud, strong one found in most portraits. Many people thought bad of his father's accepting attitude toward commoners as he aged, and approved even less when he took a wife with blood that was not fully noble. Ramza didn't care, his father was a good man, and when he stared at he picture he couldn't ignore the feeling that now made itself felt. The feeling that a great injustice had been committed to him. That so many things had been taken from him: his father, his only friend, his birthright, his reputation, any relationship with his mother. No, there was a better word for it, his life. He felt anger and pity because his life had been taken from him, and more so because of the fact that he had had absolutely no control over it. Ever since Fort Zeakden he had wondered why this was his repayment for trying to do what he thought was the right thing. He was only trying to uphold the Beoulve name as his father had asked him to. People did not care about what was right, Ramza knew. At one time he was nieve enough to think people cared about what happened to each other.

It was then that it caught his eye. The sword he was looking for lay in a forsaken corner of the room, leaning against the wall as if it were just another decaying bauble. Ramza carefully wiped the dust from it and looked it over. The sword did not seem unusual except that it was larger than the average sword and at the point where hilt met blade was a metal circle where an indentation matching Orlandu's stone sat. The sword's scabbard was made of polished, dark brown leather inlaid with gold leaf bands and the name Beoulve. Ramza tied it onto his belt, left the room, and went back through the false wall. In the meeting room he tossed the torch out of a window to stop the odd smell it gave off. "I have to check on Alma," Ramza thought to himself. After peaking out of the broken door, Ramza slipped into the hall.

Elgana Douf set at the empty head table and occupied herself with munching on a chocolate confection. A few men asked if she was willing to dance. She told them she was too tired. Elgana never trusted these would be suitors, they were simply in it for her father's position or were simply too... too ordinary.

Hrowen took the seat of honor next to her. "So I find you here again. You should be out talking with people. Its very important to make connections for yourself. You'll need them someday," he warned.

"Don't you ever grow tired of talking to the same people all the time?" Elgana asked.

"I've seen people ask you to dance many times, aren't you interested?" Hrowen puzzled.

"Their all the same, can't you see that! All they want is for everything to stay the way it is. They have no new ideas, their thoughts have passed inspection as ones that good little nobles are allowed to think. All of their emotions are manufactured. Just once I'd like to see someone who had feelings of true joy at what they had and of true sadness at what we've become. Someone who had thoughts of a better world with real, caring people in it," Elgana wished.

"You still don't understand how things work, but someday you will," and with that Hrowen left. Elgana had enough. She began crossing the ballroom floor, filled with couples dancing, to go up to her room.

"Get back here!" Shouted one of the knights chasing Ramza. He couldn't believe that he had allowed himself to be caught. Ramza turned a corner and found himself in the ballroom. He quickly wormed his way into the crowd, trying to lose himself in the crowd.

"Damnit!" The knight murmured to himself. Seeing his counterpart he motioned for him to help search through the crowd. They picked their ways through, giving humble apologies when pulverizing couples. One of them saw Ramza, and as he was about to pounce was steamrolled by a couple. By the time he stood Ramza was gone.

Ramza saw one of the knights coming through the disorienting sea of colorful garments, and seeing a woman with no partner, snagged her, using her body to shield him from the knight's gaze.

"Mind if I take this dance," Ramza said, not caring about the answer.

"What an odd way to try and gain a lady's favor. Are you always so rude and abrupt?" Elgana posed, somewhat incensed.

"Please don't go, stay a moment longer," Ramza pleaded. Elgana could see fear in his eyes.

"Who are you?" Elgana asked, suddenly intrigued. Ramza let go of her and continued running through the crowd, crashing between people. Elgana could only look on in facination.


Nelveska Temple (Battlefield)

Somehow Zalbag's army had been spotted and a ragtag resistance began to issue forth from the temple.

"We should make our attack before they have time to organize," Agrias advised.

"Of course," Zalbag agreed. Something didn't seem right. The ground was dark and mucky. It reminded him of something very bad, but he couldn't remember what. Still, Agrias was right, the time to attack was now. Zalbag raised his sword and yelled into the wind.

"In the name of St. Ajora!" The men responded. The battlegroup began their charge with some slipping in the muck and being trampled. The two sides met in the field and the Deidic Sect immediately began to disintergrate. Wooden spears glanced off armor while iron swords easily pierced the sect members simple woolen clothes. Axes crushed and mangled their bones. The field took on a color of mixed red and black as blood entered the muck on the ground.

Zalbag was walking toward the temple from the rest of his men with Agrias in tow planing to search for Asuglav when, almost there, they turned around to take a look at the scene.

"I thought that this was going to be a battle, but I was wrong, this was a massacre, they had no hope of winning and we slaughtered them. These people didn't know how to fight. They weren't soldiers. They were followers for goodness sake," Agrias reasoned, disturbed.

"They were heretics. There was no place left for them. They let themselves be tricked by Lucavi, and the only way to purge them was death. You must understand, Agrias, the enemies of the Church must not be allowed to live. They are enemies of God," Zalbag related, grimly.

"We could have afforded them some sort of mercy...."

"I'll give you mercy," Zalbag and Agrias turned around to find Ruvelia as the source of the sarcastic words. She stood on the temple steps, in one hand stood a gold wand with a red jewel at its tip and the other pointed to the black ground in front of her. Zalbag's memory cranked out what it was: pitch.

"Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!" Zalbag screamed running toward Ruvelia. Smirking, she spewed flame from the wand and stepped out of the way as Agrias and Zalbag jumped and fell on the temple steps. Gorging on the nurturing fuel of the pitch, the flame reared up, and, spurred on by the wind, spread across the field with lightening speed, engulfing the Church army. Renewed cries of pain and terror spread across the plain.

"You knew we were going to attack!" Agrias exclaimed in horror as she and Zalbag stood.

"Actually, Asuglav was the one who foresaw it," Ruvelia replied.

"Where is he," Zalbag demanded.

"He's away now. He left me to take care of you 'loose ends'," explained Ruvelia, "I'll see your carcasses burning in Hell yet."

"Hell is for sinners and monsters like you, I have the power of God on my side," Zalbag said, hard faced.

Agrias also answered, "I may go to Hell, but you're coming with me!" With this Agrias unsheathed her weapon and attacked. Ruvelia deflected it and pushed her into the wall then turned to fend off Zalbag. Instead slamming into the wall, Agrias jumped up then off of it and over a blast of fire from Ruvelia's wand, kicking her in the throat. Ruvelia tumbled off of the steps and into the flames. She simply stood in them, unmolested, and smirked.

"I do not die!" She screamed shrilly, leveling the red jewel of the wand at them. Zalbag and Agrias leaped inside the temple and slammed the door shut as every inch of the entryway was smothered in flame.

Delita and Olan rode over the crest of a hill to see the valley of the temple burning.

"We're late!" Delita cursed, "Wait, what's that." Delita saw three people at the temple steps. He galloped off on his Chocobo toward them.

"How are you going to get past the fire!?" Olan yelled from behind.

"Follow me," Delita commanded, looking for areas that had not yet caught on fire.

Ruvelia levitated herself and then shot herself through the door and into Zalbag who tumbled down the hall. Agrias screamed as her arm was engulfed in flame for a split-second then pulled away. Ruvelia marched down the hall and with the end of her wand glowing with heat, thrusted it into Zalbag's gut. It would have burned a hole through him, but Agrias sliced into Ruvelia's side. The wound disappeared, and before Agrias could strike again, Ruvelia went behind her and pushed her by the head through a set of frail double doors, and into the next room. Ruvelia entered the room, full of furnishings and pillows and walked up to where Agrias lay to deliver the killing blow, when a sword from behind was pushed in and out of her midsection causing her to stumble and almost fall. She turned around to see Delita and Olan standing on guard.

"Where is your master?" Delita demanded.

"For the last time, he is not here, I am more than enough to keep you occupied," gloated Ruvelia.

"My steel always finds it mark, and as for you," Delita said pointing at Zalbag and Agrias, "beware, if you happen to be in my way, I will not discriminate in killing you." During all of this, Olan became increasingly unsure of why he was here, but he knew that the demons had to be stopped.

Ruvelia raised her eyebrows and gave a smile pulled to one side, "So its four to one, huh. Perhaps I'll actually have to try now?"

"Your hubris only seals your fate," spat Zalbag. Before he could attack, Ruvelia repelled him with a blast of searing flame from her wand. Delita was next, Ruvelia tried to trip him with a swing of her wand to his ankles, but he jumped and ran past. After dodging Agrias, Ruvelia took hold of her shoulder and tossed her helplessly across the room, putting her out of the fight temporarily. Delita renewed his assault and matched several stokes with Ruvelia before the heat of her rod forced him to pull back with teeth clenched. Zalbag rushed yelling a battle cry, but his sword was knocked from his grasp, spinning through the air and sinking in to one of the many couches in the open room.

Olan took the opportunity to make a neat slash across Ruvelia's back, but to no avail, and she set Olan's clothing aflame as he passed. Ruvelia decided to finish Zalbag while he was without sword, and would of decapitated him with a hard swing of her rod had he not blocked with his arms which allowed him to live with his left forearm bleeding heavily from the gem of the wand slicing him. Ruvelia continued after Zalbag who was now on the ground, crawling away like a worm, and tossing pillows at her to try and slow her down. She simply smacked them away which ripped them open, sending feathers in all directions. This time Delita stabbed her through the chest and quickly removed the sword. Ruvelia fell to her knees and was lacerated on the side of the neck which immediately spurted blood as she fell to the floor.

Delita decided to finish Zalbag for his own revenge, but Olan, still smoking, blocked his strike. Delita glowered at him with sudden anger, but turned his attention to Ruvelia who was slowly healing.

"Fool, you lose," Delita announced to her. Ruvelia gave a gurgling scream and wildly waved the fire rod spewing flame everywhere. The dry furniture and feathers in the air caused the entire room to burst into flame with crackling noises resounding in the air.

As all but Zalbag, who was trying to stop his arm from bleeding, continued to fight, the air was becoming thick and they began to cough more and more. Zalbag was becoming worried about his blood loss and, finding a smoldering stick, pulled it across his wound. The pain was difficult, but he was rewarded by the sight of a now closed injury. The four ran into a smaller room that had not been touched by the fire yet. Ruvelia, unaffected, entered and issued a yell that forced the four against the wall and had the added effect of causing the floor below them to crumble causing them to fall in to some sort of ancient armory. Ruvelia comfortably floated down to their level. Grabbing a spear, Agrias stabbed at Ruvelia, who sidestepped it. Agrias pulled the spear into the side of her head. Ruvelia angrily broke the tip off with her hand. Zalbag came at her with a ball and chain. He was quickly disarmed when his chain wrapped around the fire rod and Ruvelia bashed his face with his own handle. Delita found an ice rod and pointed it at Ruvelia, but nothing happened. In contrast hers blasted him, grunting, into a rack of axes which fell over in a cacophonous clanging.

"You think you can just point and shoot a magical weapon! Hah!" Exclaimed Ruvelia.

Olan decided to take another chance, but was sent packing into a wall.

Ruvelia was growing tired of this protracted conflict and backed into a position to burn everyone into cinders. Delita dashed up and thrusted the blue jewel of the ice rod into the red of the fire rod. They merged into one so that the rods were now like one staff with a ball of intense white light at the center. Delita backed away, letting go of his end.

"You can't combine ice and flame stones!" Ruvelia howled. The light was unbearable now and while Delita's side became incredibly cold, Ruvelia's did the opposite, burning the rod into her flesh as she screamed. The fire from above had managed to find its way into the armory and was consuming anything flammable. Delita reasoned that whatever was going to happen next would not be good and, taking another ice rod from the supply room climbed a staircase leading out with the others behind. They returned to the temple steps to see that the pitch was still burning fiercely. Delita and Olan mounted and, put the ice rod to the ground which extinguished it of the rod's own accord. They moved along the narrow corridor that was just wide enough that they did not incinerate. Zalbag looked to be on his last legs and Agrias helped him along saying she was only doing it as a favor to Ramza.

Ruvelia could not separate herself from the rod/staff. Finally she placed her hand into an open flame and from her mouth came a noise that no human could create as the flesh of her hand blackened and bubbles of vapor in her skin popped. Then she removed her hand and hit a burning table with the staff causing the hard brittle skin to snap off of her hand. The staff fell to the floor, now too bright to glance at.

"Asuglav is not going to be pleased, but I'd best go," Ruvelia yelped with pain in her voice while she held her right wrist tightly.

Delita, Olan, Zalbag, and Agrias reached the crest of the valley, and looked back to see the temple disintegrate in a pillar of white clear light erupting and shooting upward. The force knocked them down the other side of the hill, and if anything in the valley had still been alive it certainly was no longer. Even the fire had been extinguished.

"They're all dead," uttered Olan in awe.

"This is a severe blow to the Church's forces," Delita reasoned.

"They died serving God, and ending the blasphemy of that cult. They're with him now, and Ruvelia is in hell," Zalbag assured.

Agrias stared at Zalbag, said, "I'm done, I must find Orinas," and began walking toward the boats.

"He's deep in Bethla Garison by now," Zalbag yelled out to Agrias in the distance as he began to walk after her.

"I don't care," was her only reply. Both Agrias and Zalbag disappeared into a mist that had sprung up after the destruction. A small square envelope fluttered through the air, which Delita, still mounted, plucked. Written on the front was, "To Delita, From Asuglav". He slid a sheet of paper out and tossed the envelope. On the sheet was a rough sketch of someone and the words, "Now you know who I am, and you know where I will be waiting for you." With a stony face, Delita carefully folded the paper and tucked it away.

"Come, Olan," demanded Delita. Olan sat on his Chocobo looking away. "So, that's how it is?" Inferred Delita. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Well then, go on." Delita turned his mount to leave.

"Before you go," Olan asked, "Where are you going.....



Alma sat on top of the old stone tower watching as another day came to a golden-red end when she noticed a man in the distance on a chocobo. "Could it be Ramza?" She wondered. As he neared she decided it wasn't even though his gray hood made it impossible to see his face.

Ramza was in sight of the tower now and rode at a gallop. The closer he was the stronger his feeling that something terrible was going to happen became. When he arrived at the door to see it wide open and the locks ripped apart his heart began to beat wildly. He entered the dark room to see no sign of the remaining stones. "Alma," he called out. As he went to the stone table in the center of the room, Asuglav stepped forth from the darkness. On his shoulder was Alma bound and gagged.

"So, this is where you were hiding all this time," assumed Asuglav.

"I won't let you take her," Ramza said with fear in his eyes.

"I see you still have no idea who I am," Asuglav sighed.

"Tell me," Ramza demanded.

"Oh, and, don't worry about the stones, they're in safe hands, my hands," Asuglav assured.

"How did you find us?" Asked Ramza.

"The combined power of all of these stones in one place was finaly enough to draw me here. I'm guessing there will be a great deal of displeasure at my absence at Nelveska right about now," toyed Asuglav, "If you really want to find out who I am then follow me. We'll finish the game in that place where it began all those years ago. I think I'll take your sister as repayment for your nieve foolishness back then. That way we can see if history will truly repeat itself as the old men say it does. I've returned from death for this, to see what will happen, and to have my revenge. It is I who am destined to rule, not Delita, or whatever other common fool that comes along. Vae victtus!"

Asuglav tried to use his force to push Ramza out of the way, but it had no effect. "Ah, so you have learned some things," Asuglav noted. Ramza pulled out his father's sword, but Asuglav slapped it from his grasp and with his free hand tossed Ramza into a woodheap. Scraped and bloodied, Ramza picked himself up and ran to tackle Asuglav, but he grabbed him again and slammed Ramza into a wall. As Asuglav left and mounted his chocobo, Ramza stood up again, with blood streaming from his nose and blindly pursued him only to be kicked in the face by Asuglav's boot. With a faint smile Asuglav left Ramza there, on the ground bleeding from his nose, face, and hands, which mixed with his tears of pain and despair, while he slowly lost conciousness.


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