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May 28, 05 at 9:37am ^Final Fantasy Tactics: Dark and Divine
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Have you ever heard of the "Heretic War"?
Neither had I. Neither had any who had come before me, so completely were the events of the war concealed by the Glabados Church.
Immediately following the Lion War, another conflict immediately arose, driving the country back into civil war. This time, the fight for the throne of Ivalice was more direct, targeting King Delita himself.
Again, none of us know about this, because it was never recorded.
Except for one manuscript.
I discovered this long lost record during a thorough search of the now skeletal remains of the Orbonne Monastery in the province of South Lesalia. It was written by a previously unknown Scholar by the name of Gabriel Folles, the son of a Touten Knight from the city of Zaland. He chronicles the events following the Lion War from the perspective of the young Divine Knight Meliadoul Tingel, the last of the famed Tingel Temple Knights and friend of Ramza Beoulve. The story doesn't end there, however.
In this detailed manuscript, I discovered a piece of history that has heretofore gone unknown to the entire world, of a war fought between the King's Army, and the once recognized Church of St. Ajora.
The following account I have written according to events recorded by Gabriel Folles, in a record I have called The Heretic Story.
Won't you join me on one more journey into the "truth"?
What will you do with your empire?
Build an alliance with me, and create your own kingdom.
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May 28, 05 at 9:41am ^re: Final Fantasy Tactics: Dark and Divine
Author's Note: I decided against a prologue, instead using another Tactic I had in mind. No pun intended? I have also changed the chapter setup to conform more with the game's style. I hope you enjoy this. Read and review.
Chapter One: Falling from grace
Divine- Being in the service of a deity; sacred.
Knight- A defender, champion, or zealous upholder of a cause or principle.
At the moment, Meliadoul Tingel was neither sacred, nor a champion. She did not defend the weak and helpless under the watchful eye of the ever-present Lord. She didn't uphold a tenaciously clung to cause. In fact, the last member of the famous Tingel Temple Knights didn't even know if she still had a cause to live for, let alone cling to. Not after all that she had lived through. Not after seeing the atrocities committed by the church she had depended on. Not after witnessing her entire family be consumed by an evil so vile, so dark, so corrupting that it took her father's soul as it's own, and took her brother's life without hesitation. Being a Divine Knight, a mighty and holy guardian of life, held little to no value for the woman now. She had no friends, no family, and worst of all, no purpose in life. That was why Meliadoul Tingel, once revered and noble knight, spent her evening in a filthy, dimly-lit, run-down tavern in the once free city of Bervenia.
It was in this very city, over a year before, that Meliadoul met Ramza Beoulve. At the time, Meliadoul had been irrational and confused over her brother's death. She blamed the murder of Izlude on Ramza, because that was whom Vormav had directed her righteous fury at. She wouldn't call that man her father, since in Meliadoul's heart, she knew Vormav Tingel died as soon as he held one of the Zodiac stones. She knew he was a Lucavi demon even before she had seen one transform. She could feel that her father wasn't the same kind, loving, strong man she had known. He was dead inside. But because he had been that man, once upon a time, Meliadoul instead tried to kill Ramza. She failed, luckily, and pursued him. Meliadoul discovered the truth about her father, and joined with the "heretic" Ramza, putting her trust in him. It was not misplaced, and with the help of the rest of their compatriots, they defeated the Lucavi, and the demon that was St. Ajora. They had won. The demons were gone, the church was losing ground every day, and a decent, if manipulative, king was at the throne. It seemed that Ivalice would finally have peace. Peace, it would seem, was not in the best interest of the church just yet. The Glabados church was not ready to relinquish control of the provinces of Ivalice. The different branches had come together, combining their might and wisdom to combat a common enemy, the king, and Ovelia and the king were going to see to it that the church was exposed for it's lies.
Delita Hyral was a brilliant strategist, this Meliadoul knew. The problem he faced was that he was outnumbered. Delita controlled the Hokuten knights, the Nanten, and the remaining Black Sheep knights, which he once commanded. He had also managed to pull some of the ex-Temple knights into his ranks, those who found the church to be without purpose. All of these were organized into his Hyrallian army. The Glabados church, however, had everybody else. Delita had shoved aside a good number of people on his way to becoming king, and now it was becoming obvious. The church was well funded, well manned, and with a purpose. They wanted the Germonik Scriptures, and the king claimed to have no idea where they were. That was why Bervenia was no longer called the free city, and why all across Ivalice, small skirmishes had been popping up. So far, there was no declaration of war, but Meliadoul was sure it wouldn't be much longer. Not that it mattered to her anymore.
What did matter, however, was that Ramza was gone. He died, fighting alongside them, and with his death so too did their struggle against the church perish. None of it seemed to matter now that he was gone, not to Meliadoul, at least. He was the only friend she truly had, the last connection on the planet, and then he was dead. Meliadoul supposed that Agrias Oaks was a friend, but never to the extent as the young, noble Beoulve. The church now had only one enemy, Ivalice itself. They had only been able to gain support for their uprising by claiming that the king had been corrupted, and had gone against God's will. They claimed that all the pain of the Lion War, the Lucavi, the war itself, was all because of the heretics. Ramza and his evil army. The church then went on to say that they had somehow gotten to the most honorable king, and had deceived him into turning against the church. They were fighting for the greatest good, or so they said. It was only a matter of time before the entire country exploded into war once again.
Sitting at the bar, a cool beer in her hand, none of it really mattered. She didn't care for the danger in Bervenia, she didn't care for the war, and she didn't care about fighting for hope and freedom anymore. Meliadoul finished her drink, letting the rough brown hood on her head slide down a little further over her forehead. She wore a brown cloak, dirty and slightly tattered, and working clothes underneath. Meliadoul was a peasant now, according to her attire. That was how she went through the world, invisible. She no longer wore armor, no longer carried a blade. She was no longer herself. Immediately after the final battle, Ramza's friends went their separate ways. Some went home, some served the king, and others just wanted to be alone with their pain. Meliadoul had taken what money she had left, and bought a small house in Bervenia, deciding she could easily hide there. That was before the church seized the city by force, and its army marched through the city. It was becoming harder and harder to stay hidden, but she decided she could stay for a while longer yet.
Her dark eyes scanned the tavern, noticing people laughing and talking, enjoying themselves. No doubt most were soldiers for the church, hired mercenaries. If any of them knew who she really was, she'd be dead in a heartbeat. There were a group of them near the door, as a matter of fact. Dressed for war, and slamming down drinks. There were five, she counted quickly, all oblivious to the world. Probably what was left of the Death Corps, which would explain their behavior. Maybe even mercenaries from some other army, who knew. Meliadoul didn't care. She scanned the bar once more, her trained gaze stopping only once more, on a young man off to the side.
He was staring at her. Not near her, or behind her, but directly at her hooded gaze. The man sat at a corner table alone, nursing a drink and staring at her. His gaze was a dark green shade in the dim light, piercing, and uncomfortably calm. His skin was a slightly sun-hinted shade, and his hair was as black as night, cut fairly short and held up a bit from his scalp. The man's face seemed to be set in stone, cold yet not, as he gazed over impassively. A large, dark cloak covered the whole man's body, not letting Meliadoul see if he was armed or not. He turned his gaze away finally, looking off toward nothing in particular, as Meliadoul felt a prick slip up the back of her neck. She had never been regarded so distinctly in her disguise, and had figured nobody would even bother with someone who looked to be a poor farm girl. She had based what life she had salvaged on it. The fact that somebody had noticed, meant it was time to leave. Meliadoul paid quietly, stood, and made her way out the door. She took care not to draw any more attention to herself, but noticed that some of the men by the door eyed her suspiciously. She would be happy when she left the captured city.
Light reflected strangely off of the pooled water, as Meliadoul's leather boots gave sound to the night. She walked slowly across the cobblestone street, making her way back to the small, dilapidated house she owned in the slums. It was well past sunset, and the moonlight cast shadows through the city, reflecting from the result of a recent rain. The air smelled strangely fresh when compared to the normal odor of the dirty streets and buildings. It wasn't the palace like home she was used to, but her house was comfortable enough for a common girl, and so it worked for Meliadoul.
Stopping for perhaps the fifth time, her smooth brown eyes examining the surroundings again. She was on a main street, not far from the alley that would lead to the area of the Bervenia slums in which she found residence. Since she had left the tavern, Meliadoul couldn't seem to shake the feeling she was being watched, followed, though every time she stopped and looked, there was nobody. She blamed it on her already rattled nerves, and the attention she had received by the mysterious stranger. Feeling a cold shudder come over her, Meliadoul wrapped her cloak tighter against he slimly muscled form, letting the hood over above her brow. Even though again she saw no one following her, she picked up her pace as she went. Turning into the alley back home, she began to reminisce on the course her life was taking, as she had for many nights since the final battle.
The girl was torn. A part of her screamed for peace, and another for war. She wanted to be free of oppression, and wanted the same for others, always knowing that it was ultimately unattainable. She could still hope, however. Meliadoul looked back again, sure for a moment she was being followed, and for not the first time found her left hand resting on the handle of her small dagger within her cloak. It was a sharp and straight blade, the emergency weapon that all Divine Knights were given upon being issued the title. She had received hers personally from her father, long before he became one of the Lucavi, and carried it everywhere, just in case. It was a well-ornamented weapon, but was as well crafted as any.
Meliadoul turned back to the alley, stepping deeper into the gloom that was a shortcut back home, and falling back into her familiar rut. Depressing thoughts that brought about the pain she carried more often than the knife always followed her, ever since the day Izlude died. She secretly hoped that some day, she could be normal again.
Meliadoul had never walked into an ambush before, and didn't think she ever would. Her problem now was, she just had. Two men stepped out of the shadows in front of her, hands resting on the hilts of their swords. She recognized them immediately as two of the five soldiers at the bar, and they didn't look friendly.
She heard movement behind her, and turned, seeing the other three step in behind her, blocking off both exit routes. One stepped immediately ahead, moving closer to her. He was obviously in charge, and had a firm grip on his weapon. Meliadoul stood slightly slouched, trying to appear submissive. She had no sword, and no chance against five soldiers with just a dagger, no matter how skilled she was. The lead soldier stopped a bit in front of her, grinning like a shark.
"Strange," He began slowly. "For a woman to be alone in a bar this late. Even stranger for her to be traveling home all by herself. It seems rather suspicious, doesn't it?"
"Please sir, I'm nobody, simply a merchant trying to get home." Meliadoul said quietly lowering her head submissively. To which he just raised an eyebrow.
"You're nobodies daughter? No man's sister?"
"No sir, I live alone. Please, just leave me be "
"So, nobody will miss you if you're gone?" The man continued, smirking and glancing back at one of his soldiers. Meliadoul felt her heart drop. The church was known for hiring some of the most unscrupulous troops for their battles. Men that were capable of raping and killing a girl without a bit of guilt.
"Nobody will miss you, knave, if you lay one single hand on this woman."
All eyes darted toward the source of the calm voice. Meliadoul gazed into a shadowed position next to a wall, a low hanging roof obscuring the view of the person beneath. She took the time to size up her surroundings, hoping to make a break for escape, as the lead soldier turned completely toward the voice, drawing his weapon.
"Who goes there, show yourself!" He bellowed out, taking a step backward toward Meliadoul to keep her close.
"Take your men and leave, or I'll be forced to kill each and every one of you." The voice came again. It was calm and smooth, yet masculine enough that Meliadoul noticed a couple of nervous glances from the other men. Their leader simply laughed.
"You fool, do you have any idea who we are?"
"I don't care."
With that comment, the man left the shadows, and brought his own small war along. Two sounds echoed through the alley, a snapping sound and a whoosh of moving air. Two crossbows were fired at once from different hands, finding their marks on the two men blocking the way Meliadoul had entered the alley. The first man took a bolt in the chest and fell, and the other was hit in the shoulder with a very forceful shot, stumbling him. That was when Meliadoul got a look at the attacker.
It was the stranger from the bar, the one who had shown such a keen interest in her. His green eyes seemed to glow in the moonlight, black hair moving as he darted out from the safety of the shadows, throwing both bow-guns aside. His left hand came up to snatch the broach that held the thick cloak, and in one smooth motion he threw it aside. He was a knight, that much was obvious to Meliadoul instantly.
He was wearing light armor of leather and small plates, not the standard plate and chain that most knights adorned. He had no cape either, as most did, showing that at the time he was in service to no nation, and was not prepared for a war. Even so, the sword at his side gave him away. It was a weapon similar in design to Meliadoul's own sword, which she silently wished she had at the moment. It would prove rather useful in such a situation. As the knight ran ahead, he drew the sword. It slipped out easily, proving that he kept the blade in good condition and clean. Then he came at the wounded man. The crossbow bolt had stunned him, but the soldier had the presence of mind to draw his own weapon. The knight spun, the loud clang of iron on iron audible for a great distance. The knight knocked his weapon toward the side and in a quick rotation, drug the blade across the soldiers stomach.
Meliadoul saw her opportunity. She sprung forward, drawing the dagger as she darted at the leader of the squad. Aiming the blade low, toward his kidneys, she thrust hard, feeling the blade puncture light armor and flesh. Blood surged out, though none got onto her hands to loosen her grip. The soldier turned, a gasp of pain escaping as he tried to get a chance to attack her. Meliadoul had been a knight most of her life, and as such had the hand to hand combat training she needed. She tripped the man up as he was off balance, falling with him as he toppled over. She plunged the dagger down twice more at his side and stomach, taking his strength before he hit the ground. Once more she jammed the knife in, this time in a small gap between the armor below his ribs. He was dead quickly, and Meliadoul leapt to her feet.
She turned, as the mysterious knight stepped past her, toward the remaining two men. One had already reached them, sword drawn and coming down toward Meliadoul. She tried to leap back, hindered by her cloak, and almost fell. The knight stepped in front of her, his own weapon coming up to parry the attack easily. He shoved the soldier's sword up, and turned, hand coming to grasp Meliadoul's. He got a grip on her dagger, and pulled. Meliadoul let it go, and moved back a few more awkward steps. The knight finished his turn, striking the man's sword away again, then turning his grip and smashing the pommel against the side of his neck. The soldier winced, his guard dropped just long enough for the knight to drive the dagger into his chest, sending the dying soldier sprawling out onto his back.
In response to this, the last soldier turned and ran, darting out of the alley and off. The knight stalked off after him, after glancing at Meliadoul once to make sure she was okay, a calm and sure look on his face. He checked to make sure the soldier was gone, before he began to walk back. The knight pulled a cloth from a small pack at his side, and quickly cleaned the blade of his sword. He sheathed it, bending to retrieve Meliadoul's dagger from the dead man. He stood, and began to wipe down her weapon as well, giving time for Meliadoul to slink back into her thoughts. She looked around the alley, disgusted at herself anew.
No matter what she did, or where she went, death followed. Always it came behind her, dragging her into battle no matter how hard she tried to avoid it. She hated it. Despised the fact that she was powerless to death.
Perhaps there truly is only one way to escape a life full of pain
"My lady, are you unharmed?"
Meliadoul blinked, allowing herself to be pulled back to the real world, as the knight stood in front of her. He was smiling slightly, obviously trying to make her feel comfortable. A very noble gesture, and Meliadoul actually felt a little better. It was hard to have such self-destructive thoughts with him there. He was actually handsome up close, and his smile melted away some of her fears and sadness. Not to mention that he was an exceptional swordsman. She flushed, remembering he had asked her a question, and thankful the hood of her cloak hid her face from view.
"Yes. I'm fine sir, thank you."
The knight nodded, and dropped to a knee, offering the dagger back to Meliadoul, handle first.
"I believe this is yours, my lady." He said with a bow of the head. Meliadoul felt herself flush once more.
"Please sir, I'm no royalty, stand, you have no reason to kneel to me "
He did stand, letting Meliadoul take the weapon and sheath it, before he continued.
"For a common girl, you seem rather well in speech " He said, smile leaving slowly. The lack of his smile didn't seem threatening, and it made him look more honest than before. His green eyes scanned the area behind her, before coming to rest on her hidden face.
"Sometimes the least wealthy in the world have been schooled. It does not make their blood pure."
The knight smiled, nodding his head slightly to her. The answer satisfied him it seemed, even though Meliadoul thought she had said it poorly.
"What is your name, my lady?"
A name was something Meliadoul didn't know to give. She couldn't give her real one, for any soldier of the church would know she was to be killed on sight, and she had never taken the time to make one up. She hadn't expected to be confronted while in Bervenia, which was her own fault. She kicked herself inwardly for being so ignorant. Meliadoul's mind raced in search of something quickly, and almost immediately it came to her. When she was young, Izlude could never seem to get her name right, so after awhile her younger brother just called her by a short version. It had stuck, and since then he had always referred to her by the nickname. It wasn't fitting for the aristocracy, but neither siblings cared, and nobody but Izlude had ever called her that.
"Mel," She said quietly. "My name is Mel."
"Mel, a very pretty name. Am I to have the honor of seeing the face of one with a name so fair?" He said, though the smile was gone. He looked rather serious, though the young man's eyes were still aglow with a comforting coolness.
Meliadoul hesitated, before reaching up and pulling her hood back, letting the cloth fall to her shoulders. Her long brown hair was mostly tucked into the cloak, though now it was visible above her shoulders. The knight hesitated, looking at her long and hard for a beat. Meliadoul did not meet his eyes, and instead looked around the alley.
"You're beautiful " The knight said bluntly, and she couldn't help but snap her attention to the man. He stared at her, making the girl slightly uneasy. After a couple more seconds he smiled, and bowed slightly toward her.
"My name is Damien Valar. It is a great pleasure to meet you Mel."
Meliadoul almost blushed again, but fought it down. Damien stood back to full, and motioned out of the alley. She began to walk, falling into step beside the knight.
"I would like to apologize for following you, but as you left, that Death Corps squad did as well. I wanted to ensure your safety. Are you sure you're all right?"
Death Corps, why doesn't that surprise me
"Yes, thank you. I've seen bloodshed before "
"If you would like, lady Mel, I could escort you back to your home." Damien said, frowning thoughtfully. Meliadoul considered it, thinking perhaps a knight walking her home wouldn't be such a bad idea, seeing as all she had was a dagger. She decided against it, however, as they exited the alley.
"No, thank you though. I should be fine."
They both stopped, turning face to face once more. Damien smiled again and nodded slightly.
"Very well, but be careful."
"Perhaps I'll see you again, under better terms." He said, Meliadoul catching a hopeful tone to his voice.
"Perhaps you will." She lied. Meliadoul decided right then, that now was as good of a time as ever to leave the city. It was too dangerous now. She smiled herself, sad to find out it was completely fake, and walked off. She glanced back once, in time to see the knight emerging from the alley again, his cloak retrieved and draped over the left arm. He was watching her leave. Meliadoul stared straight ahead after that, acutely aware that she was beginning to regret the decision she just made. She had no choice, however. Meliadoul Tingel was a wanted woman, and no city, or knight, under the authority of the church could be trusted.
It was time to move on.
In a world of change, destruction, and rebirth, some things never changed. The ever-flowing rivers, the proud and tall mountains, and even the great capital city of Lesalia. The city was said to be a thriving metropolis even in the days of Ajora, countless years before. According to ancient writings, it was the oldest city in all of Ivalice and surrounding territories; it's construction so deeply shrouded in the past that no parchment detailing it had survived the centuries. Tall and small buildings both had been dated back for over one hundred years, well taken care of and solid. It had been the forward command post for dozens of wars, including the great fifty-year war with Ordalia. Here was the stronghold for the entire country. A symbol of strength and unity of a country. Which was precisely why the king chose to reside here, using it as his own kingdoms center of commerce and defense. It was also on the front lines with the cities controlled by the Glabados church, which was making the preparations for war move as smoothly as possible.
The church had drawn support in quickly, overtaking several cities and territories in the course of a week. It currently controlled the entire Eastern potion of Ivalice past the province of Lesalia. They had strongholds set up in Zeltennia, Limberry, and Lionel. The church had claimed control of some of the most vital cities and forts in the land, the first being Bervenia Free City. They made that their forward supply line, sending most of the mobilized troops through the city for battle preparations. According to the king's spies, the church had taken permanent residence in the far removed castle of Zeltennia, knowing that it would be nearly impossible to access without overtaking the surrounding lands. They had effectively drawn a line from Duguola Pass down to the execution site of Golgorand. The only thing on the front line the church couldn't claim, however, was Bethla garrison, though they had tried many times already. Delita had taken the intelligent move, sending a deployment of crack Hokuten and Nanten knights to the garrison, including a detachment of the remaining Black Sheep knights. The knights were having a hard time, however, as Delita's forces there were stuck in a vise, surrounded on two sides by enemy forces, and constantly on edge from attack. It seemed like a matter of time before Bethla would be overtaken, which would be unthinkable, for if the church were to retrieve some of their members imprisoned there, the tides of war might turn even more. It wasn't an option to transfer the prisoners out either, for the enemy soldiers had been keeping close watch on the easily defendable position, simply waiting for their guard to drop. As such, the king found himself without options. Which was why he summoned his commanders into the massive dining hall.
Delita sat comfortably at the head of a massive oak table, fingers wrapped loosely around a goblet of rich wine. His hair remained as it always had, back against his skull and down to his neck. The king adorned himself with light armor and a tunic of the finest material. For the king of the nation, this was actually rather modest. His dark eyes scanned the room, before he spoke.
"I assume you all know why you're here."
They all nodded, and Delita took a moment to gaze around the room. It was lavish and gigantic, taking up perhaps three times the size of a normal family home. Large tapestries were draped over the windows, letting a warm glow float in. They all bore the king's banner, a dragon coiled around a massive cross. The colors of the Hyrallian army. The same emblem was on the cape of every knight in his army, which helped to put any differences between the Hokuten and Nanten troops to rest. Delita focused on one of his personal aids, giving the dark haired boy a solemn nod. It had taken a good deal of convincing to get him on board, but he ended up joining for the same reason as the Holy Knight; for Ovelia. The queen herself wasn't there, as she was attending her own business throughout the castle. Even so, she sent her friend and confidant to make sure she knew what went on in the kingdom.
"Olan," Delita said casually. "Any word from the expedition force we sent by ship to Warjilis?"
"No my lord, no news since they left Goug two weeks ago." Olan replied curtly, though it still seemed to bother him to call Delita his king. Perhaps in time the young man would come to realize that Delita becoming king was the best thing to happen to the country. It would take time, however, and Delita let it go as he turned his attention to his own bodyguard and friend.
"I suppose you bring no good news either, Balmafula?"
The blonde haired sorceress shook her head slowly, frowning.
"I'm terribly sorry Delita, but the church seems to have either quieted my contacts in Zarghidas, or frightened them into hiding out." She was the only one who called the king by his first name, save for Ovelia. It was obvious she still found herself attracted to the king, even though he was unattainable. She was honest and trustworthy, however, and Delita often assigned her secret jobs that even his wife knew nothing of.
"Damn. War hasn't even been declared, and already the country is suffering. I'm not sure how well Ivalice can stand up against another full blown conflict " Delita said quietly, turning his attention to the Holy Knight.
"Are your knights ready to mobilize?"
"Yes sire. With the exception of the castle's personal guard, all my soldiers are as ready as they will ever be." Agrias Oaks traced a single finger across the rim of her glass, already having drained the burgundy liquid inside. She didn't focus on the king, but instead still upon her glass. She wore training armor, obviously coming to the emergency meeting straight from her sessions with the soldiers. He wondered where the old man was, if she had come in his stead.
"Good. I pray we can move out of this situation without the use of force, though it does not seem that way." Delita frowned, wondering why the last member of his chain of command was late. It wasn't like the young engineer. Delita didn't have to dwell on it long, as the young man shoved the doors to the dining hall open, and strode quickly in, a large bag slung over his shoulder. He was grinning from ear to ear, and practically danced toward his seat, after a quick bow to the king. Agrias rose, extending her hand to her old friend. He took it, nodding to her, and taking a seat next to the woman.
"Sorry I'm late, my lord, but father and I had been working extra hard. I promise that what I have accomplished will make up for it." Mustadio smirked again, setting the oddly shaped sack on the table in front of him.
"Well, what is it?"
Mustadio grabbed the bag, sliding it quickly off of the item within. He removed a long, narrow object, with a solid wooden piece a bit wider at one end, and a round iron pipe on the other. Delita stared at the object, trying to decipher its purpose. After a bit, he gave up.
"All right, really, what is it?"
"This," Mustadio said, snatching up the object and holding it for all to easily see. "Is a rifle. My father and I have been working on a way to increase the range and accuracy of the guns we're equipping the support troops with, and came to this. It's used the same way as the old kind, only now you have to brace it against your shoulder to fire. It can launch an iron ball twice as far, and almost twice as fast. We're currently working on different types of ammunition, from several small pellets fired at once, to a magically powered version like some of the more rare guns invented long ago."
The king nodded approvingly, finally getting some very good news.
"Excellent. How long do you think until we can begin outfitting men with them?"
"Well, it's going to take some time to build them. These are more complex than a regular gun, and we need to make a trip to Goug for more materials. That alone will take a couple of weeks." Mustadio said, sliding the rifle back into its pouch.
"That's fine, just go as fast as you can. This could be a great asset to the struggle."
Delita pushed his chair back slowly, and stood. The others in the room stood too, out of respect for the king, though he noticed that Agrias and Olan took their time. There was still tension against him, and he was trying to relieve it.
"One more thing. I know you all have different feelings about me, and about my actions, past and present. I just want you to keep in mind that I want the same thing you all want, Ivalice at peace. We have a common enemy here in the church, and we're all members of an elite few that know the truth about the world, about the war, about the church, and about the Lucavi. You all decided to side with me for your own reasons, be it for the country, the queen, or whatever else you may desire out of this. I promise you all, on my wife's honor, that I will do everything I can to right the wrongs in this country. I won't betray you, any of you, as I had in the past."
Delita sighed, walking toward one of the windows, aware that all eyes were on him. He stared out over his kingdom, staying silent for a minute or two, phrasing his words carefully.
"I have the world in my hands, but Ivalice is a burden I'm not strong enough to carry on my own. That is why I need you, all of you, to trust that what is going to happen is for the best interest of the country. No matter what else you believe, believe that."
Delita paused again, hands crossed behind his back as he continued to stare out across the city from high above it.
"That is all. You may continue with your business."
Delita heard them leaving silently, no commentary to his speech. He hoped it would have the desired effect on them, and he had been as sincere as completely possible with every word. He just prayed they could see that. After a full five minutes, the king turned and began to walk back to the table. Delita was halfway there before he noticed he really wasn't alone. The Holy Knight stood next to her chair, staring at him impassively with blue eyes.
"Yes Agrias?" Delita asked, gazing right back at her.
"I want you to know this right now. I don't agree with what you've done, and how you came to become the king. I'm here for but two reasons, and neither of them makes me loyal to you. The first is because I took an oath to protect Ovelia no matter what happened, and no matter where she ended up. As long as she lives, and as long as I breathe, I will follow her commands and act in the best interest of the queen. I train the men here in the ways of the Holy Knights because these are good men, who take great pride in their country and what they fight for. I will continue to help and train them to the best of my abilities, but know that I don't trust you, and I don't know if I ever can. Not after all you've done."
Agrias bowed slightly, before turning, and walking to the heavy doors out of the dining hall. Delita watched her go, realizing something just as her hand was on the door.
"Agrias, wait." He said quickly, causing the Holy Knight to glance back at him. "What is the second reason you're here?"
"Because," She said coldly, and Delita thought he saw a pang of grief pass her stern features. "Ramza died fighting against this evil, and I'll be damned before I let that be in vain."
Then she was gone, and Delita dropped back into his chair, hand coming to rest under his chin.
Ramza, my old friend. Can you really be dead? Are you only a martyr for my cause? Have I betrayed you as I had so many before? Am I wrong ?
What will you do with your empire?
Build an alliance with me, and create your own kingdom.
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