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Fanfiction ► Shadow's Heart

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New member
Nov 7, 2005
I can only express puzzlement, which borders on al
Alrighty, this is my first ever fanfic... I started writing it a while ago, so have a number of chapters, but I thought I'd put it up to see what kind of feedback I got. Oh and as some of the chapters may very well extend beyond a single post... I'll put <><><><><><> at the end so it's clear... Anyway, about this fic, I normally I don't like the whole idea of crossovers, but this idea struck me and I think it works. So without further ado...


Chapter One: The Wedding Party

”Eat,drink, and be merry… for tomorrow there’ll be Sin…”
-- An old Al Bhed proverb, from Al Bhed Customs and Folktales, translated by Maechin

“Eat, drink, and be merry… for tomorrow there’ll be… Vegnagun!”
-Toast of an unknown and inebriated Al Bhed of the Machina Faction

Eat, drink, and be merry… for tomorrow…Tomorrow…
- Graffiti found in the Zanarkand Ruins.

“Weddings are happy occasions… so smile.” Rikku forcibly reminded herself as she perched on the foot of High Summoner Braska… or his statue anyway. Leaning casually against his left leg, she scanned the happy faces in the crowd as they chattered and danced beneath garlands of silken flowers and the twinkling golden lights that decorated the hall. Her seat put her at just the right height to see everything that was going on. That certainly made a change. As Rikku watched, a single pearly petal broke off and floated gently to the ground only to be crushed beneath the foot of a stumbling guest. Actually, most of the people crammed into what was once Besaid’s temple to Yevon had not been invited at all, but rather had come to crash the party. They all hoped to catch a glimpse of high summoner Yuna, the woman who had saved Spira not once but twice, and her new husband, Tidus, who was not only her guardian when Yuna undertook that not-so-final-after all journey, but was also a blitzball all-star, the finest player in a thousand years. Spira always did love their celebrities, and the marriage of such a pair, even without the romantic story behind it, well, Rikku supposed it wasn’t a wonder that so many people had traveled all the way to Besaid just to see it. Yunie had welcomed them all, even though she had really wanted a private wedding; just another sacrifice for the joy of Spira.

Yunie would do well to be a bit more selfish… Like, well, like Rikku supposed that she herself was being. Normally Rikku loved a party, especially when it was celebrating the marriage of two people she adored. She had even helped Yunie plan the whole thing, though admittedly Yuna had decided against incorporating some of Rikku’s more flamboyant and decidedly Al Bhed suggestions. This was how Rikku found herself wearing a long demurely cut sea foam green dress instead of the bright purple one she had originally been planning on. Rikku suspected that the blue and green dresses of those in the ceremony had been planned for the sole purpose of matching Yunie’s eyes. Yunie was surprisingly devious in that way, and since Rikku wanted Yuna’s perfect wedding to go, well… perfect, she had even forgone stringing her hair with the beads and ribbons that usually adorned it, letting her below-waist length blonde locks swing free. She didn’t even look like an Al Bhed anymore except for the eyes. You could change their habits, and change their dress, but you couldn’t hide the Al Bhed eyes… except with a blindfold of course…or goggles… the point Rikku, the point… and hers were particularly distinct, the emerald green ribbon running through their depths forming a particularly hypnotic pattern around the irises. They were how Auron had known when Rikku had forced him and the others to take her on as another of Yunie’s guardians, though she supposed the fact that she had been climbing out of a large machine was pretty much of a tip off anyway. Rikku glanced down at the gown, smoothing it with a slight frown. Her appearance was just a surface indicator of what was to come, and through all the planning and knowing that Yunie was getting married and going off with Tidus, only today had it truly clicked that everything had to change.

Before, everything had been for Spira, and ok, she’d admit it, maybe making a little extra gil on the side, but now when for the first time there wasn’t some threat looming over all their heads, Rikku found that she didn’t really know what to do. They all lived happily ever after she supposed, but for Rikku “ever after” seemed a terribly long time. This wedding just marked an ending point in her life, and no new beginnings in sight. Death at least was absolute, but this uncertainty about… well, everything, she just couldn’t take. Rikku scowled for a moment as she saw Paine walk through the crowd with Baralai at her arm. This was all her fault.

Perhaps relying on Rikku’s ebullient mood over Yunie’s wedding celebrations to ward off any tantrums, not that she had them— Paine had chosen that very morning to break it to her that she was quitting the Gullwings and moving to Bevelle to be with Baralai. That certainly gave Rikku some pause as she hadn’t even realized there was anything going on between the pair, and Rikku always looked for that sort of thing. She should have seen it coming, but as the both of them together probably emoted about half as much as a wooden plank, she couldn’t be too critical on herself. Yunie hadn’t known either. Besides at least it wasn’t Nooj, now that would have been scary. Still it posed a problem. Rikku had known that Yunie was leaving the Gullwings, but now Paine as well… She wasn’t entirely sure why this prospect bothered her so much, as most of the time Rikku was positive that Paine was entertaining thoughts of throttling her in her head, and the sphere market was declining anyway. After the Vegnagun fiasco, everyone was more then ready to let things stay buried lest yet another machine of apocalyptic design be revealed. Besides did she really want to cruise around in the airship with her addled older brother? Not to mention one who was disturbingly heartbroken that Yunie had married someone else. Rikku looked around trying to find him among the interlopers, but eventually gave up. He was probably off drunk and crying somewhere. It was at times like these that Rikku really… really prayed that he was adopted, or a foundling, one who had been unsurprisingly left in the desert by his parents… related to a cactuar perhaps. That would certainly explain things.

Rikku sighed, she didn’t see her brother, but she did find Gippal, looking both handsome and rakish with his eye patch, and surrounded by his usual bevy of adoring women. Admittedly, Rikku had also once been one of the smitten lot, and she and Gippal had an off again on again relationship over the past few years, but that all changed when she caught him cheating, and with one of those Leblanc syndicate drones of all people. Rikku decided she’d rather not to think of what that said about her if Gippal considered one of them a step up. Anyway, Rikku and Gippal were over for good now. This meant of course that even though the Machina faction was just about the only group of people that remained still interested in spheres, machina, and other reliquaries of the past, since Gippal led the organization, joining them was most assuredly not an option.

As Rikku continued to survey the room, she noticed that she was not the only one to remain aloof from the celebrations. A man leaned in the shadows just beside the door, his arms crossing his chest, having somehow managed to find a space clear of people. He had an odd air about him as he watched the newlyweds, a blank expression on his face. His pale blonde hair, almost silver, fell across his forehead obscuring one of his eyes, but the other she could see even from across the room was a vibrant blue that almost seemed to glow from the shadows. The man wore all black and his outfit was casual, which was strange for a wedding and though many of the men carried ceremonial type swords in decorated sheathes, the one the man wore looked old and unadorned. It was an odd shape as well… intriguing. Rikku got the distinct feeling that he was waiting for something. As if sensing her attention, the man turned his head, his hair falling away from his face as he met her gaze directly. She was caught in the act. Shoopuff… Eyes locked, they looked at each other from across the room almost as if they were engaged in a childish staring contest, like the ones she always lost to Paine… only this time, Rikku couldn’t seem to look away.

Of course, that went out the window when only a moment later they both broke off at the sound of a clearly drunk man who began a bumbling monologue about the wonderfulness of the occasion, the two people who had been brought together, and the fineness of the food and drink… emphasis on the drink. Rikku cringed slightly before breaking into an amused smile. Yep, that was her Dad alright. When Cid’s speech had declined irrevocably into a half-jilted bawdy Al Bhed bar room song, Yunie stepped forward managed to escort him to one of the built in benches that lined the hall, still retaining complete dignity and grace. Rikku suppressed a smile, she didn’t think Yunie’d be able to keep that composure if she actually understood what he was singing, and in fact, all the Al Bhed in the room were laughing hysterically. This was actually for that reason that Rikku didn’t go lead her dad off her self, the whole thing was just too funny. By the time Yunie had returned to Tidus’s side in the back of the temple, someone else started up their own speech, then another, and another. As they all droned on in turn, Rikku reined her thoughts back to the problem at hand and by the time she remembered the strange man, he was gone.

When the speeches had ended and everyone had gone back to their dancing, Rikku decided that she’d had enough. Glancing over to the right at Yuna and Tidus, she only had to look at them as they danced with one another to know that it was unlikely that either would notice her absence. As she struggled to carefully to climb down off the statue and onto the nearest bench, Rikku saw another person move by dressed all in black, though he was not the man from earlier. He had red hair. While she was focused on redhead, Rikku forgot to pay attention to wear she was stepping and as her foot came down on the end of her dress, she was jerked off of balance, and stumbled forward off of the bench. Immediately Rikku put her arms up to protect herself from the fall, but instead of hitting the ground she was caught by a pair of strong arms. Arms attached to a chest donned in black… Rikku looked up swiftly into the brown eyes and smirking face of yet another stranger, this one a man with sandy blond hair, cut short in the back and long in the front. It wasn’t the hair that caught her attention though, but the small black tattoo on the side of his neck, just below his left ear. It looked like a curvy M that almost joined together at the bottom, but not quite. She had only a glimpse though before the man steadied her, she was about to thank him when he spoke, an odd gleam in his eyes.

“You should be more careful, or you might get hurt.”

Rikku sighed. Why does everyone always tell me that? Still, she did not get a chance to respond, for he turned swiftly, the creepy smile still playing across his face as he pushed through the crowd and further into the temple. Shaking her head at the rudeness of strangers, even helpful rude ones, Rikku began to slip through the crowd, using her small size to get there more quickly as she ducked under arms and twirled through gaps. She was really quite adept at it. Still, ultimately, the encounter had relieved her a bit, she was obviously wrong about the oddity of the silver haired man’s attire, maybe black was some new wedding fashion trend. Finding the press of the crowd increasingly claustrophobic, Rikku realized that outside it was only slightly better. She wanted to get away from all of it. Moving away from the ring of blue torchlight that illuminated the pavilion, Rikku walked out into the darkness having decided to head down to the beach. She could think better there, and wouldn’t be casting a dark cloud on Yunie’s wedding with her troubled thoughts. Rikku was so intent on getting away, that she did not notice when someone slipped out into the darkness after her, quietly following as she made her way down the path.

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Darkrooms and safelights
Mar 19, 2005
Sitting inside the viewfinder of a camera, watchin

Oh my God! It's SO literate! And so wonderfully written! *spazzes* ((Don't mind me, it's just that we don't get too many good fics, or even true fics on this site. I obsess over it; my friends and I are currently holding a flame-festing protest over on KH: The Journey))

Uh-oh, do I sense a Rikku-romance fic? You'd better watch out, Cloud_Unchained will be coming to get you ((Rikku's true love, don't you forget it; I've been reminded enough)). Maybe I'll warn him ahead of time to be kind ... let's hope he's on AIM. ^_~

So, who IS this mysterious person that is probably obvious, but I, living under the rock that I do, don't know?

"Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die."
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New member
Nov 7, 2005
I can only express puzzlement, which borders on al
Thank you so much :), that is just about the nicest thing I have ever heard. And there miiiight be some Rikku romance... you'll just have to see, though your senses are good ;). Anyway, I've definitely seen some baaaad fics in my time, so flame away, I am sure they are deserving... and since that review pretty much made my day, I decided to add another chapter tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow (I'll prolly be slow about adding them cause I hate all the dramn italics formatting)...


Chapter Two: The Door Opens

The gate of tomorrow is not the light of heaven, but the darkness in the depths of the earth...
–Vincent Valentine’s final words

High on the hill that overlooked Besaid village, there laid the ruins of an old altar to Yevon. The stones were worn and faded with deep grooves in the rock where people had knelt in prayer, asking Yevon to bring them a safe journey… This altar, however, had been abandoned five years ago when Yevon was exposed for the false God that he was: a destructor, and the one who had plagued Spira with Sin. Though people passed it as they went to and from the port, it had become just another ruin to remind Spira of it’s harsh past. No one realized that these altars had originally served another purpose, one that dated back to even before the glory days of Zanarkand. It wouldn’t be long now before the people of Besaid were reminded again.

As the sun sank beneath the horizon, the air around the altar began to shimmer frantically, as if it were trying to preserve what was left of the light. After a moment, the strange glowing particles crystallized into the shape of the door that rested in the air just a foot over the base of the altar. Though as suddenly as they appeared, the lights snuffed out leaving an inky void, deeper then the darkest of shadows on a moonless night. The void remained stagnant for a moment then slowly it began to ripple as a man stepped through, tossing his head slightly to move the pale hair from his face as he studied his surroundings. Hearing the faint strains of music as they echoed gently on the hill top, the slilver-haired man, Riku, walked forward to get a better look at the village below. Torches had been placed around the village, and despite the fact the sun had set, it was in the full swing of activity, most of which was focused around the stone temple that rested on the far edge of town, overlooking the sea. The music came from the pavilion in front of the temple where a vast number of people milled around. He couldn’t tell exactly what they were doing, but there was clearly some sort of celebration going on; a wedding, or so he was told.

The wedding of High Summoner Yuna and Tidus of Zanarkand. The names held no meaning for him. It was just another world, another test. This might be the one, it might not. Riku no longer cared anymore. He had isolated himself from emotion. He had loved, hated, raged, despaired, and burned with the bitter desire for revenge. In the end… it was all the same…

“Is this the one?”

Riku inclined his head at the sound of the voice that had interrupted his thoughts, but he didn’t turn around. Deliberately, he ignored the question. The answer was obvious enough, and the right world or not, it was doomed.

“You’re late.”

As Riku spoke, two men came to stand beside him. Ash, the blond who had spoken, glanced at him, a smirk crossing his face as his fingers played against the hilt of his sword; a keyblade, not anywhere near as powerful as the one that Riku had himself, but deadly nevertheless. Ash had that gleam in his eyes that he always did before a mission and Riku recognized it for what it was; the desire to kill. Riku’s own eyes were devoid of emotion, as they always were. Cold as ice, they glowed with an eerie blue light, a permanent effect of that day so many years ago, when Riku had been consumed by the light only to find himself cast back into darkness. However, that was his own fault, and Riku no longer regretted the choices that he had made.

Axel, his other companion, stepped away from the pair and onto the path that wound its way down to the village. Pausing for a moment, he turned to look at Riku, an odd expression appearing in his black eyes.

They’re restless tonight…”

Riku nodded his head in the slightest of movements. He understood the redhead’s concern. Riku had been forced to kill five of the wraiths just to get through the gate when they had always avoided him in the past. It was no surprise that Ash and Axel had arrived late. They did not have the same level of control over the dark creatures that Riku had. The shadowy creatures must have been crawling all over them. Perhaps it was as Axel said and their behavior could be attributed to restlessness, bit Riku could sense there was something different about this world. Maybe they had finally found what they were searching for.

“If we’re quick, it won’t be a problem… Let’s go.” Riku stopped for a moment letting the others go ahead as he turned to look at the portal. The shadows were seeping through it now and dark energy crackled from the void. The storm would hit and before the night was through, another star would be erased from the heavens. Sad really, but the events had already been set in motion.

Nothing to stop it now…

Riku turned and swiftly made his way down the hill, the music from the party getting louder with every step. He was about half way down the path when he began to pick up the sound of a man singing along to the music. The voice was off key and the words were slurred beyond recognition, and as Riku drew closer, he quickly realized that he would not have understood it anyway. It seemed like pure gibberish, but the feeling behind it was clear, despite the fact that it was sung in a manner that was not unlike the yowling of a dying cat.

Eventually he saw the source of the horrible noise; a sobbing drunk man with a sandy mohawk on his largely shaved head. Sitting on a bench that rested at a place where the path forked, he held an empty mug in his hands, cradling it close to his body. The man looked up as Riku and his companions came into sight, and an expression of anger flickered across his flushed face. He jumped to his feet, stumbled, then stood up as straight as he could, shouting at them with the same slurred gibberish that he had sung the song. He waved his arms frantically, the mug still clasped in his right hand, clearly wanting them to leave. When none of the other men moved, he hurled the mug at them with terrible aim, and the mug sailed harmlessly off to the side. The situation might have been comical, if it weren’t so damn annoying. They were pressed for time as it was. Riku was about to handle the situation, when Ash stepped forward, clearly having reached his limit. Removing the blade from its sheath, he struck swiftly, wasting no time in going for the kill. Skillfully, Ash ran the edge of the keyblade deeply across the man’s throat, his cries turned into a deep gurgle as the blood flowed freely from his neck. The man was dead before he hit the ground. Riku stepped forward, having drawn his own keyblade the moment Ash had moved towards the singing man. Forcefully, he used his blade to push Ash’s to the ground, and held it there as he stared coldly at him.

“That was unnecessary.”

Ash began to laugh a little, pleased that he had gotten to kill, even if the man hadn’t put up a fight.

“Aw come on Riku, he was obnoxious. He deserved to die just for the singing alone.”

Riku’s expression hardened and eventually the smile left Ash’s face. He tried again.

“Look, he’s going to die anyway. What’s it matter?”

Good question… What did it matter?

Riku sighed in annoyance, releasing Ash’s weapon as he took a step back.

“We only kill when we have to or we risk everything. They find the body, and they’ll look to anyone that’s suspicious. We won’t be able to get access to this summoner woman. We need to get to her before they do.”

Riku smirked and returned this keyblade to its sheath.

“Besides, continue to indulge in these killing whims of yours, and you will be their next prey.”

Ash blanched, it was a point well taken. Still, Riku knew the idea wouldn’t stop him for long. Ash just couldn’t help himself. Without glancing down, Riku stepped over the dead man and continued down the hill.

“Move him out of the way, then catch up.” Riku tossed the orders back over his shoulder, but kept walking. He knew Ash would do as he said. The man was a psychopath, but he knew when to stop pushing… most of the time. When Ash had joined them again, they were at the edge of the crowded pavilion. There were far too many people to account just for the villagers. This was good. It meant they’d more readily blend in with the crowd. Riku nodded at Axel.

“We’ll split up. You know what to do.” Then turning, Riku looked at Ash. “Wait out here and keep an eye on the storm and make sure that if some one leaves, it’s not the high summoner.”

This was of course unlikely, but there was no sense in taking risks. With that said, Riku slipped into the crowds, pushing his way through the pavilion and into the temple. The platform just inside the entrance gave Riku the perfect place to scope out the people in the room, and though at first there was no free space for him to watch unbothered, he had only to give a group of partiers a chill look before they cleared out, perhaps sensing the danger in his eyes. Leaning against the wall, he searched the room, immediately zeroing in on the happy couple. He watched for a while, trying to determine if the woman, Yuna, was any different from the rest. Frankly, he didn’t sense anything from her. Sure she’d done some selfless acts, but Riku was positive that if she were the one he’d know it. Well if she wasn’t the one they wanted, then it was their own damn fault. Just by seeing her, Riku knew that it was unlikely that the search would end with this world. Still, there was something here. He felt the niggling sensation in the back of his mind, an alarm going off in his head. Tearing his gaze away from the summoner and her husband, he looked around the room, trying to pinpoint the source. It was no good, there were too many people— No…There.

Glancing up, Riku noticed a girl sitting at the foot of one of the large statues that lay around the hall. A cascade of blonde hair flowed down over her shoulders, and a grim expression marked her delicate features. Riku found himself wondering just what she was thinking about so severely. Despite the expression, the petite girl reminded Riku of pixie, all she needed was the wings…

Somewhat annoyed by the way his thoughts had turned, and still uncertain about what it was that he sensed, Riku directed his gaze back to Yuna and Tidus. Watching the girl out the corner of his eye, Riku saw that she was spying on him as well. Turning his head, he met the girl’s green gaze full on, slightly amused at the embarrassed blush that reached her face when she realized that she had been caught staring. He didn’t think he was mistaken in his judgment; there was something distinctly uncanny about her. As someone began to speak, Riku turned to listen, deciding that once he placed the mark on the high summoner, he’d go found out what it was that he was sensing.

With that in mind, Riku moved away from the door, slipping through the crowd so he could get close enough to do what he had to. The speech eventually turned into a song, and Riku recognized that he was using the same language as that one that Ash had killed earlier. Apparently it wasn’t gibberish after all. Riku filed it away in his mind as yet another piece of useless information, and reached into his pocket, pulling out a small crystal vial, filled with a viscous red liquid. With extreme care, Riku extracted the stopper, brushing all of the thick mixture onto the side of the vial and off of the stopper, but for one tiny drop. As the song grew worse, the summoner left her husband’s side to gently lead the drunken lout towards the wall. As she passed by, Riku turned towards her, and reaching out, he gently pressed the end of the stopper into the back of her veil. To anyone watching it looked like he was just another one of those creepy people who wanted the claim that they had “touched” the high summoner. No one would think much about it. He removed his hand and the stopper quickly and it was doubtful that the woman had felt anything at all, but the mark was there. Unseen but to the watchful eye, a speck of deep crimson now marred the back of the summoner’s wedding veil. Perfect.

Replacing the stopper, he put the vial back into his pocket and looked around. Now he just had to find Axel and then he’d go after the girl. After a cursory check, Riku saw that she was not in the temple, and once again Riku weaved his way through the crowds to the exit only to find that both Axel and Ash were together, standing off to the side.

So much for divide and conquer…

“It’s done. You can handle it from here, Axel. I am going to check on the portal. Ash you go too.” Axel nodded and headed back inside, but before Ash could follow Riku put his arm out to stop him. Ash gave him a questioning look.

“Before it happens… kill the groom.”

Those were orders from above rather then Riku’s own and ultimately he supposed it was best. It would be a clean death at least, rather then the slow agony of being consumed by the darkness. When viewed in that way, Riku supposed he really shouldn’t have cared that Ash had killed so carelessly. Smiling, Ash turned to follow Axel and Riku turned towards the end of the pavilion, wanting to see how much time they had before it began. The storm clouds had already begun to roll down the hillside. Riku gave it twenty minutes.

Twenty minutes until the end…

That wasn’t much time to find out about that girl and deciding to waste no more of it, he turned only to see the object of his thoughts rushing past him into the night, moving away from all the festivities. Without a second thought, Riku began to follow her, keeping his presence unknown as he watched, curious to see what she was going to do. He was surprised when she didn’t stop in the town, but instead began to walk the path that led up to the portal, seemingly oblivious to odd lights coming from the dark clouds at the top of the hill. As she walked, she began to hum, still happily ignorant of the fact that she was being followed. Nearing the crossroads, Riku glanced around warily. He wished that he’d asked Ash just where exactly he had put the body… The girl turned away from the hilltop and down the other path and after allowing an appropriate distance, Riku did as well. Stopping abruptly, he saw it, the dead man with the mowhawk, lying on the left side of the path. Riku shook his head. This was not exactly what he had in mind when he had told Ash to move it.

Lazy bastard…

Unbelievable as it was, so wrapped up in her thoughts and her humming, the girl didn’t even notice until she was literally on top of him. As her foot hit the solid mass of the body, the girl tripped falling down in the dirt next to him. Riku sighed. She just had to walk on that side of the road. After a moment of cursing in that strange babbling tongue, there was a moment of silence, and then girl released a shriek. Wasting no more time, Riku rushed forward. Like it or not, now was the time to make his presence known.

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New member
Nov 7, 2005
I can only express puzzlement, which borders on al
Tra la la... *shrugs, doubleposts, and walks away whistling innocently*

Any feedback highly appreciated.


Chapter Three: The Storm

"The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil water-way leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky--seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness."

-- Joseph Conrad​

As Rikku drew away from the party and out into the night, the pressing feeling of claustrophobia diminished, but a feeling of dread remained in the pit of her stomach. She didn't understand it. For the first time in her life she was free of all obligations. She should be ecstatic. The Al Bhed were by free spirited by nature, that's why they branched out into so many different fields and constantly changed their lifestyles. While Rikku had always been glad to do what she could for Spira, what she could do for Yunie, she had spent that time stifled, restricted, succumbing to childish antics to keep up the pretense that everything was going to be ok. When Yunie was saved and Tidus seemed lost, her energy was spent on making it right. It's right now... She was always the happy one, the quirky one, the one who did not get depressed. Rikku was the mannequin whose face was forever locked in a smile, even as the world went to hell. She was the ballerina in the box, twirling and twirling, trapped in dance over which she had no control, so all she could do was move with the beat. Yunie knew that dance and that gave Rikku the strength to dance it with her: The ultimate masquerade... Could she rip of the mask? Would she find herself in the mirror, or find only a shell, filled to the brim with unshed tears. Rikku had listened to Tidus's sphere... "Listen to my story..." That was all her life amounted to; a mere echo in someone else's story...

Rikku shuddered slightly, deeply disturbed by the direction of her thoughts. They were completely and utterly unlike her. It was as if some fiend rested on her shoulder, reaching into her mind to stir up shadows... Rikku breathed deeply of the humid night air, trying to push the disturbing images she had conjured from her mind, and it suddenly dawned on her that perhaps this feeling of foreboding had nothing to do with her uncertainty over the future, but something else... Rikku sighed. She was just being ridiculous. In order to make herself feel better, she began to hum the Hymn of the Fayth as she walked. As one of the heretic Al Bhed "heathens", Rikku had never viewed the hymn to be some sacrosanct expression of faith in Yevon, but a meaningful song nonetheless. It was a song of peace, and she used it to clear the turmoil in her mind. It was this quality of the song that she was certain had held Sin-Jecht so spellbound. As the clear sound of her own humming rang out into the night, Rikku felt soothed. Her feet ceased to drag and she even began to entertain thoughts of going for a swim once she reached the beach. As she reached the crossroads, she forced her head up. She had walked with her gaze cast down, partially due to the nature of her thoughts, but mostly for practicality, the nights were dark on the island and she had to be very careful where she stepped. She wanted to see the beach gleaming in the moonlight in all its pristine glory. Now that she was paying closer attention her surroundings, she found that it was a lot darker then it had been when she left. As Rikku looked up, she noticed a group of thick black clouds, blotting out her view of the stars. She frowned. Maybe there was going to be a—

Rikku's foot hit something solid, and propelled forward, she tumbled to the ground, striking her right elbow hard on the rocky soil. Rikku swore at her clumsiness.

"Cruubivv! Knayd zicd knayd, hela kuehk, Rikku... Naym csuudr..."

Shoopuff! great just great, nice going Rikku... Real smooth...

She clutched at her elbow, trying to ignore the painful throb as she turned to see what had tripped her. Her expression darkened even further when she saw in the faint light that it was none other then her older brother, who had gone off, just as she suspected. Rikku rolled away from him, thoroughly irritated. She glared at him, ready to give him a piece of her mind.

"Oui tnihgah cuh uv cysymyhtan! Fryd yna oui tuehk zicd moehk eh dra settma uv dra—"

You drunken son of samalander! What are you doing just lying in the middle of the—

Rikku broke off from her shouting when she realized that her brother hadn't made a sound, not a whimper, not a peep, not one... not even when she had fallen over him. Her body leaned forward of it's own will, despite the inner voice telling her that she must not look... at that moment there was a faint flash of light, illuminating the features on her brother's face before flickering back into darkness again. The one look was enough, the deep gash, the widely staring eyes, looking up at the sky unseeing... glazed over in death. She began to scream...

Rikku had seen dead bodies before, she had seen people die; the look in a person's eyes in that final moment, and she had seen the fiends that spawned from the violence when an innocent life was taken. Rikku didn't really remember her mother. She had died when Rikku was young, and without any strong memories to recall her, her death just didn't havethe full effect. The closest thing that resembled a memory was a familiar voice singing in the dark. Her brother though... he had always been there. Sure he tried to bully her and was as daft as they come, but he had a good heart, and had always looked out for her. Sure, he was responsible for her fear of thunderstorms— Rikku had been swimming in the water when a fiend came after her. Her brother had seen andused a spell of lightning to zap the fiend. The first time he missed, hitting Rikku instead, but that wasn't the point. He had been trying to save her and as Rikku went into shock, her pulled her out of the water and carried her all the way back home for help, whispering to her all the while. Oui'mm pa ug. Ed'c ymm kuehk du pa ug. You'll be ok, it's all going to be ok. At the age of six, her big brother was her hero. Rikku had believed him then, but now... It was never going to be ok ever again.

Rikku's scream turned into a loud choking sob, as she pressed her hand against her brother's face. Then she screamed again, this time in anger. She would kill the bastard that did this. Hearing a sound behind her, Rikku whirled and slapping aside the outstretched arm, she darted out of reach. Her eyes widened when she saw who it was. His silvery hair and the burning blue eyes were unmistakable.

"You! What are you doing here!"

Rikku glanced down at her brother then up at the man again. She searched his face for answers and finding none she let her gaze fall downward, eventually coming to rest on the sword he carried, the outline of which was visible in the dark. She looked up swiftly again, her eyes blazing.

"Did you do this? Did you kill him!"

The man stared at her for a moment then very slowly he shook his head.

"No... It wasn't me."

Rikku scowled at him, the tears still streaming down her cheeks as she gestured towards his weapon.

"You expect me to believe that!"

The man shrugged slightly, but his eyes never left her face.

"I don't care what you believe..."

This only made Rikku angrier, the guy was a jerk. Her brother was lying dead on the ground, and that was all he could say! Rikku didn't have time for this. She had to go find her father, had to get...help. Kneeling next to her brother, she pressed a kiss on his clammy forehead, and got to her feet again. Pops... What was she going to say to him? Deciding to just ignore the man, she hurriedly stepped past him to head back to the village. Rikku yelped when his hand shot out and he grabbed her wrist, swinging her back around so she faced him. He once again stood between her and the way back to the village. Pulling her arm out of his grasp she glared furiously up at him though he still had the same obnoxiously expressionless look on his handsome face.

"Hey! Get away from me, what's the big idea. I have to go back... to tell them."

To warn them. Rikku tried to step by again, but the man moved to block the way again. She felt tears prickling at her eyes again, and she hurriedly brushed them away. "Let me by you big jerk!"

The man shook his head again. "You can't go back there. It's not safe." Rikku paled, a chill running down her spine.

"What do you mean 'it's not safe!' You were following me..." Nod. Rikku stared at him in horror as she that his eyes weren't just bright; they were actually glowing in the dark. The man took a step forward and instinctively Rikku took a step back.

"Look, I— damn it!"

The man broke off as Rikku whirled and sprinted down the path to the beach, kicking off her shoes so she could run faster. She could hear him behind her which only made her run harder. When she reached the sandy shore, Rikku was hit by a gust of wind, and a sight that made her freeze in her tracks. The sky had completely darkened with a mass of turbulent dark clouds. They churned furiously with strange purple and red lights. They moved quickly, writhing, and pulsing with dark energy, the ocean bubbled in response, the waves crashing violently against the beach, which glowed with an eerie light, all in reaction to the storm which almost seemed like an entity unto itself as shadowy tendrils spiraled down from the clouds, covering the land with dark shadows. Rikku's hair flagged violently in the wind as she stared transfixed at the raging storm. She forgot everything for the moment and didn't even care when the man came to stand beside her, she tilted her head as she addressed him.

"What... what is it!"

From the corner of her eyes, Rikku could see him turn, watching her profile with a cold light in his blue eyes.

"The end."

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Aug 13, 2005
The other end of the leash.
omigod literacy!!! I HAVEN'T SEEN IT IN SO LONG!!! DUDE THIS FIC IS SO GOOD, I'LL LET THAT DOUBLE POST SLIDE!!! holy carp this is awesome keep updating it rocks out loud. LIKE WHOA. XD PLEASE UPDATE AGAIN TODAY IT IS AWESOME!!!


Hooray! Hooray!
Dec 24, 2004

I like it...

The grammar is wonderful. This was what attracted me most to the whole fic in the first place. Great story. Can't wait for more.


I don't like bugs!
Jun 23, 2005
This is pretty awesome. RikuxRikku? Say it aint so!

Well, I'll stick with this fic even if it DOES happen. Seriously, though. Nice. FINALLY! SOMEONE WHO HASN'T TYPED "Riku: *grabs her arm* Rikku: OMG!!!11!onE!!klWI!"!



New member
Nov 7, 2005
I can only express puzzlement, which borders on al
Thanks for the comments! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the feedback. I find it amusing that my grammar is the draw to the story... it's quite sad actually that apparently so few people can write at least with somewhat decent grammar... I know my grammar is far from perfect, but it's nice to hear that it least appears to be fairly decent. On that note, it literally painful for me to find I have left typos and things like that, so if you see one, please point it out to me so I can correct it :)... And don't worry... if you ever see me using internetese incomprensible garbage, I will slap myself in the face.


Chapter Four: Dissolution

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter

- Lyrics from "In the End", a popular song from just after the end of the tenth Calm.

The End...

The ominous words echoed through Rikku's mind as she watched the malevolent movement of the inky black clouds. Eventually she tore her gaze away and instead stared at the one who stood beside her, looking for the lie in his eyes. A million questions ran through her mind, but ultimately his meaning was clear. You can't go back there. It's not safe... Rikku took a step away from him.


"No! Not today!" Rikku shouted at him, shaking her head in violent determination, her hands clenched into fists. Hoping to catch him off guard, she shoved him as hard as she could and then whirling around, she sprinted down the beach. The island curved around at about the distance of a blitzball sphere away, and a narrow path wound up one of rocky slopes at the end. It was steep, overgrown, and treacherous, but it was an alternate route to the temple. For this reason, Rikku had run for the beach instead of trying to dodge by the pale haired man again.

She heard him shout out another warning, but then he seemed to have given up. Still she didn't look back lest she find him right behind her. As the wind picked up, the sky darkened even further, and Rikku saw that another bank of the dark clouds had appeared from other end of the island. They all seemed to aggregate into a dark amorphous mass over the lighted temple that she could see shining like a beacon at the top of the steep hillside, a sanctuary against the dark.

Just get to the others...

Twenty feet... fifteen...ten... she really could hear him following now, the scuffle of sand being kicked up by the boots. She knew the sound well. After all she was from the desert. Five feet... there it was, Rikku dodged into the underbrush that littered the hillside. Her hair caught on the twigs, her dress ripped, and her skin was scratched by thistles, her feet bloody and beaten by the sharp rocks she trod upon, but she didn't care. Breaking out onto the path, she began the climb, scrambling up, dodging branches as she went, and using her hands at the particularly steep places. Fortunately she was agile and lithe, her strength had always laid in her speed, and that was her advantage now over the man who followed. She could hear him curse as his progress was slowed by the brush, and that gave Rikku the will to move even faster...not fast enough though. The man jumped forward grabbing her foot, and immediately Rikku kicked back. Their rough movements caused the rocks to skitter and the man lost his balance tumbling back down the hill into darkness. Rikku listened for a moment to see if he was ok, images of his broken body lying on the beach danced through her head, but she couldn't dwell on it. She kept moving.
When she was halfway to the top, the wind died, and an eerie calm settled over the landscape. There was no sound, but for the movement as she made their way through the brush.


A tremor of fear ran through Rikku's body. This wasn't right, there should be music... She tried to remember if she had heard it on the beach, but she had been concentrating on other matters, and besides, with the wind there was no telling if she would have detected it anyway.... But here, now... she should hear them playing. A moment later, the screaming began. Not just one, but hundreds creating a cacophonous chorus of shrill shouts, only the horror in each providing a common theme..

The only time Rikku had heard anything remotely close to this was when her Home had been destroyed, and that was mostly the agony of the loss, not the unadulterated fear that seemed to emanate from above... There would be no sanctuary at the top.

As Rikku looked frantically up to try and learn what was happening, a sinuous murky arm reached down from the skies towards the temple, ten times the circumference of the black tendrils she had seen extending along the beach.

Even though her heart clenched at the thought of what she would find when she reached the summit, she determinedly pressed on. As she reached the top, she was struck by the emptiness of her surroundings. For the most part the screams had died down, and there was no one around. Steeling herself, Rikku took a step forward only to have her bare foot land in something cold... squishy. She looked down with great apprehension to find that she was standing in what appeared a viscous pool of shadows, as if attracted to the warmth of her body, the blob began to flow as serpentine tendrils snaked their way up her leg. Stifling a shriek, Rikku kicked out and the mass went flying. As it hit the ground it broke into pieces each of which grew and solidified into odd creatures of which she had never seen the like.

As if of one mind, they turned to look at her, and multiple pairs of pale yellow eyes blinked at her, before moving forward, claws dripping with shadowy goop. Rikku reached frantically for her knives only to remember that she was still in wedding clothes and obviously had not thought to arm herself. Rikku turned to see if there was an opening she could slip through, only to find that her way was blocked by more of the horrible wraiths. She was surrounded and weaponless, an odd smile came to her face. She guessed it really was the end. It quickly vanished though, when the closest of the creatures leapt at her with a deep hiss, and she flinched throwing up her hands to ward off the descending creature.

Suddenly, there flash of metal as someone landed in front of her cutting the creature down with a single swipe of a sword. He turned, nodding briefly, then moved to the next fiend, systematically cutting them down.

I didn't kill him after all.

Rikku found that she was relieved, and not just because he had saved her from the strange fiends. Fiends not included, Rikku had never killed anyone in her life. Still her gratitude did not mean that she was going to stick around, and while the man was occupied, she slipped away heading towards the temple entrance, dodging as more of the creatures sprang up from the earth itself. As she reached the pavilion, she was met with pure chaos, fiends everywhere, people running away only to be pounced on by the seemingly endless numbers. While she watched, a couple was literally sucked into the shadows and they didn't come out again... And the dead... oh the dead... They lay around in piles, their party clothes soaked in blood, and in each one, there was a bloody hole in the left side of their chest. Every last one of them... She thought she was going to be sick...
Rikku shook her head and kept moving, staying close to the temple walls, not wanting to attract attention to herself. The door to the temple was closed now, and she couldn't decide if it was a good thing or bad. As she reached it, she pulled on thick doors, breathing a sigh of relief as they opened. Even though she knew they could not be locked, she somehow expected them to be magically welded shut.

The first thing Rikku did when she stepped in the door was stumble over Gippal's body, his hands outstretched to protect his lover, also dead. A tear trickled down her face as she remembered her earlier harsh thoughts towards him and the woman who had replaced her. She had really loved him once, and it appeared that he really loved her... Rikku took in the details of her still face, the curly brown hair, and the deep brown eyes. It was a nice face, and the girl had not deserved Rikku's animosity. She wasn't just replaceable clone. Rikku sniffed, and finally turned away, looking to the main area of the temple, where the sounds of swordplay echoed off the walls.

Rikku recoiled at the scene before her. There were still more bodies of those who had fallen, their eyes cast blankly upward, their faces frozen in horror. All of the flowers had fallen now, and the floor was littered with the garlands and bodies, the bloods leeching into the white petals staining them red, while the lights remained twinkling happily from above. Ignoring the carnage, two men moved swiftly across the floor, locked into battle. Tidus and the same black-clad blond who had broken her fall. Tidus jumped forward slashing with his buster sword, but Blondie turned at the last instant and the blade whizzed harmlessly through empty air. Using the opportunity as Tidus was caught in the momentum of the swing, the blond turned smacking Tidus in the back with the flat side of his own odd looking blade. Tidus fell forward and Rikku heard a shout, turning her head to see Yuna struggling in the grip of a redheaded man. Blondie laughed at her scream, thoroughly enjoying the fight, he stepped forward to strike the final blow when Tidus, lashing out with his foot, knocked the man off his feet. Now both were on the ground, scrambling to their feet, and as they stood, their swords clashed again.

Rikku took a step forward to go help when she heard a weak voice call her name... her father.

"Rikku girl, is that you?"

She walked towards the sound, trying to discern Cid from the other bodies. Finally she found him, sitting, his back against one of the statues. His dark shirt was wet, and as Rikku rushed over, she saw that it was soaked in blood. Rikku knelt next to him, and her father lifted a hand to her face.

"Yeah Pops, it's me..."

A smile appeared on Cid's face.

"Rikku girl..."

Rikku bit her fist so she wouldn't cry as she leaned forward to hear what he had to say.

"I'm too old for this shit."

Cid wheezed with laughter, but it quickly turned into coughs. Choking back a hysterical sob, she nodded squeezing her dad's hands.

"Me too, Pops. Me too..."

Cid nodded.

"Your brother? He's alright?"

Rikku forced herself to smile as the tears ran down her face. She nodded once.

"He's safe... He's fine... You'll be too, Pops!"

It was a nice lie and Cid breathed a sigh of relief as he let his head fall back. This was what he needed to hear. His children were alive. His eyes slowly drifted shut, then they fluttered open again as he looked at her, his pale green eyes shining.

"Stay out of trouble Rikku girl!"

Rikku knew that this was his way of expressing his love, and she nodded as she watched his eyes close shut for the final time.

"I will Pops... I promise."

Rikku slowly got to her feet again, her body shaking with tears. She turned back to the center of the room and as she walked forward the door blew open, and a powerful force sent her flying across the floor. She hit the stone of the wall and collapsed, her whole body throbbing in pain. She lifted her head to see a large shadowy figure enter the room. It looked like a man whose proportions had been stretched, he was unbelievably tall and seemed to be another variety of those shadowy creatures. It surveyed the room, and for a moment it's eyes rested on Rikku and its face twisted into a malicious smile and there was a predatory intelligence in his golden eyes. He might be made of the same substance, but he wasn't just some mindless fiend. Rikku shuddered under the force of his gaze, and despite the pain she pulled herself up.

When the creature had entered, Tidus and the blond man had paused fighting for a brief moment, only to continue again. They were still evenly matched, but as the creature drew closer to Yuna, Tidus grew increasingly agitated in his fear for her. Yuna had stopped struggling by now, and the redhead shoved her, propelling her towards the shadowy being. Yuna fell forward, but regained her balance, standing tall as the creature approached. Her face had an expression that Rikku had seen before. Yuna had worn it through out the journey to fight Sin. She stared the man-like shadow wraith down as he got within a foot of her. She stood tall, her pose serene. Her wedding dress was torn and bloodstained, her hair had fallen from it's coiffure, and she had long since lost her veil, but she had never looked more beautiful in her life. She turned to look at Tidus, her eyes sad as she smiled at him.

"Tidus, my love. We'll meet again."

The creature smiled again swiftly reaching out a taloned hand and shoving it into her chest, tendrils of liquid shadow latching onto Yuna's dress. There was a brilliant flash of light as the wraith pulled his hand free, her heart. Not a bloody pulsing organ, but a heart shaped crystal with blue and green threads shining in its depths of the same color that Yuna's eyes had been. Yuna fell to the ground, lifeless.


Tidus screamed, and Rikku screamed along with him... As he ran to Yuna's side, the blond used his distraction, and that was how Tidus was cut down, stabbed in the back. The sword fell out of his hands sliding across the floor, and he slumped forward, his hand outstretched reaching for Yuna's, missing by mere inches. Rikku felt all of her pain and rage bubble up inside her, at the men and the evil being responsible. Tears ran down her face. Everything Yuna and Tidus had done, everything Rikku had done to protect Yuna, to save Spira... it all amounted to nothing now. She didn't know where Paine was or Baralai, but there was no doubt in her mind that they were lost as well. Everyone she loved was dead. Rikku trembled violently with her sorrow and rage, and her vision blurred over slightly with tears. Dimly she registered that the two men were talking, ignoring her presence like she was already dead.
"Well damn, I guess we have to keep searching." This from the blond man, his voice casual. The redhead nodded.

"What did you expect? They're all the same... We should get out of here now, while there is still time." Finished with the summoner, the wraith turned and began to walk towards Rikku, the same grotesque grin on his face. The blond just shrugged his response, then he looked past Rikku towards the entrance.

"Riku, where've you been?"

At this point, the rage bubbled over and Rikku ran forward. The men's words didn't make sense to her, and her surroundings had diminished. There was nothing but pain...

The sword.

When Tidus had fallen, the sword had landed near the center of the room. There was still time for her to grab it. She'd get that demon, and those men too. She needed to know how this could have happened, but she was so angry, her mind couldn't even translate to the common tongue.

"Oui pycdyntc! Fro tysh ed? Fryd tet drao ajan tu du oui?!”

You bastards! Why damn it? What did they ever do to you?

An amused smile crossed the blond's face as the two men's heads swiveled to actually acknowledge her. Rikku made a dash to snatch the weapon when she was hit hard in the head with the hilt of a sword, a keyblade, and the room descended into darkness...

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New member
Nov 7, 2005
I can only express puzzlement, which borders on al
Thanks, I'm glad you're liking it and Ummm... I was still gaining my footing with this chapter.... so if it is repetitive, I apologize, though there is relative stuff here... And admittedly, mostly it is just felt like being evil :D.


Chapter Five: This is the Way the World Ends

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.


Riku had seen no point in lying to her, at least about this anyway. Her world was doomed and she might as well know it. Riku remembered the first time he had seen the storm, those swirling clouds of Armageddon flashing with purple and blue fire. The storm had eventually consumed his world, the Moiria Islands. At the time Riku had been seeking excitement, adventure, but most of all to be free from his small enclosed world. He didn't fear the darkness that swept over his island home; it was his means for escape. Perhaps if he had been afraid, his life would have turned out differently. As he had this thought the image of a girl entered his mind, a girl with brilliant red hair and eyes as blue as the ocean...deceptive eyes. Riku retracted his earlier thought.

No, it probably wouldn't have...

Riku turned to study the small blonde girl, relieved that he had at least managed to keep her from heading back to the wedding. He didn't know exactly who she was, or what her role was to be, but there was something... a whisper of a memory.... Somewhere, deep inside of him, he knew with an absolute certainty that she must not be killed. At least not today anyway...

At that point the girl turned to him and began to shout, almost echoing his thoughts, though she meant something else entirely.

"No! Not today!"

Then unbelievably the girl pushed him and took off again. Her shove didn't do much physically, but it did give him pause. He knew she was upset and he could understand that. The man that Ash had killed was clearly a relative of some kind... but she was being stupid. Though she didn't have a reason to trust him, she could just look to the sky for her evidence. Apparently though, he should have held back with his warning. Riku was used to dealing with people who had more of a desire for self-preservation, who looked for their safety above all else. Good or evil, when faced with the darkness, they all acted in the same manner. Countless voices asking for mercy, begging not to die...

"If you go... you'll only find darkness and death."

He let his words ring out, but he was tempted just to let her go. If she refused to listen to his warnings, then why waste the effort? He sighed, knowing he couldn't do that and as he followed her movement with his eyes, he saw the light glimmering from the high embankment at the far end of the beach. She was going to try to climb up the steep embankment to get to the temple. Releasing an annoyed sigh, Riku sprinted after her. As she reached the other end of the beach, she paused for a moment, apparently looking for the path. She scrambled up unto and unstable ledge and as Riku made a dodge for her ankle, at that point the ledge began to crumble beneath their combined weight. Riku would have been fine if the girl hadn't kicked at him at just that moment, knocking him off balance to fall with the shattered pieces of rock. Uttering a curse, he fell back all the way down to the bottom of the embankment, hitting the ground with a thump, mere inches away from the beach that would have softened the impact of the fall. Still, he had endured worse. Scowling he picked himself up and started up the mountain again.

Great, just great. She's almost more trouble then she's worth...

It would help if Riku knew exactly what she was. He had some ideas, but nothing more and despite the fact that at this point he'd very much like to throttle the little blonde, but leaving her to die here was just not a viable option.

Hurrying up the hill, Riku heard the sounds of screaming and knew without a doubt that they had begun there attack. Shortly after, Riku heard the girl shriek and he began to run faster. With his keyblade drawn, he propelled himself up over the last rise, moving just in time to cut down one of the lesser wraiths as it jumped for the girl. As he sliced the creature in two, the keyblade briefly glimmered with a pure white light before fading to the normal black metal. A look of bewilderment crossed Riku's face. The keyblade had been dead for so long...

He didn't have time to think about it and he quickly moved to cut down the rest of the wraiths that threatened the girl. While he was dealing with them, he could see the girl run off out of the corner of his eyes, right towards the center of it. Hurriedly, Riku dispatched two more, before they finally shied away as he willed, far too slowly for his liking. While death and destruction was part of their nature, they could be controlled; directed to attack or to halt an attack. Riku was even able to mold the amorphous shadow creatures into the very likeness of a person, all the better to fight with. Their disregard of his effort to impose his will on them, even if it was only temporary, made him distinctly uneasy. To Riku it could mean only two things, for some reason his heart had become more susceptible, unlikely, or it was something about this world. Hopefully it was the high summoner.

Or not...

Riku ran out into the pavilion to find the wraiths wreaking havoc, but the little blonde was nowhere in sight. Only a few survivors remained, but they'd be dead soon. Hopefully, the same could not be said of the girl. Riku shook his head and ran for the temple when he heard the deep growling that marked the arrival of the Shedim, Axel must have called it forth. He paused looking over to see the large creature rise from the ground where one of the arms of the storm had been only moments before. It immediately scanned the area, sensing. The Shedim stayed in this same pose, almost seeming to sniff the wind, before focusing on the temple. Riku frowned, it should have automatically known where to go, thus the whole process of marking the woman's veil. The liquid was made of an essence of purified heart's blood. All of the Shedim were drawn to it, even in the slightest amounts, and this one should be no different. If it needed to search something or someone was screwing with it. Riku narrowed his eyes and glance around, finding no more then the dead, the dying, and the all-consuming shadows. Still, better to be sure, and Riku decided to wait until the Shedim was in the temple before going in himself, so he could run interference if there were any otherworldly intruders. After countless warnings, they never seemed to listen.

They could ruin everything.

As the Shedim approached, Riku lifted the keyblade and placed it across his chest, not out of any deference to the creature, but rather as a warning. Forming a mental connection with the creature, a disgusting job, Riku reinforced the target as well as adding the further proviso that once done with her, under no circumstances was he to go after the blonde. A slow smile spread on the face of the stygian creature and it headed towards the door of the temple, lifting its arms to blow them open with a powerful gust of wind. Riku scanned the area one more time then followed it in, waiting in the shadows as he watched the scene unfold. He was seriously displeased to find Ash still locked in combat with the groom, but his annoyance quickly disappeared when he saw Tidus fight. Of course, it took hold once again when he saw that Ash was fighting with his left hand. Ash was right handed.

Some day those stupid games of his are going to kill him, if I don't get there first...

Of course this didn't reflect on Tidus, very few could hold their own against Ash. The man was good and it was a shame such talent would go to waste. Still, it had to happen. Riku kept close watch on the Shedim for this was the moment of truth, they moment they all found out whether the search would ever end. Emotionlessly, he watched as the Shedim killed the summoner, pulling out the crystallized heart. Riku, Ash, and Axel all knew very well that it was the darkness in a person's heart that made it vulnerable, that gave the heartless the power to take it. As the Shedim lifted the heart high, they saw that the summoner woman was just as tainted as the rest of them. If she really had been the one, her heart would not have been taken so easily. The heart they sought had to be given, not taken. Riku swore under his breath, barely hearing Tidus's scream, but the other jerked him out of his thoughts. He still had to deal with the girl and as the Shedim started to move towards her, he realized that once again someone was running interference. He ignored Ash and Axel's conversation as he stepped out of the shadows, making his way quietly over to the girl.

"Riku, where've you been?"

Riku didn't answer and instead kept his eyes on the blonde who was working herself into a rage. What was she going to do? Riku stared at Ash meaningfully, willing him to say nothing else as he finally got within a few feet of her. She began to shout in her bizarre language again and as she began to step forward, Riku used her distraction to knock her over the head. He had learned from his mistakes and if she were unconscious it would make things a whole lot easier especially with the Shedim around. Riku caught her as she began to fall and set her on the floor, before looking over at Ash and Axel.

"I had some things to attend to." Riku's voice booked no room for further questioning on the matter so of course Ash asked anyway.

"What's with the girl?"

Riku had no intention of telling either of them about what he suspected so he deliberately misinterpreted the question. .

"Angry I would guess."

He smirked at Ash's raised eyebrow and shrugged, giving a motive Ash would understand.

"Too pretty to just kill, might as well let her go quietly along with the rest of the world. Speaking of which..."

Riku walked over to the Shedim and plucked the heart from its hands. Eyes flashing it moved to strike Riku. Tossing the heart over to Axel, he moved to one side and pulled out the keyblade again. In a smooth gesture, he did a half turn, bringing the blade around to the Shedim's head, knocking it off with the force of the blow. For the second time that night, the blade began to glow. If Ash or Axel noticed, it would mean trouble so he followed through with the movement letting the keyblade sweep down so he could sheathe it again.

"Get to the gate and deliver the heart. There are still a few things that I have to do on this world. You can say that I will be along shortly."

Ash gave Riku a disturbingly knowing smile and Axel looked as if he wanted to say something, but both of the men were nervous about the amount of time left. The door they came in was not the only one, they were located all over this world and the dark storm flooded in through each. The shadowy forces were only concentrated on this island, the ultimate goal was not the people, except for the summoner, but the world itself, it's power, it's heart. There was no final blaze of glory, no fight, but a terrible slip into darkness, a star fading out of the nighttime sky. They'd be watching for it. Riku walked over to Tidus as the men walked out, after all the orders had been to kill him; it would be conceivable that he was carrying out some other objective that concerned the man. Once Axel and Ash had left, however, Riku went back to the blonde who was still out cold.

Gently picking her up, he carried her outside and set her down again. He had no intention of using the portal. It would take far too long. Instead he raised his hand up into the air and began to concentrate. A moment later a glyph appeared, the same as the tattoo he had on the back of his neck, the same one that Ash had and Axel, the curving down M, which was not an M at all. It represented an incomplete heart, the dark heart, the mark of the heartless. The glyph wavered and a portal opened, not to the murky pathways that led between the worlds, but a dirty alley darkened city of another world. Turning Riku picked up the girl again and walked through the portal just a few minutes before the storm thickened and Spira was consumed...


New member
Nov 7, 2005
I can only express puzzlement, which borders on al
Heh, thanks :) and given that I no longer have to double post to update, I shall go ahead ^_^. Chapter is shortish.

Chapter Six: Sepulchral City

“I found myself back in the sepulchral city resenting the sight of people hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other, to devour their infamous cookery, to gulp their unwholesome beer, to dream their insignificant and silly dreams. Their bearing, which was simply the bearing of commonplace individuals going about their business in the assurance of perfect safety, was offensive to me like the outrageous flauntings of folly in the face of a danger it is unable to comprehend.”
-Joseph Conrad

Cocytus… not its original name, but the one it had grown into. The sepulchral city, a dying world, succumbing to fate with open, but apathetic eyes; not the swift descent like so many of the others, but a painful, lethargic decay. Once brilliant, it was now dirty, worn, and miserable; merely waiting for the day its dull existence would fade forever. Ironically, despite the assurance of its eventual death, the city itself kept growing. A crossworld, it became home to the vagabonds, the stragglers, the lost; all of those who were “lucky” enough to have escaped their worlds before the fall. For those who had the means it was but a stop along the way, but most were trapped, the light dying from their eyes as it died from the planet.

The people called themselves the Letha, the forgotten ones, waiting for the day their number was called. They all knew the illusion for what it was. It was hard to ignore the random searches, the frequent examples that were made of its citizens, the disappearances in the night. The days grew darker still. It was often hard to distinguish between those victims of the shadow legions and those of the crimes they inflicted on one another. Values had declined in the once fair city. Death and stress make people do strange things and ultimately all they can do is perpetuate the cycle and much of the population consisted of opportunists and murderers. Exotic artifacts from lost worlds mysteriously appeared in the black markets of Cocytus and those daring enough to cross into the ninth district can find any number of people willing to slit a throat for a few paltry gil. Most though were just trying to get by, prolonging existence, blind to the plight of the new refugees for they fared no better. It was not so much that the numbers of those who survived were great, but that that many worlds had been destroyed.

Though hope was frail, it had not been completely crushed. Despite everything, Cocytus was a haven of safety. It was a physical impossibility to keep track of all the inhabitants; the ideal place to hide someone.

Riku stepped through the portal and into one of the dingy alleys of the third district. It had been a rich area once and Riku still remembered the look of the white marble, barely graying from the shadowy taint. The world had only just begun to die. The high walls of the old fountain area were now a sooty gray, and the bells in the tower that looked out over the city had long since broken. Casting his glance to the sky, he immediately began to look for the one that was flickering in with the final throes of death. Finally finding the weak light, he watched as it flashed once then blinked out. A terrifying sight, but one he was used to. Riku glanced down at the girl he held in his arms. Despite everything she looked almost peaceful, but then he supposed sleep did that to people. He was just relieved that he wouldn’t have to deal with the hysterics that would have followed if she had seen and understood the event.

Readjusting his grip, he began to wind his way down the alley, seriously hoping that no one would be stupid enough to bother him as he walked towards the fourth district. He wasn’t in the mood to deal with it and the less people that saw him and the girl, the better. Riku didn’t want word getting back to her. Instead of walking into the main square, he kept to the back streets, entering the fourth district from an old aqueduct instead of one of the four main gates. Two short turns later and just as he was beginning to tire a bit from carrying the girl so far, Riku arrived at his destination.

The house didn’t look like much. Though it was the largest on the street, it was also the most rundown; the places in which the paint had once been a vibrant red had turned a musky brown. In Cocytus, things were made to spoil. Riku walked up to the large wooden door and gently set the girl down as he turned to knock. He needed his arms free in case he had to fight. After a minute or two, the door opened and a girl of about nine with long black chair and large brown eyes stood staring out at him. A startled expression crossed the girl’s face and she slammed the door shut. He could hear the sound of her running off and he sighed, waiting a moment before knocking again. This time when the door opened, a man stood there with the look of someone toughened by battle, and cool blue eyes which hardened at the sight of Riku. The girl who had answered the door hid behind the man, peering at Riku with her large owlish eyes. Before saying anything to Riku, the man turned to the girl.

“Rinoa, go see your mother, now.” The girl looked as if she wanted to protest, but seeing the look on her father’s face she scampered away and the man turned to Riku again, placing his arms across his chest.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Riku smirked. Not exactly a warm welcome, but better then he expected.

“Hello to you to, Leon.” Shaking his head, Leon began to close the door and Riku decided he might as well cut to the chase. “I need you to do something for me.”

Leon didn’t like that and he glared fiercely at Riku. “Yeah right, why would I do anything for you? You’re nothing, but a—“

Riku held up his hand, a faint smile still playing along his face. “Stop, before you say something you regret.”

Picking up the girl, he brought her over, watching as Leon’s eyes widened. “I need you to take her. Give her a place to stay. Keep her safe.”

Leon cast Riku a startled look which quickly turned into one of suspicion. “Why, who is she? What happened to her?” Riku shook his head impatiently.

“Look if you won’t do it for me, do it for him… I don’t have time for this now and to be honest, I am not entirely sure… That’s partly where you come in. Her world was just consumed.”

There was no misunderstanding in who the he was that Riku referred to, though Riku had mostly just thrown it in to remind Leon of the way things were.

When Leon looked as if he was going to refuse, Riku continued. “Just consider her to be another one of your refugees, oh yes I know about them.”

Very casually Riku drew a symbol into the air, a symbol for fire, and the one on the door that guarded the place where Riku knew that Squall was hiding the ones who were wanted. Riku didn’t give a damn about them so he hadn’t reported it. The leverage was infinitely more valuable.

“It would be a shame if it were discovered, all your efforts to waste. I’m sure they’d be very interested to meet the man who had arranged it all also. Not a good position for a man with a family… exactly how old is your daughter now anyway?” Riku smiled faintly. He wouldn’t actually do any of the things he threatened, had every reason not to actually, but Leon didn’t know that and the tight expression on his face confirmed it. Leon sighed looking down at the girl again.

“You really are a bastard… bring her in.” Leon moved out of the way so Riku could carry her into the house. Gesturing him to follow, Leon led Riku through the main hall and into a living room. A fire was crackling in the fire place and assorted people of varying ages sat around all turning to look at Riku with suspicion and some with hatred. Leon gestured to the couch.
“You can put her here for now.” Riku nodded and set her down, staring for a moment at her, an inscrutable expression in his pale eyes as he once again tried to figure it out, to put the pieces together.

Looking up to find Leon watching him, he nodded then turned to the door, and the other man followed him out. Riku walked through the hall and opened the front door, then pausing, he turned to look at the other man.

“Keep an eye on her for anything… out of the ordinary. I’ll try to come back some time soon.”

Riku began to walk away and Leon started to shut the door when Riku paused turning back to face him.

“None of your people were there tonight, right?” Riku gave the other man a hard look and Leon appeared to be struggling with whether to answer or not. Finally the man shook his head and spoke in a slightly exasperated tone.

“No… that all?”

Riku smiled faintly in response. “Yeah that’s it… and Leon, thanks.” Riku turned and began to walk down the darkened streets.

If they weren’t there, then what caused the interference?

With his mind thus occupied. Riku walked towards the eighth district and the portal to Hollow Bastion. He still had to report and only then could rest…


New member
Nov 7, 2005
I can only express puzzlement, which borders on al
Hehe, thanks! Love to be literate... And eak... I just noticed the worst typo ever in the last chapter... but I shall pretend it doesn't exist since apparently I can't edit...


Chapter Seven : Awakening

Bnyo, cyjeuin (Pray, saviour)

Tnays, Lremt uv Bnyoan (Dream, Child of Prayer)

Vunajan yht ajan (Forever and ever)

Pnehk ic bayla (Bring us peace)

- The Hymn of the Fayth

"Friends, in your life I hope you do four things; lie, steal, cheat, and drink. When you lie, do it to save a friend. When you steal, steal someone's heart. When you cheat, cheat death. And when you drink, drink with me!"

Everyone smiled as Wakka finished his heartfelt toast. It was a common one at weddings, but very appropriate, especially at this one. Everyone here had done one or another.

Wakka grinned and drank deeply from his cup then setting the empty glass down on the table with a thunk, he turned to Tidus and slapped him hard across the back, his thick Besaid accent even thicker from the alcohol.

"Con-grah-dulations, Brudda."

Then after dropping a swift kiss on Yuna's cheek, Wakka turned to his wife Lulu and plucked his four year old son, Vidina, from her arms and tossing the giggling child once into the air he caught him and swung him around towards Rikku.

"You hold him while I dance with my beautiful wife, ya?" Rikku smiled and held out her arms to accept the child.

"No problem!"

Wakka smiled broadly then walked over to Lulu, sweeping aside her protestations and Lulu almost literally off of her feet as they went to dance. It was funny to see how the couple had changed since they got married. Giggling slightly she turned back to Yuna and Tidus to see them moving to dance as well, and Paine and Baralai had already taken off, not to dance, Paine didn't dance. Rikku sighed.

"Guess it's just you and me Vidina!"

She tickled the four year old and began to bounce him on her lap as her mind drifted back to the words of Wakka's toast, feeling inexplicably uneasy despite the happiness of the occasion.

When you steal, steal someone's heart...

What was it? What was missing? What was she forgetting?

As she sat with Vidina and considered the matter, the roar of the party faded, transforming into random sibilant whispers, like bits of conversation, but she was missing out on all the vital parts...

"The heartless...

pure of...

to unlock...

door of light...

too late..."

In the midst of them all one voice rang out clearly in her mind. "This world has been connected. Tied to the darkness... soon to be completely eclipsed..."

"What?!" Rikku shook her head and jumped to her feet as she clutched Vidina. Everyone around her seemed menacing now, their faces twisted into grotesque smiles... she'd seen a smile like that before... but where? Vidina began to scream. And Rikku quickly reached her hand up to his face to try and comfort him.

"Shhhh, shh, it's ok Vidina... let's go find your mommy." Vidina just screamed louder and all of a sudden there was a loud popping noise and one of the starry lights on the ceiling blinked. Suddenly Rikku realized that Vidina had stopped screaming. As she hugged him closer, her arms hit empty space and she ended up grabbing her own shoulders as Vidina vanished. Rikku released a startled yelp, but no one noticed. Everyone was all smiles and party faces. Rikku ran through the crowd until she finally found Lulu and Wakka.

"Vidina, he's go—"

Lulu cut her off, a hateful glow in her violet eyes and Rikku recoiled, she had never felt such a look.

"I know Rikku. You failed him." There was another pop as another light blinked out and with it Lulu as well.

"I don't understand, what's happening? Wakka?"

Wakka just shook his head.

"Rikku, You shouldna done that!"


He was gone.., and the room was darker still.

"But I didn't, I didn't do anything..."

"Exactly." Rikku looked up to see Paine beside her. "You could have you know."

Rikku looked back at her, her eyes welling up with tears.

"What? What could I have---"

POP! Another one gone and Paine with it...

Rikku clapped her hands over her ears and shut her eyes tightly, she couldn't take this anymore, but she couldn't block out the voice, the whispering in her mind.

"You really are a child..."

Rikku lifted her head to glare at the person who wasn't there, whose voice sounded so darkly in her head. She hated it in when people called her that.

"Why are you doing this? What is happening? Why won't you just tell me?!"

Once again the strange voice came back, flowing over her as the lights blinked out overhead. What he said next sounded like an oft repeated line.

"One who knows nothing can understand nothing..."

Rikku shook her head in annoyance as the voice began to chuckle...

"You will find the answers you seek... just step into the darkness..."

"No!" Rikku was a child of the desert, a child of the sun. She would not do as he said.

Rikku looked around, most of the people had vanished now, were still vanishing as the lights above their head winked out... Gippal, Baralai, Cid... One by one, they disappeared. All that remained were two dwindling lights... Yuna and Tidus. Rikku ran over to them, desperately hoping that they'd have the answers, that they'd be themselves. She nearly sobbed in relief as Yuna gazed at her, a softness to her expression.

"Yunie?" Yuna smiled and held Tidus's hand in her own. Tidus looked at her, an earnest expression in his gaze.

"It's not your fault."

He turned to look at Yuna and Yuna squeezed his hand tightly before nodding at Rikku.

"Sing for me...for us..."

The lights dimmed as Yuna and Tidus slowly faded away, this time not disappearing, but combining into one. Rikku cast her gaze into the darkness then sat down under the light and turned her eyes up to the faint golden orb. Starting quietly she sang the hymn of the faith, her voice getting stronger with every word as she repeated it over and over, so the voice couldn't penetrate her thoughts.

"Bnyo, cyjeuin, Tnays, Lremt uv Bnyoan, Vunajan yht ajan, Pnehk ic bayla."

She watched the orb and as she sang it got brighter and brighter, a beacon of light quelling the dark. Just before she was completely encompassed by the light, a loud girlish voice cut in—

"Locke! What are you doing in here?! You were only supposed to hide downstairs."

"I know but—"The girl cut him off again.

"Momma said we that we weren't supposed to come in here!"

"But she—"

"I'm gonna go tell Momma!"

The boy began to yell know obviously not wanting to get in trouble, but frustrated that he kept getting cut off.

"I KNOW, BUT SHE WAS SINGING!" The girl broke off, then began in a voice that was almost as loud as the boy yelling.

"What?! Oh now look what you've done! You've gone and woken her up!!!"

Rikku's eyes slowly flickered open, her blurry sleep-ridden gaze sharpening to see two sets of wide anxious brown eyes staring down at her and all remnants of her dream were forgotten. Unfortunately, her mind didn't do her the same courtesy about the events of the evening, and everything that happened came rushing back to her. Rikku blinked back the tears that pricked at her eyes. She couldn't handle it, for now she'd focus on the present situation. She sat up, aware of the unwavering focus of the two children, and gazed around the small room. The wallpaper was faded with a strange pattern of unfamiliar blue flowers and the wooden floor was covered in a purple threadbare rug. A large trunk lay at the end of the bed and a small lamp rested on the bed stand next to her. Her green dress lay folded neatly on the stand, and Rikku looked down at herself, exceedingly embarrassed to find herself dressed in someone's oversized pajamas. Lifting her hand to her forehead she felt a bandage covering her temple. Letting her hand drop, she cast one more quick look around the room. All of the things were recognizable, but foreign. She was certainly not on Besaid Island anymore.

"Where am I?"

The little boy gasped. "She has amleesia!" The girl, clearly his sister, frowned at him, brushing a strand of dark hair from her face.

"It's amnesia... and don't be stupid. She was sleeping when she came here, so it's obvious that she wouldn't know where she is. Besides you get amnesia when you can't remember who you are!" The little boy frowned, thinking this over.


The girl turned away from him, an exasperated look on her face which transformed into a look of worry as she studied Rikku.

"You do know who you are, don't you?"

Rikku was about to respond when the boy lifted his head, his eyes sparkling.

"I'm Locke, and this is Rinoa! This is my room! Momma said it would be better to put you in here where you'd be out of the way. Dad said ok, but wanted to put a lock on the outside of the door, cause he thought you might be a shadowmaker, but Momma wouldn't let him and called him an overly suppiscious A-S-S. He didn't like that much, no sirree... Are you an angel? Cause you have funny eyes, and you were singing in your sleep and angels sing and you were singing in some weird language. Is that the angel language? Can you teach me?"

Rinoa looked increasingly horrified as Locke continued to chatter away but she also wanted to hear Rikku's answer. The girl wasn't as grown up as she pretended to be. Rikku blinked, overwhelmed. The grogginess hadn't quite faded and she realized she had a splitting headache, no doubt from the blow to her head.

That son of a shoopuff!

Once again, Rikku was bordering on dangerous territory so she dropped the thought and forced herself to smile at the pair.

"My name's Rikku. I'm sorry, I'm not an angel, I'm just a girl... but it would be fun to meet one! I don't remember singing, but if I was, it was in Al Bhed."

Rikku's forehead creased at the blank, but eager looks on the children's faces. They didn't seem to have heard of Al Bhed, which was extremely odd. Everyone in Spira at least knew of the Al Bhed, even if most didn't bother to learn the language.

"It's the language of my people... I'd be glad to teach it to you... but maybe you can help me too... What town are we in, I thought I'd been just about everywhere in Spira—"

"Rinoa! Locke! It told you two to stay out of here, and now you've woken her up!" Both children started guiltily and Rikku looked up to see a pretty woman in her late twenties or early thirties. The dark hair and brown eyes were unmistakable. She had to be Locke and Rinoa's mother. The woman smiled at Rikku then walked over to the children, shooing them away from the bed.

"Go on downstairs, dinner's ready." The woman watched with bemusement as the children scampered off then turned back to Rikku. "I'm so sorry they woke you... How are you feeling?"

How was she feeling? Empty at the moment...

Rikku shrugged slightly, forcing a smile on her face.

"Oh it's ok, and I am alright also I guess... Heh, aside from the worst headache of my life."

Rikku frowned slightly, feeling uncomfortable.

"Um if I may ask... where am I, how did I get here? I don't... remember..."

Block it out, block it out, block it out...

The woman's smile faltered, but she steeled herself. This was something she was used to, at least to some extent.

"We're in the city Cocytrus."

Rikku gave her a puzzled look.

"Cocytus, I've never heard of it and I've been all over Spi—"

A pained look crossed the woman's face and realization dawned in Rikku's eyes.

"I'm not in, I'm not...What... what happened to... You're joking, you have to be..."

The woman shook her head, her eyes sad as she instinctively laid her hand over Rikku's.

"I'm so sorry."

Rikku concentrated on breathing, panic welling up inside of her. A tear trickled slowly down her cheek.

"I think, I think I need to rest some more."

The woman nodded, an understanding look in her warm brown eyes.

"You should, I think it will help. It'll be good for that headache also."

The woman squeezed Rikku's hand once then walked to the door turning to look at her.

"If you need anything, don't hesitate to call. I'm Julia."

Rikku nodded, forcing the smile back to her face. "Rikku." Julia's eyes widened at this, but Rikku didn't notice, and as the door was quietly closed, Rikku turned her head in towards the pillow and cried herself to sleep.
Last edited:


New member
Nov 7, 2005
I can only express puzzlement, which borders on al
Thanks and ook another update... ohh and you're absolutely right. Julia is from FFVIII... the name was an attempt to be devious on my part, if you know some of the backstory about who Julia was and stuff like that... It ties in to the whole Leon/Squall name switching... Anyway, it's not vital to this story even if you don't remember. :)


Chapter Eight: Meetings and Games

They are playing a game they are playing at not playing a game, if I show them that I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me Therefore I must play the game of not seeing that I see the game.

--RD Laing

The entrance to Hollow Bastion lay at the top of a bone white tower that loomed over the city. It just appeared there one day about seven years ago as yet another reminder to the doomed city of the power of those who controlled the dark. The tower itself was unguarded. Hollow Bastion was teeming with shadow wraiths and everyone knew it. A person would be considered lucky if they held onto their lives for even a minute after they crossed through that gate. However, none of this concerned Riku as he made his way up the spiraling staircase to the top of the tower. After all, if anyone was stupid enough to enter that door[i/] then they deserved what they got.

Reaching the top, Riku paused for a moment, glancing down at the nine districts of Cocytus before pulling a blindfold out of his pocket and tying it securely around his head. That done, he continued forward.

As Riku stepped through the portal, he could feel an immediate change in atmosphere. If Cocytus was dying, Hollow Bastion was already dead. It was a cold soulless citadel in a world of perpetual shadow and ice and a night that knew no end.

Riku didn't have to see his surroundings to know exactly where he had arrived. The sounds of water rushing all around him was answer enough. They echoed in crystalline tones as they poured down into an abyss. Riku himself was on a platform of ice, floating eerily, high above the gap. The clicking of claws on the ice informed him that the shadow wraiths were all around him, but he ignored them as he walked to the other side of the ice, knowing exactly how many steps would take him to the edge.

The wraiths were the reason for the blindfold. The ones at Hollow Bastion were older, darker creatures, simultaneously drawn to and damaged by the odd light shining from Riku's eyes. Only a minor hassle as Riku didn't need his sight. He could sense his surroundings anyway.

Unconsciously, Riku lifted his head towards the top spire of the citadel. That was where he'd left from, through the portal to the "End of the World" where he had been immersed in the light and then cast back into the darkness. He had been blind for a full year afterwards and was as good as blind for another year after, cursed to wander in the void between the worlds, but Riku was never one to remain helpless for long. He quickly adapted to the change and if anything became a better fighter for it.

Riku never questioned the fact that he hadn't just been killed outright afterwards. He was more useful to them alive then dead, Riku had once been the true wielder of the keyblade and the only one with any measure of control over the powers of those he carried now.

That and he wouldn't...

Smiling faintly, Riku terminated the thought. Finally reaching the far end of the platform, he leapt forward, trusting that the lift was in place. It was so he reached out towards the pedestal in the center and picked up the globe that rested on the top, turning it once before replacing it. After a moment, the lift jerked into motion and the air whipped through Riku's hair as he sped towards the castle gates. The sensation was like flying and perhaps the one thing that Riku actually liked about the place.

Eventually the lift stopped and Riku disembarked at the landing of a long flight of marble stairs. Quickly he made his way to the top, ignoring the flood of shadow fiends around him. They wandered free outside of the citadel, but once inside they came only upon command, but still, once again Riku was struck by their restlessness. They were following him more closely then usual. He could hear their sibilant sounds as they slunk around him and the flapping of leathery wings high in the air as the avian shades scouted the area for fresh blood. Riku had seen them in the full glory of their flight as they swooped down on the unsuspecting, lifting people high in the air and dropping them as they ripped the hearts from their chests, their eyes gleaming as they flew off with the hearts clutched between their sooty talons. They weren't neat and tidy like with the Shedim's work on the summoner, but rather pure violence... not the heart shaped crystal pulled from the soul, but the blood and pain and utter earthiness of the still pulsing organs. In both cases, a heart was irretrievably taken, but with the crystal, it could be used after the death of its "donor".

Speaking of which...

Walking through the gates, he entered a side door to the courtyard, leaving the vast majority of the shadow wraiths behind him, the noise of the bubbling fountain, replacing that of the babbling fiends. And something else...

Riku felt the shifting in the air currents right before he saw the flicker in his mind and as the sword whizzed towards him, he ducked and slid past, jerking his elbow hard into his attacker's back. The man grunted as he whirled around and Riku continued with the momentum, smoothly turning to face his attacker, an arrogant smile appearing on his handsome face.

"Clumsy... very clumsy." As the man released an annoyed grunt, he charged and Riku moved, waiting until the last second to bring the flat of his blade down to whip him in the back again forcing the other man to stumble. The match was ridiculously one sided so Riku decided to end it, resting his sword at the man's throat before he could make another move.

"Drop it, Donal. What the hell are you doing attacking with a sword anyway? Stick with the sorcery; it's what you're good at." Riku smirked. "Then you might at least stand some chance." At first Riku thought the lack or response was due to the fact that Donal was angry, but as he felt another flicker behind him, he realized that he was just waiting for the second attacker to move. Riku spun, moving the keyblade in his right hand up and around, stopping the other man in his tracks as he brought the one in his left back down to cover Donal.

"You too." A moment later the clatter of metal on marble could be heard as the man quite wisely dropped his sword.

The sound of chuckling and soft clapping filled the courtyard and Riku stiffened slightly.

I should have known...

"How do you do it? How did you know he was there?"

Riku shrugged, having no intention of giving the answer. Truth was that when he gained his sight back, he also got something more, the ability to sense auras. A useful ability, but one he had to concentrate on to fully use, and when he went blind folded, he made sure to be very aware of what was going on around him. Still there was no reason for her to know.

"It was obvious," Continuing on in a bored tone, he tilted his head towards her. "Is your little game over now?" Riku could practically hear the sly smile in the woman's voice as she responded, her tone coy.


Hiding his annoyance, he pushed the keyblade into the throat of the man still standing, causing him to yelp.

"You don't like this one much do you?"

The man began to blubber and wave his arms about as once more, laughter broke out once more. Both Riku and the woman ignored the man. The threat wasn't entirely idle, but she wouldn't have given a damn anyway. Still, after a moment she acquiesced.

"Oh Riku, you're no fun, but fine, no more games, I promise... for now anyway. You can release them."

Nodding Riku sheathed the keyblades and smirking he reached out a hand to help the surely sorcerer to his feet.

"I got it!" The man snapped at him, a glare in his voice. Donal always did have a problem with losing and Riku had really only offered the hand to piss him off, but enough was enough.

"Did Ash and Axel make it?"

Donal hesitated for a moment and Riku wondered if it was to check for confirmation that he could respond. The man's tone was malicious, when he did.

"Yeah they got here an hour ago. Like you were supposed—"

"Riku, come walk with me." Riku turned as the conversation was interrupted before leaving Donal standing there as he went over to her, absolute accuracy in his approach.

Might as well get it over with.

They both began to walk, and Riku began in a blank conversational tone.
"So, you have the summoner's heart." Riku paused, she had stopped walking.

"Riku, the wraiths aren't around, why don't you take off the blindfold, so I can see your handsome face."

Riku shook his head, a faint smile on his face, despite his annoyance. This was typical. "No point. I'm leaving again after we take care of business... Besides, it's comfortable."

Riku felt her move and quickly caught her wrist, not even liking that much contact, as she tried to remove the blindfold.

"I said, I'll leave it." His voice betrayed nothing, but the emphasis on the last two words was clear enough. He dropped the hand as if it were a venomous snake, which actually wasn't that far off, and her tone betrayed her petulance.

"Oh fine... So stubborn... to business then... the heart was not the right one, but then you knew that. I'm terribly disappointed. We all are. You sure it's the summoner's? It wasn't what was sensed."

"She was impossible to miss. If hers wasn't the one you wanted, that's your problem, and what, you doubt your own brother now?"

"Axel's a good little boy... most of the time.... of course I do. He told me something very interesting actually... something about a girl? A pretty little thing to hear Ash talk. Just exactly, why is it that you were so late? I didn't give you any orders about remaining behind."

Riku remained unruffled, despite the fact that the questioning was a little too pointed. He knew how to handle it.

"That's right, you didn't."

This shut her up, but not for long. Still, it directed the conversation elsewhere, just as Riku wanted.

"I don't give a damn what the hold up is, I expect you to return promptly. Since you only brought a useless heart, you'll keep searching."

"Obviously." Riku replied in a dry tone, which only angered her more, but she wasn't a mistress of Hollow Bastion for nothing, and she quickly controlled it. "Are we done here? Is he around?"

"He won't see you today. He was awfully disappointed with your failure; it's made him physically ill." Her tone was nasty and the lie wasn't even meant to be believable. Riku barely refrained from rolling his eyes, though with the blindfold, it wouldn't have mattered much anyway.

"Well then I'm done here." Riku turned and strode toward the exit, cocking his head slightly as he heard her call after him.

"One week Riku, unless you get a message... and don't think I didn't notice about that change of subject." Riku kept walking...


She watched him go with a slight frown marring her pretty features. He was too damn difficult to manipulate. After a moment though, the frown cleared only to be replaced by a devious smirk.

Not impossible though...

Riku had told her something, just by refusing to mention it. Unless he really did get other orders... She knew she'd have to ask and the thought infuriated her. It put her in a bad position. Either she was for some reason being left out of the loop or she'd risk showing incompetence by her inability to keep tabs on Riku. She was quite immune, but it was the principle of the thing.

"Donal, go get Axel and tell him to come to find me. I'll be in my study." The sorcerer nodded and dashed off, and after a moment she departed as well.
Exiting the courtyard, she headed towards the east wing and her lavish suite. Sitting down at the desk in her study, she thought for a moment and then began to compose a letter. Axel came in just as she finished and she met his arrival with a bright smile, nodding for him to take a seat.

Though Axel was actually the older of the two siblings, but she felt he also possessed a more submissive personality, even with the bloodthirsty way he acted at times, leaving her to take charge even to the point of turning him into her errand boy. Though this was important and she simply couldn't trust it to anyone else.

"I need you to deliver this for me." Axel took it scanning the envelope quickly, looking up with a questioning look in his eyes.


She smiled wickedly and gave him a slight nod.

"Perfect, isn't it?"

After a moment, Axel smiled as well. "It certainly explains a lot."

"Indeed... I need it done tonight. The sooner he reads it, the better... Now before you go, tell me again what happened with this girl." The behavior was extremely atypical of Riku, but eventually she'd find out what was going on in that head of his. She always did.


New member
Jan 28, 2005
I will tell no one.
'Impressive' would be an understatement. You don't see that kind of detail too often around here and especially not in Fan Fics. A story of your own making would truly be a sight to behold.


New member
Nov 7, 2005
I can only express puzzlement, which borders on al
Thanks very much, that's quite a compliment. I actually am attempting to write some original works, but as I would like to get one of my stories published some day, (my delusion of grandeur), I won't be putting any of them up.

Ok... new chapter...


Chapter Nine: Explanations

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring.
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

-J.R.R. Tolkien, an Al Bhed author, of course.

Rikku flinched and opened her eyes, immediately raising her hand to block out the dusty sunlight that filtered in through the faded curtains. She puzzled at it for a moment. The light was an odd color and it was impossible for her to tell what time it was.

How long have I been sleeping?

Thankfully she had not dreamed, but remained blissfully unaware. Sadly, this was no longer the case; though this time she had no confusion about where she was or rather where she wasn't, and no immediate feeling of suffering. She felt... distanced... but also wide awake.

Sitting up with a frown, she threw off the covers and climbed out of the bed, gingerly setting her bare feet onto the hard floor. Physically, she felt much better then she had before. Now she just wanted to find that woman Julia and hopefully get some answers. Looking down at the large nightshirt she wore, Rikku briefly wondered if she should change back into the green dress so she'd at least be wearing proper clothes, but she quickly discarded the idea. The thought made her sick, as if dark karma clung to it now. Besides, she'd be lying if she claimed that she hadn't worn skimpier outfits, a lot skimpier. No, this would be fine. She was actually astonished with herself for even caring about such a comparatively trivial thing.


Fixing a determined expression on her face, Rikku opened the door and poked her head out into the hall. Finding it clear, she stepped out, looking around in both directions. It was in much the same state as the room she just left; musty, gray, depressing, and also painfully silent. Three other doorways lay to her left, but Rikku wasn't about to go exploring in the bedrooms of someone else's house so instead she headed for the stairs, hoping that she'd find Julia or those kids below.

She continued to absorb her surroundings as she walked down the steps. There was something odd about this place that she couldn't quite put her finger on. Reaching the landing, she found that the living room area was empty as well. The door to her left looked like it might lead into a kitchen so Rikku went there, wondering if this place did in fact have inhabitants or if she had just imagined Julia, Rinoa, and Locke. It was bad enough waking up in an unknown place, but to wake up alone and abandoned in some creepy old house after everything that had happened... Shaking her head, she pushed the door open, almost startled when she actually did find someone on the other side.

The man jerked his head up, fixing her with a dark stare as he casually concealed the papers he was writing on. They both took a moment to assess one another before either of them spoke. The man was striking with sable brown hair and stormy dark blue eyes that were almost violet, but perhaps the most striking thing about him was the scar that ran between his eyes and across the bridge of his nose, clearly made by some sort of blade.

"Uh... hi." Rikku said, most intelligently. The man leaned back in his chair, continuing with his assessment, clearly seeing something about her that he didn't like.

"So you're awake."

Why yes, yes I am... and aren't you the observant one...

The look he gave made her testy. It reminded her all too much of the way she had seen so many Yevonites give the Al Bhed as if scorning them for their mere existence. After all she was the one who was knocked out and brought here, not the other way around. Why should he be viewing her with such mistrust? She guessed that he must be Rinoa and Locke's father, the one who had wanted to lock her in that room. It was just rude and well... mean. Rikku held her tongue in check though. She needed to find out more about where she was... about what happened and she didn't think the best way would be to bitch at her host.

"Um yeah..." Rikku hesitated and there was a moment of awkward silence before the questions came pouring out of her. "How did I get here? What happened to Spira? What is this place? Who are you?!"

The man looked calmly back at her then responded to the last one. "I could ask you the same thing... Spira... that was your world?"

Rikku nodded slowly looking down at the ground. "Was my world..." Abruptly she jerked her head up, eyes blazing at him. "What happened to it?! What were those, those things... they... killed everyone. Everyone I love is dead!" Rikku laughed, slightly hysterical. "Everyone I hate is dead!" That made her pause, it wasn't entirely true... she certainly hated the ones who had done this, and she had no doubt in her mind that they were very much alive. "I don't even know why I am not dead..." She ended this last bit with a shrill tone in her voice.

So much for remaining calm.

For a moment she thought she saw a flicker of sympathy in the man's eyes, but then it was gone, replaced by a hard look as he got up from the table and approached, his arms crossed as he glared down at her... and an absolutely ginormous sword at his side. He was quite clearly trying to intimidate her, but she had no idea why.

"That's what I want to know... Awfully lucky aren't you, very convenient that you yourself were the only one to make it out. That you were saved." Rikku couldn't believe what she was hearing and grew more upset with each word that he spoke. She glared up at him angrily, waving her arms wildly as she answered back.

"Look you big jerk, I don't know what happened. I was unconscious, nooo memory of how I got here! Last thing I do remember is seeing my cousin violently murdered by some big creepy black fiend and one of my best friends get cut down by some psycho when he tried to help her. Then I got whacked over the head, lights out, and that's it! Believe me. I would have much preferred to die instead of Yunie..."

Then much to her embarrassment, Rikku burst into tears, though she was gratified to see the slightly regretful and completely helpless look on his face. At that moment, Julia burst into the room and immediately assessing the situation, and seeing Rikku's wet face, she scowled and gave the man a reproachful look.

"What is going on here?! Are you alright? Why don't you sit down and I'll make some tea..."

Julian gently led Rikku over to the chair and immediately began bustling about, putting water in the kettle and pulling out cups. Then turning to Rikku with a smile, she grabbed the man's hand and headed for the living room.

"Excuse me. I need to talk to Leon. It will only be a moment." Rikku watched as she dragged him out and after a quiet moment, brushing away her tears and listening to Julia's voice as it rose an anger and the words of her rant became clear.

"I didn't realize I'd married such a bully. She's obviously been through a lot; I cannot believe you were provoking her like that, making her cry. She's still injured Leon!"

Leon did not shout back, so Rikku did not get to here his part of the conversation, but soon enough Julia began again.

"I don't care who brought her here! You cannot tell me she is not a victim in the situation... This isn't so different. She's just another one that needs help... If Mikael had given the order to—"

Leon broke in again, obviously telling Julia to keep her voice down, because she quieted and Rikku could not hear the remainder of the conversation. When the pair returned, Leon no longer appeared so hostile, but neither did he look happy about the situation. Rikku glared stubbornly at him as he moved in front of her and grudgingly held out his hand in apology.

"I'm sorry. You can't be too trusting around here if you want to survive and we have more cause to be suspicious then most... I just don't want to put my family into jeopardy, which is always what happens when he's involved and when he brought you here. I thought you were a spy." Rikku frowned in confusion. She had absolutely no idea what Leon was talking about.

"Who brought me here?"

Julia walked over setting down a cup of steaming tea in front of her, answering.

"Riku." Rikku turned to look at her, wondering what she wanted.


Julia smirked and even Leon wasn't able to keep a straight face. The idea of Riku and the little blonde girl having essentially the same name was just too funny. Rikku frowned as she looked back and forth between the pair.

"What are you smiling at? Julia just shook her head.

"That's his name. Riku. Two nights ago he dropped you off." It clicked. The silver haired man, he had warned her and then he had knocked her out and brought her here, leaving Spira to die... Riku. The name fit somehow, despite the irony of it.

"Ok... but why? Who is he? He warned me about..." Rikku shook her head impatiently. "Can you please explain to me what happened to Spira and what those things were?" Leon nodded slightly as he took a seat at the table again.

"I can't claim to know why he did get you off the world, but he probably brought you here because we help people like you, people whose worlds have been lost." Seeing the still confused expression on her face, he continued to explain. "The wraiths, the shadow beings... They're called the Heartless, creatures of pure darkness. They move from world to world and steal the heart of it, its life essence, and then the world dies. Sometimes the process is quick, sometimes slow. They're under the control of...let's just say some bad people, at Hollow Bastion. Riku works for those people, thus the mistrust... but I owed him, so here you are."

Rikku shook that aside for now and stared at him in disbelief. "But why do they do it?"

And why'd he save me...

Leon simply shrugged. No one really knew the answer. "Desire for destruction, power... they're looking for something."

Rikku's gaze took on a determined focus. "Well it's got to stop. They can't just get away with this!"

And she would have her vengeance.

"They already have, best thing you can do now is try to get over it. Live what life you have left. Cocytus is dying, slowly but surely, but it's all there is. No world is safe." Rikku threw him a disgusted look. Just do nothing?! Before she could speak though, Julia stood up.

"Rikku, I am sure you'd like some real clothes. I believe there's some in the attic that would fit you. I had a friend... she was just a little taller then you... the clothes will do nicely if we can find it."

Rikku was curious, but by way Julia talked, Rikku knew that whoever her friend was, she was dead now and Rikku didn't want to hurt her with questions.

"Come on Leon, you can help us look also and explain to Rikku about the order of things here in Cocytus."

So as they all headed up the stairs and to the attic, Leon gave Rikku a rough overview of the districts of the city, the nine rings, making sure she understood which areas to avoid. Basically, if she went past the fifth district, she'd be in trouble, though none of the sectors could be deemed as very safe. As he continued to drone on, they all began to search around the attic. Hollow Bastion and the heartless seemed to be an off limits topic for now, but she'd find out more... later. For now though, she'd focus on the task at hand. Search for the clothes.

The attic was cluttered with a random assortment of boxes and old furniture. It had the same musty old feel as the rest of the house, but was even worse. Rikku walked around, trying to see in the dim room, there was only one window and the lights didn't work. No one seemed inclined to get a lamp, so Rikku made do. As she surveyed the room though, she began to notice something strange. At first it was just a flicker and Rikku thought that she had just imagined it, but then it happened again, longer this time. Holding still, she waited and the glow came once more, this time not diminishing. Following it to the source, she found a big old clothing trunk, with an odd light seeping out of the sides.

"What in the farplane...?" Rikku moved forward almost as if she were drawn to whatever lay inside the chest. Opening it she saw that it had the clothes that they were looking for, but that wasn't what interested her. Lying just under a yellow dress at the top of the chest was a sword, the same type that the man who had killed Tidus had wielded. The same type as Riku's. Strikingly similar actually. Reaching down, she picked it up, absent mindedly calling to Julia and Leon.

"I found the clothes... and something else." The pair came out from behind the stacks they were looking in and as Leon saw the keyblade he turned to Julia, an appalled expression on his face. "That's what you call safe keeping?!"

Julia frowned at him. "Well and why not? I was sure that no one would—" Julia broke off as Leon rested his hand on her arm nodding at her to look over at the girl. Rikku herself was looking down, the blonde hair cascading down her back, and the oversized nightshirt hanging to her knees. She looked like a child, staring down in wonder at the keyblade in her hands as the object itself glowed softly, quelling the dusty darkness of the attic.

Julia glanced at Leon. "Well that's new."
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New member
Jan 28, 2005
I will tell no one.
Oh, quotes from the Lord of the Rings. Now you most definately have my respect.
I assume that both Sora and Yuffie are dead. Prehaps even Aerith. Your stories seem to be very anti-light side... I like it. However, if you go so far as to kill the FF7 Cid, then I may well go on a rampage.
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