With Hilda recently kidnapped and nothing better to do than to play fetch, Maxim and Tia joined with Guy on a quest to get his sister back. Their destination is a tower to the south-east of Tanbel.

The walk is brief and the party arrives at the base of a massive tower that stretches into the sky. The aim is, quite obviously to get to the top - however hoards of monsters and more puzzles await the party upon entrance to the tower. Fighting their way through, it's found that Guy is quite good with a blade, albeit a little slow. Well, at least when he actually gets a hit in, it does a significant amount of damage and mosters fall to either side of him, cleaved like a block of wood being readied to light a fire in the hearth. How heart warming. Only, minus the splatters of blood, and other liquid sustenance of the enemies.

The apex of the tower is reached only upon finding a key, operating a lift platform and lowering a ladder all which consists of a lot of going back and forth. Finally at the top, and almost out of breath the party enter the locked door to find Camu holed up with Guy's sister Hilda. Why someone would lock themselves in a room and wait to be caught up to is beyond me.

Guy exchanges some words with Camu and then the battle begins. Unfortunately, Jelze does not really like this battle, and gets barbequed pretty quickly by the attack that hits everyone with swirling flames that dance across the screen. Anyone fancy some toasted marshmellow? Without taking a moment out to enjoy the treat, the party make short work of Camu. Before he dissapears, he threatens the party by attempting to make the tower collapse. Despite the fact that the very foundations of the building shake, the party just stand there. Come on! The Catfish got more of a reaction than this!

Before the walls can crumble around them, the party end up being rescued by Iris, the mysterious woman that approached Maxim previously. She gathers the party together and teleports them back to Tanbel... BUT BUT!! There was treasure at the back of the tower! Great! Now there is a second trip that will need to be made!

The party arrive back in Tanbel minus Iris, which seems suspectively like one Viki from the Suikoden series. ACHOO! Ooops, where was I?

After Hilda rests up the party meets Guy's girlfriend, Jessy who promises to look after the injured woman allowing Guy to join the party and allow them to be off on their jolly way. Next stop, Clamento! But one must head through the tower first. It was quite an arduous trip, but by redoing all the puzzles and ascending to the height of the tower, one finds three treasures that are of benefit to the party, one being the Camu Armour which has the ability to heal the party 25% of their HP for a fraction of IP. Sounds like a fair trade off.

After their descent from the tower and a trip north, the party soon finds their way to Clamento. It's a small settlement in the middle of nowhere, presided over by a rich man who dearly desires the Ruby Apple from the cave to the north. Do I smell ANOTHER fetch quest? AGH! One of the stores is a glass craft, where the lady advises that her husband, Jaffy is currently out and has been for awhile. What's he up to...?

Setting out north, the party end up at the Ruby Cave where they have to trak through lava infested caverns to get the the bottom. Upon entering one may notice another Capsule Monster sitting idly, and can even shoot arrows at it. Unfortunately, the arrows don't do anything (Although maybe the abuse could be a reason to disloyalty as to why Blaze escapes from battle when he loses a fraction of his health...?) The party eventually run into him and he also joins without a battle. His eye quirks as he looks at Jelze. Is it edible? Hrm...

At the very bottom of the cave the Ruby Apple is found. But as the party approach to pick it up, a monster appears before their very eyes. I-I-It's a GIANT SPIDER! GYAH!! I HATE SPIDERS!! But luckily, like other monsters in the cave (For some reason), it's suspectible to fire based attacks. Wow, live in a fire cavern and you're weakness is the very atmosphere you dwell in. Time to find a new abode? Or maybe hell will be more fitting? The party defeat the monster and send it on it's merry way. Unfortunately, in the battle the Ruby Apple gets shattered. Hang on though... ruby isn't supposed to break. Guess it was made of glass? Heading into the back of the cave, the party run into Jaffy who was the next meal of the Tarantula. Greatful for saving him, he gives the party another Ruby Apple also made of glass. Maxim decides to be sneaky and sell it off as a real ruby to the mayor of Clamento in an attempt to gain lots of money. Tia is gobsmacked by the very idea, however Guy's eyes light up in anticipation.

Returning back to Clamento the party part with the fake apple and receive a sizable amount of money that Maxim sees fit to give to the glass shop so they can pay their rent (You see, Jaffy was gambling his money on the poker machine in Alunze. Tsk Tsk! He won't take the money at first, but eventually parts with a glass trinket that Maxim gifts to Tia. She's so excited that she jumps around like a lunatic. Um yeah.. keep it in your pants, honey!

In gratitude for the apple, the town owner allows the party passage to Parcelyte Kingdom in the north. Tia sighs as she's sick of all this walking, but the party hike up their skirts and set out once more.

Arriving at the Kingdom of Parcelyte the party find a young girl being bullied who is saved by a very sexy looking woman. The woman runs off to the castle, and the men follow with their tounges dragging in the dirt. Tia throws a scornful look at Jelze for eating her cooking supplies and it just gurgles in satisfaction.

Arriving at the castle, the party witness the woman, Selan, sparring with a soldier whom she annihalates. The party are so awestruck by her that Tia has to stop them from lolly-gagging by threatening Guy to tell Jessy that he's whoring himself out. He pulls himself into line. Although secretly Tia wishes that her own breasts were as big as Selan's...

Anyway, it appears that the King wants a treasure from the north and has been waiting for Maxim after hearing of his good deeds in Alunze Kingdom. The party accept yet ANOTHER fetch quest and are made to pair up with Selan to collect the Treasure Sword. What is with these people and their fetishes for particular items? First and apple and now a sword? Not like either of these items are at all useful! Setting off, the party engage in nothing short of blunt conversation as Selan really doesn't need their help. After all, a flash of breast and the enemies are charmed. ;D

The party eventually arrive at the shrine and complete the complex puzzles until they reach the centre chamber. Here two clowns appear and challenge the party. Only, when defeated individually, they revive prompting the party to consider their strategy. Selan comes up with taking on both enemies at the same time, and thus they split up to do so.

With a hack, slash and some magic thrown into the fray, the two clowns die a painful death, and the party obtain the Treasure Sword. Now to sell take it back to the King in Parcelyte. Selan threw me a dirty look when I suggested selling it, and I don't want to mess with her.

So, the party return with the blade, hoping that Selan won't take all the credit, and that she won't leave the party as her figure strikes a pose upon the battle field when the wind blows the drapes of her dress over her head... >_>;


(By the way... why does Selan's leg look munged up in the artwork posted in this blog post? Well, it's something I can not answer. Obviously the artist did study anatomy... >_>; Maybe I'll try a better version for my next post? Look out for it! ;D )

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So when we last spoke, we left the heroes in a bit of a bind as they had to navigate their way through the dilapidated basement of Alunze Castle, leaving behind a guard with a nasty bruise to his head (And ego) and another that proclaims that he had been sleeping, but doesn't want anyone to find out!

The basement really could do with a big make over. There's so much space to be utilized. Some carpet here, drapes there, and maybe a few items of furniture and voila~! The King has a nice little illegal gambling hall right beneath his very castle. I'll just get on the phone to Grace Adler Designs, I'm sure she'll do a grand job! ;D

What I don't get though is that amidst the drab setting, there is a puzzle that one must solve involving coloured blocks that must line up in sets of three or more. They look like large clusters of jewels. Can you imagine the size of Maxim's pupils when he sees this. Wow! If he could sneak these puppies out of the dungeon then no-one would need to worry about seeing the crown jewels, or whatever. Push the blocks to align with each other, gathering the same colours together and... Pop! They dissapear! Oh well, better luck next time. At least when the puzzle is completed correctly, the door opens so that the heroes may continue their pursuit.

I must make mention though that I do admire the courage of JELZE the Foomy. Whilst he may be a white pudding of edible description, he can packa punch. He also doesn't escape from battle which means that the monsters may sometimes focus on him. This can be good in some regards, but then there is the fact that sometimes he'll just randomly defend. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! You haven't even taken any damage you blob of lard! Or maybe it's curdled yogurt? TASTY!

The party eventually catch up with the fleeing thiveves only to jump down into an empty aquaduct. This action sees the crown bandits on the other side of the causeway who step on a switch to raise a barrier between the two. Oh uh! It looks like the party are now in a predicament because they are in a part of the aquaduct that can have water channelled through it, and the water switch is on the other side where the bandits are. Berty and Bart dance around in victory before click, water comes through and washes them away like deadwood. They didn't even have a chance to change into bathing suits, the water came that quickly! But, as Tia so aptly puts... What weirdos!

The crown can be found a little ways down, appearing to have been dropped by the misfit bandits. Perhaps they should have just stuck with using bombs?

Reclaiming the crown, and a small victory, the party return to see the King. In gratitude he offers the party a reward of options that they can choose from. Maxim, being the gentleman that he is, asks for nothing which prompts a reward of 3000 gold! Man can this King cough up! Another option is to ask for "King". One would presume that this would mean that Maxim wants to be King, however the King completely blows the whole situation out of context, assuming that Maxim wishes to go to bed with him. This would, of course leave a perplexed and puzzled look on Tia's face, an uncertain one on Maxim's, a large grin on the King's and a shift in putty on Foomy's.

Back to reality though, the party end up heading back to town to rest and find out that a child, Abel had taken off to the North Shrine. The party decide it would be nice to pay the kid a visit - even though they don't know him. Tia has lots of candy though!

It's found that the door is locked and the kid is nowhere to be seen, so the party head off to a cave north-west of Alunze to find yet another dungeon, and the kid with a look on his face that a child could only provide when they have peed their own pants. That sullen look of guilt. The party discover that he threw the key at a monster in an attempt to be rid of it. Well, the kid wasn't eaten, so it must have worked. However, like the Lizard Man, the monster decided to run off with the key to the bottom of the dungeon. This is all found out by Tia who plays super mum, and even thinks on the point that she's ready to have children. IF ONLY MAXIM WOULD PUT OUT NOW!! Wait, shouldn't the girl be refraining? Tia, you little whore... >_>;

The dungeon is one that is long and arduous, consiting of falling down holes in the floor, pushing blocks and pillars and getting trapped in spike traps with hungry Cobalts after them. At least the monsters have the civility to keep themselves in check and not display their cravings and lust like a certain breed of Skeleton...!

On the bottom most floor the party enounters the Regal Goblin, so self proclaimed due to the armour that he wears. He looks more like something out of Star Wars than anything of regalia to me. But, whatever floats his boat. He wasn't even that powerful either, taking a few strikes to take out. Even the magic weilding companion he summoned wasn't much of a match for the might of Tia and Maxim, not forgetting the marshmellow Foomy of course! Eeeeeeee!.

The Shrine Key is found in a blue chest held behind spike traps and taken back to the shrine where the party let through a woman named Hilda who's daft and tries to get through the door before it's been unlocked. Silly woman! She tells the party that she's from Tanbel and ask them to pop around for a free stay. Sounds good to me.

When the party finally reach Tanbel they find Hilda who introduces her brother, Guy who spars off with her with sexist words, proclaiming that women are useless. I can just see Tia's fists bunching up as she prepares to swing that Fry Pan, and using the Chop Board to deflect any retalitation. She pats her dress down looking for the items and turns to a burp / more a gurgle from the Capsule Monster. Part of the board and the handle of the pan seeping into the white mess. WHAT?! IT ATE THEM?!?!

Hilda goes to set up and cook a meal, leaving Guy to invite Maxim to spar. The invitation is accepted and as Guy is about the perform his super finishing move, jumping into the air for dramatic effect, monsters appear. Two cronies are directed to attack the party and despite the boss music playing for epicness, the battle isn't at all epic - not in the least. The cronies go down quite quickly leaving their boss to sulk and run away but not before kidnapping Hilda.

Here we go, another FETCH quest. I am starting to think that this is a game that's more suited to dog training, considering most of the quests are fetch this, or fetch that. Never mind that the actual item in question is a person. However, if she wants to be objectified then so be it. Well with nothing better to do, the party decide to join with Guy to rescue his sister.

What good samaritans! ;D

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Yes! That's right. So it's onto more Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals.

Maxim managed to settle the earthquakes caused by a tempermental catfish monster that was unhappy about being bored, so decided to cause some tremors in the hopes that someone from Sundletan would pop in for a spot of tea.. or something. Well, unfortunately he ran into Maxim who taught him a lesson. He made a promise to not cause anymore trouble and then settled back into the water. Good thing too, because I wonder if he is edible? Maybe Tia would have been able to use some LEMON to spice him up a little??

Speaking of the chef, she decided that all by herself she would follow Maxim into the Lake Cave... but oh no! They missed each other causing the hero to have to backtrack and try to find the woman. A scream upon entrance to a room dictates that she is very much alive, however being accousted by some sexually deprived monsters. Why do I say this? Well one Goblin is holding her whilst the Skeleton appears to be positioning it's blade into a phallic position. Too late. Maxim comes in to the rescue and the monster still has the sword pointed the same way. Maybe if the hero were to turn around and bend over it could still get it's pleasure...

No luck. They end up dead and Tia declares that she's FINE, running off into another Goblin who needs to be dealt with. Geez, why are women so weak in the classic era games? Take Princess Peach for example. She sends Mario through a quest to only receive a response from Toads that have an unrequited love for the plumber. "Sorry, but the princess is in ANOTHER castle." Wait? SAYWUTNOW?!

Anyway, Tia becomes an addition to the party which isn't really all that welcome until you take the time to build her up a little as she is kind of weak.

On the way to Alunze Kingdom the party end up in Foomy Woods where they meet a Foomy which looks like the residue of a few dozen marshmellows that have been roasted over a fire and then flicked into the neighbour's back yard. (Don't say that you've NEVER done this, because that would be a LIE!) The monster joins without a battle, and you get to have the pleasure of it tagging along and attacking with a trademark punch named after itself. How a stack of roasted marshmellows can form itself into a punch is beyond me though...

Que the arrival in Alunze Kingdom where a coronation ceremony is about to be held. And the public are allowed to view the crown. Here's a state that's really asking for trouble. It would be like saying "Residents of England, please come view the crown jewels which are out in the open. Hands off, now!"

...

Not THAT kind of jewels, people! That would be public indecency! HONESTLY!

So you guessed it, it gets stolen by some thieves that throw a bomb, but forget to light the thing first. It blows up in their faces and they are both thrown against the wall, however miraculously THEY SURVIVE! A little disorientated from the blast, they manage to gain their bearings and run off, WITH THE CROWN, WHILST THE NATIONAL GUARD STAND AND WATCH! Now, if I was the King I'd have them all beheaded (Or would that make me the Queen?)

Follow the thieves, named Berty and Bart (Charming names) to the basement where a guard is unconscious on the ground because... A BOMB BLEW UP IN THE THIEVES FACES, but shrapnel hit the man in the head and knocked him out. How perfectly normal humans can survive a blast at point blank range of a bomb, yet knock out a soldier from flying shrapnel beats me... but that's the way the story goes.

Following the trail of the thieves takes you into the castle basement where there are monsters because people have decided to not use the basement for a loooong time. But then, why are there decaying walls that you can bomb blast (I guess the plasterers did a bad job patching up the walls. Maybe this was the dungeons of punishment, torture, and kinky LOVE?) And why are bombs just lying around to pick up and place in front of the walls?? OH&S issues PEOPLE! Regardless... the enemies here are just plain tough if you decide to attack, attack, attack. So I'd advise making Tia useful with her magic and blast the sh!t out of the monsters. ;D




Also, for those interested, I have started a Classic Gamer's Society, a somewhat gentry club if you will, but women are permitted. ;D

If you join and participate, I shall love you long time. LONG TIME!

Classic Gamer's Society

...

LONG TIME!



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So I decided to dust off some of my old games and came across Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals. It is a basic game in most pretences and tends to follow the typical format of one journeying across the world, finding companions and then rallying together to beat up the bad guys who are seeking to destroy the world as it's known.

The bad guys in this game are known as Sinistrals. The funny thing is, that this game is the prequel to Lufia. I haven't played much of the original game considering it's lack of localization on Australian soil, however from what I did manage to play there is common similarities in the systems and mechanisms used.

Oh, as for the title... the lizard enemies drop Charred Newt when they die... sometimes. How... appetizing!

Anyway, I stopped when I reached the town of Sundletan. It's the one that has the tea house, and the second village you come across on the journey. You can pick up a spot of tea, but it doesn't really do much... honest! And it was supposed that antioxidents were good for you!!

Did the whole Grandpa training cave where an old man takes Maxim out on an adventure, alone. Just... don't bend over ya hear? How the man gets through the cave is a mystery, considering his age...

Road to Sundletan is next where you fight a lizard man for the key that the reptile managed to steal and lock the door with. The fight is pretty much hit, hit, hit, potion, hit, hit, hit. AHA~! I WIN!! Being the selfish guy that he is... Maxim takes the key with him and heads onto the next town. Oh, before that a woman named Iris comes along and tells him that he is the destined one. Um.. right lady. You're creeping me out!

When he enters, an earthquake hits which some debate was caused by a giant catfish, whilst others say it is a giant man stomping. >_>; My question is.. why does Maxim run around like a lunatic with his hands on top of his head in the open? It's like FIRE RAINING FROM THE SKY!! But... not.

Now onto a random topic of ... FISH!

Tia cooks one in the home town of Elcid which Maxim partakes in eating (A growing man needs to keep up his strength, ya know!). It's horrible, which is attested to the actual catch, rather than the woman's cooking (Or maybe it's all LIES?). Personally I think they are both skirting around the subject so that Maxim doesn't end up with a frying pan smacked into his face. Tia is quite good at weilding one of those along with a Chop Board. Wow! She's all set for a grand adventure. Anyway... no matter what anyone else says... if something tastes bad, no amount of lemon dousing is going to make it taste any better, even if the citric fruit usually compliments a fish dish. OKAY!!

It's also apparent that monsters can join the entourage... well let us hope it's not like that silly pink balloon from Guardian's Crusade. Attack the enemy! That's right... Good Bo--WHAT?! Why are you eating my face now? STUPID PINK MONSTER! GET OFF MY MOUTH! I CAN'T BREATHE!!

Anyway, the monsters are called Capsule Monsters (And are not to be mistaken for Pokemon) and there is a total of seven (Which attests to them not being mistaken for Pokemon, as they all have different elements and DIFFERENT MOVE SETS!).

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Migelo is a Bangaa who runs a sundries store in Rabanastre. He asks Vaan to go fetch Kytes from the Sandsea Tavern, who appears to have become waylaid - as he was due to fetch some replacement supplies to fill in or a load that wasn't delivered through the desert. Reluctantly, Vaan agrees to take on the task.

A quick trip to the southern plaza shows that the gates are all closed bar the East Gate which requires a writ to pass through. Best do as told by Migelo.

A brief tour of the rest of the city will show that a lot of the stores are still preparing for business and that a fete and parade are soon to begin to hearld in the new Consul. Various residents also make mention to Vaan's thievery skills, his resemblance to Reks, and also muse over the death of Princess Ashe, and the oppression Archadia has placed upon Dalmasca.

Heading into the Sandsea, Vaan is greeted with a cacaphony of pitchers clanking against each other and loud conversation as people discuss their next Mark. Kytes is caught loafing around near the board where Marks are posted and it is found, through Tomaj the keeper of the tavern, that a particularly nasty monster has been preventing couriers from getting through the Estersand. Sounds like a job for the aspiring Vaan to take on!

After finding out details about the Rogue Tomato from Tomaj, he will gift Vaan with a Clan Primer to keep track of all the Marks that he will be pursuing. Neat! He will also give Vaan an Orrachea Armlet which he chides him for not being able to equip due to not having the Licence. Tomaj then explains the Licences and what they do. Basically to use anything a character must have learned the Licence for it first. This includes magic, armour, weapons and even summons! By giving points to a certain Licence, it will open up the opportunity to learn the ones stationed next to it. So it’s very important to learn as many Licences as possible!

Finally, Tomaj will also give Vaan a Writ of Transit. Now he’ll be able to leave the city and head out into the desert. Vaan heads out to the East Gate and has a little tiff with the guards before they let him through. A package can also be delivered from the Bangaa inside the gate to the one outside. It doesn’t achieve much though…

Leaving the city gates Vaan is faced with a vast expanse of desert that stretches out before him. The Dalmasca Estersand plays host to a variety of enemies of the cacti family as well as some wolves and other beasts best left alone. Taking on the Rogue Tomato, it narrowly escapes death by jumping off the bluff behind it.

Following it, Vaan enters into battle again, narrowly avoiding death from it’s flaming breath. Once it’s defeated it will expire near a handful of Galbana Lillies that Vaan will collect as a souvenier before heading back to town.


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And so a new journey begins.

Inserting the disc into the tray of the Playstation 2 that I have had to dust off, the whirring click of gears in motion lets me know that the console is still in an operable condition. Picking up the television remote to change the settings of my LCD TV, I am greeted by the traditional fanfare of the Final Fantasy franchise as the opening movie exhibits itself and fades into an image of a Judge before a logo that depicts the game title in harmonious font. I edit the settings for my new game, and sit back as I am drawn into the adventure...

So it all begins with the marriage of Ashe to Rassler and the occassion seems to be quite joyous, mounted with celebrations and attendance of all the races in a royal accord, following a float that descends through the city of Rabanastre, where flower petals fall in abundance to mark the occassion. Switch to a war scene where the King is alarmed to hear that Nabudis has fallen to the enemy army of Archadia. Basch, a general of Dalmasca, and Rassler determine that they will head in for back up in an attempt to overthrow the enemy and put them in their place.

Unfortunately, the situation is a lot worse off than it would have originally appeared. Knights of the Archadian army are swarming like ants across the vast expanse of the city with the enemy airships being scant held back by a large erected Paling that soon falters when the mages sustaining it are slayed by knights. In the distraction, Rassler is shot in the chest with an arrow from an enemy soldier and is grievously wounded. Basch collects the man before he falls off his Chocobo, and defiantly battles his way through the soldiers to safety.

Back in Rabanastre, Princess Ashe grieves over the death of her husband as he is sent off with a few words of prayer. The battlefield over Nabudis is now ridden with corpses and the remains of those that sought to battle for the land rights, leaving the place a barren wasteland fit for no race to live at all. Crows pick at the scant remains of what was once a mighty nation.

Marquis Omdore narrates a piece of the story which highlights a tumultous event that heralds in the tutorial where Basch and Vossler stand over an awakening Reks as he comes to his senses. Scant a man, barely seventeen years of age he doesn't seem fit to weild a sword - but that he must to defend his homeland as they make their way to where their soverign lord is about to sign a treaty of peace between the lands.

It is soon discovered that the battle system that is inherent within Final Fantasy XII denotes that a red line suggests that an enemy is targetting you, whereas a blue line dictates who you are targetting and finally a green line dictates on whom a healing magick is being cast. After defeating the Archadian knight, the party will move forward and be confronted by an Air Cutter Remora. Keep your distance and use Thunder on the contraption leaving the other knights to attack it physically. By doing thus, you should be able to avoid it's Remora Strike attack. Should your health get low at any point there is always the cure spell, or a short supply of Potions handy to keep Reks perky.

Basch will step in and perform a Quickening to finish it off. It calls to its companion, Antlion seeking permission to leave. After it sustains enough damage it will explode in a colourful display of light and smoke. Permission is granted and it will fly off leaving a winded Reks and his comrades behind. Heal up and then head toward the doorway ahead.

Basch will advise you that to view a map of the place you simply need to press SELECT. Doing so will reveal that there is a room with a large X and circle a few areas ahead with a notation that Reks must reach the King before he signs the treaty. So, let's go!

Head into the fortress and you'll find a few soldiers along the way that will try and oppose Reks. Nothing that he and his friends cannot handle, right? However, Vossler appears to be missing. Hmm... The group head in toward the stairway and begin their ascent.

Near the top of the stairs the group will be caught by following enemy soldiers. Reks volunteers to stay back and stave them off. Take them out, heal yourself and then continue.

Finding a large room in the fortress Reks is shocked to find that the King of Dalmasca, his soverign ruler is slumped on a throne, blood gushing from a wound in his chest just moments dead. Turning, he finds the kiss of steal bite into his chest as a dagger sinks its teeth into his flesh, projected by none other than his very own captain, Basch. Watching in horror as the scene unfolds, in his last few minutes he witnesses the fall of Dalmasca and the rise of Archadia to grasp it like an insidious poison, blanketing over the land. In response Marquis Ondore casts forth his voice asking that the people of Rabanastre cast down their swords lest they be branded traitor, cast from the same cloth as the one whom murdered their King.

In his speech the Marquis advised that not only had the King been assassinated, but so too had the Princess Ashe passed in her grief over the loss of loved ones. The traitorous Basch was also put to death. The loss of so many pivotel parties in the ruling of the nation would surely be a blow to the communities that resided within.




Enter Vaan, Reks' younger brother. He is beneath the town in the waterways with his friend Kytes, as he dispatches some rats in practice for what fiends lie in the desert beyond the walls of the capital. After dispatching the rats, he and Kytes head up above ground to the city proper.

A guard is caught taking wares from a peddler without paying and Vaan sees fit to swipe the guy's gil pouch in compensation. Way to go! Evading the guards he eventually runs into his childhood friend Penelo who takes the pouch from him and keeps some of the gil in compensation for food that Vaan had earlier attempted to eat for free. Woops! Just as they are about to move on, an airship flies overhead, displaying that Vaan wishes that he could pilot one of them in the future. Penelo leaves and advises that Vaan should see Migelo. So, let's be off!

"What could Migelo want? Better go and see him at his shop".






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It was a few minutes before six o'clock and the nerves were starting to set in. I was confident in the way that I looked and smelt, having doused myself in the latest Dunhill designer cologne just five minutes ago. I wore a black and pink pinstriped shirt with a pair of dark blue denim jeans. I could feel the rush of blood through my veins as my heart beat in rapid succession, the excitement building. A sharp tingling in my pocket alerted me to a message that had just entered my mobile phone. Slowly I drew the device from its position and flipped it open, revealing a familiar 'you have mail' message. Entering the message my eyes stared upon one sentence of text that bleeped before me.

T-Minus 30 minutes, and counting...

My heart fluttered a little, skipping a beat as a pebble skims across the surface of a pond a few times before sinking. But my heart was not going to travel on the course. I just had a feeling that this time, it would be perfect.

I had previously spoken to the guy for the last week on the phone, where he'd rung me out of the blue to chat after bumping into me in Woolworths. He claimed complete innocence at first and just generally chatted, however he began to insist on taking me out to dinner to amend for the mistake that he made in the supermarket that day. I was reluctant at first, wondering why he would want to take me for dinner - thinking that there must have been an ulterior motive. In the end though, I gave in because I just couldn't stand to be continuously begged. Besides, I was also under the assumption that he would be paying and who wouldn't turn down a free dinner at a classy restaurant?

As time began to march onward and I got to know him, I started to think that perhaps there was more to it than I thought. He was quite obviously gay, which was evident from the interest that he took in me - not to mention the fact that he was a flight attendant. However, people I knew warned me against entering into anything serious due to the reputation that people working in that industry held.

"They're all whores." People would say. But what did they know, I thought? I began to wake up to picture messages of the locations that his flight paths lead him to, followed with a brief good morning message. He even began to email me at work, cute little messages. This was all before he met me as me, without the iPod or the hangover. It was almost too good to be true. But soon I would find out, when the clock hands ticked over to six thirty.

I logged off my workstation and packed up for the evening, with a small smile upon my lips. With the knowledge that he would be waiting for me downstairs, outside my building I made a quick stop to the bathroom to freshen up and ensure that my hair was in place and that everything was immaculate. The quick checked cleared and I impatiently pressed the elevator button, eagerly awaiting its arrival.

The lift arrived at my floor with a distinct ringing that echoed out to the almost quiet hall. Quiet in the fact that there was no bustle of call centre noise to block out the chime of the arriving elevator. I stepped into the lift and firmly pressed the button for ground floor. With a whirr and a click the lift descended through the levels of the building until it reached my intended destination. My heart almost lurched into my throat at the building excitement that ensued when I stepped out of the lift onto the marble facade of the building. Walking with determination to the glass doors that shielded the foyer from the street, I pressed defiantly upon the metal handle and it opened with a click. Beyond the traffic groaned on, and the Town Hall clock struck its chords at six thirty on the dot.

Standing there, to the side of the terrace was the man that I had been corresponding with, with a goofy smile upon his face. His eyes seemed to scan me, giving me the once over and then returning to my eyes. I, in turn, responded in the same fashion and then he came up and placed his arms around me in a hug.

"So, the reservation isn't until 7:30pm, so why not go for a drink?"

He asked me. I nodded my consent and we headed off into the CBD where we could find a place to grab a drink and have a chat. The place that we chose, was a nice little bar elevated from the street by a clean escalator that ascended into a parlor styled in white marble and leafy green potted plants. I ordered a vodka lemon lime and bitters and he ordered a simple spirit of scotch and coke. We found a table and sat upon the stools and he just stared into my eyes for a few moments without really saying anything. But, for some reason it just felt right. We made idle chatter and finished our drinks before heading off to the chosen restaurant which was on the other side of town.

We walked through a construction site of a former square that was being rendered after a bus way had been built beneath it. I attempted to point out where I sat in my building; however it was to no avail considering all the brightly lit windows pretty much looked the same.

Making it to the restaurant in due time, we sat and ordered our meals. I could have sworn that his knee was touching mine, but I didn't mention it or move my leg as I ate a meal of salmon steak with a glass of wine, followed by a mint and mandarin sorbet dessert. I rolled the interesting flavor around on my tongue as he tilted his head and smiled, looking again into my eyes. The conversation over dinner had been small talk and didn't really mention anything too significant.

He called for the bill and paid with a flourish of his wallet. I was impressed. We left and made our way to the parkland beyond where I may have had a dizzy head from the wine that I'd consumed, although I sure as hell wasn't going to let that on. We came upon a place where there appeared to be only Asian couples sitting around which seemed very odd. We sat and I moved in closer to him. The stars lit up the night sky in an abundance of twinkling lights that radiated warmth and kindness. It all felt too real. Before I knew what I was doing, I leaned in and kissed him. He reciprocated straight away and after a moment where we each had to pause for breath he said. "We'd better be careful or they might throw sushi at us," Inferring that the Asians around us would abhor the act that we had just committed. I had to laugh as I thought that it was quite humourous. I had not really met a guy that was as random, and spontaneous as him. Almost when I thought I had started to figure him out, he stood and raised me with him with a followed hand.

He led me back to his car which he modestly said that I may have assumed that he drove a better vehicle. However to my surprise, he sported a new model Mazda 3 in black with chrome handles that looked very suave. I had to chuckle again at the irony of the situation. Who thought that it could get any better than it already was.

"Let's go," he whispered and we hopped into the car and he drove us out of the city and beyond.

other

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Don't even ask me why I used a Britney Spears reference for my first ever blog post (And it will probably be my last as I don't really have any desire to continue on this light fantastic...), but it happened so you're all going to have to live with it - avid reader or not.

What I am attempting to do, I guess, is correlate everything that's going on in my mind, into one easy readable piece that I will be able to come back and read over and perhaps attempt to comprehend as nothing seems too clear to me anymore. Despite that I have allowed time to pass and heal me somewhat, although only just, I still feel that I have not done enough to allow myself the time to get over what I once thought was the happiest time of my life.

I know that people here on Neoseeker don't particularly care so much - or that they'll take what I write and manipulate it into some form of media that would become entertaining if posted on 4Chan, and to you I just say - I don't care. I am me, and if people want to do that then you are only shaming yourselves. So, shame on you, in advance.

I don't even know what the censorship laws of the blogs are, and to what extent you can describe things, but I guess if I stick to the general code of conduct of Neoseeker, then I shouldn't be too far astray from the general rules and etiquette, and will be able to have my post evasively outmanouver anything that may even consider deleting it.

--

So where I begin, I guess is that day in Woolworths (A convenience store, conveniently located in Australia to which you may buy your every day groceries). I was standing in the checkout line for the eight items or less, fast lane - which wasn't fast by all means, considering the lack of staff and the long line up, when from all of a sudden I feel a tap on my right shoulder. At this point I am blaring Katy Perry's Hot N' Cold in my ears and am really irritated that I'll have to take out my ear piece, turn around and find out who tapped me, and then reset the song so that I can appreciate it in it's completeness. I tug out the right piece and turn around, shuffling my heavy basket load of food in my arms to find a guy just standing there smiling at me. There's an akward pause and then what may have been a repetition of something previously said "Tim, right?"

"Uh no?" I reply maybe a little bluntly, blinking with a complete look of utter confusion on my face.

"Oh? Sorry, wrong guy." The guy responds. "I'm Ant, anyway."

He offers a free hand and I just look at it, nodding once in acknowledgement because obviously I do not have a free hand to offer and I still have Katy Perry telling me that someone needs to see a doctor for love bipolar in my ear.

"Some people just stand out as striking. I thought you were this guy, I am sorry if I mistook you for someone else."

He attempted to continue the conversation, to which I responded.

"That's okay" I even managed a weak smile. The beeps of the checkout counters in the background seemed to fill in the silences almost in the absence of crickets, although this didn't seem quite so akward.

"Well, considering that I inconvenienced you by making you take out your iPod, can I have your number so I can call you and apologise later?"

I thought this was a bit odd, and perhaps a little forward. However, I guessed that there wouldn't be too much harm in releasing my number to a complete stranger. Even though experience would say otherwise. I took a moment as I pursed my lips and considered my response, absently assessing his appearance with my hazel eyes.

He stood almost as tall as me, perhaps a little shorter with a wide face, and deep set hazel eyes. His hair was cropped brown and short and the individual strings were quite thick as opposed the the thinness of my own hair. Keeping it together was some form of what looked to be wax that made it look messy, yet natural. Despite having a wide face, his cheekbones were still quite prominent on either side of a wide, flat nose. Small lips hid gaped white teeth that were displayed whenever he spoke, or smiled. He was built medium to heavy, with a snug black sweater and dark blue jeans over his body that didn't appear fit, yet also was not unfit. It's hard to describe. His jaw was between being rounded and squared, and his chin was dimpled, which looked kind of cute. If you looked at the whole picture it looked as though when he was serious he looked like an adult, but when he smiled he looked like a little kid. It was difficult to determine his age, but I assumed that it would have to be similar to my own, if not within a few years.

Whilst it had seemed like an eternity that I reviewed him, it was only an instant, a mere second before I responded, "Sure."

I gave him my number and it was as though I was in a haze, because alarm bells were going off in my head telling me that I had made the worst decision of my life. But really, what could it hurt? What is life, without taking risks?

We shuffled a little further in the line, toward the checkout as staff became available to check through groceries to be purchased. He punched my number into his phone, and shot me a smile. "I'll make it up to you. I promise."

Did he just wink at me? No, I must have been imagining it. I simply nodded again, semi-indifferent to what he said and then proceeded to an available operator to pay for the goods that I was going to use to purchase dinner. My head throbbed a little from a kind of headache that I had from a semi-hang over incurred from the previous night of drinking. Heck, I actually woke up drunk and had to go back to sleep to try and get it to go away (Thank God for ducted air conditioning in Summer!)

I placed the earpiece of my iPod back into my right ear and thought nothing more of it as I put Katy Perry's Hot N' Cold on from the top, and strode out of Woolworths, into the embrace of the cool air that heralded a storm that was on the way.

But I should have taken it as a sign, as it wasn't just a storm of rain, but also a storm and flurry of emotions over an extended period of time that would climax in a broken heart (cliched huh? But, this is MY story).

I'll stop this here, and if I see enough interest, I may continue later... but it's up to YOU! (Or if I get bored and decide to add more...)

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