CoWR - Introduction
Chapter 26: The War Begins
DISCLAIMER: FINALLY! THE END OF THE INTRO! ...But I still don't own it's characters.
Apologies in advance for any errors and how it jumps around from one conversation to another.
In the throne of Order's Sanctuary, the Goddess Cosmos rises from her riposte after her battle with Chaos. "...No sense in delaying the inevitable." She raises her eyes to the heavens, and closes them, focusing on her chosen warriors.
It is time.
On the Nautilus, Sun was lying back on the bed thinking over the past few hours, before closing his eyes and finding himself in a strange world of light. "...Guess this was the only logical way that this day coulda ended..."
As he watches, figures begin to appear in the air around him.
"...Just one fun new location after another." Lightning remarks.
A red head with pigtails runs up to the rose haired soldier. "Huh? Light?"
Balthier give a small chuckle. "Well I have to say, I was almost certain I burnt the only alcohol I had today..."
Ashe looks around at the scenery and the rapidly appearing warriors "...This is..."
Sun walks over to the appearing group. "Anyone with any idea as to where we are?"
Spontaneously, everyone draws their weapons and point them at both him and each other. Except Vanille.
Sun raises an eyebrow "...I see you've met me before then."
Everyone takes that moment to drop their weapons, some because they recognize some of the people who have magically appeared in this dimension.
Caro, Mog, and Setzer all appear.
"MY SHIP!" Setzer wailed.
"Uh... where the hell are we?" Caro said, looking around.
"Wherever it is, it could be a little bit darker, kupo!" Mog said as he covered his eyes.
Lycan glances about quickly.
Sadira looks at the shallow water they all stand on. "Huh... strange..."
Rikku falls onto her butt. "Wow. This isn't Bevelle..."
"Or the cafe." River adds in.
A man in armor remains silent as he gazes about the expanse, not entirely sure what to make of it.
Terra's eyes open to see the sanctuary before her. "Last thing I knew I was... what WAS I doing?"
"They enemy? Unlucky that they'd capture me." Sethius is a finger twitch away from unleashing a spell on whatever ticks him off first.
Hope looks around, obviously confused "Vanille? How...? Who are you guys?"
Yuffie just puts her hands on her hips "Not the most confusing thing that's happened to me, but still!"
Gau crouches behind Setzer and growls a bit, afraid of all the people there.
Zidane is noticeably upset with the change in scenery, mostly because every second he wastes is a second Garnet could be dying with no one to help her.
Katana's startled by the change, and has his hand on the hilt of the blade, while Cissnei is just...confused.
Lina frowns and folds her arms "Well FECK! W'ere the flyin' hell are we?"
Luso jumps in the water "Not even deep enough to swim..."
Agrias looks about "Sort of... peaceful."
Darius scoffs "Peace is boring."
Fang folds her arms "So much for what I felt like doing today."
"What just happened?" Ninja looks around the area confused.
"I know as much as you two." Natsu walks towards Lina and Ninja, as confused as Ninja.
Meanwhile, a man appears as well. He looks around to find out where it he was. His name, Ryuzaki. "This place..." He surveys the area. "I have not read of this place in any text at all. Is this a dream?"
Firion also appears in this plane. "What just happened? How did I get here? Is this one of Mateus' tricks?"
A Moomba riding a Chocobo run across the plains of shallow water. The two were very scared, and as soon as they saw all the people, they became terrified.
The Chocobo jumps up and down in freight, yelling wails of Kweh.
The Moomba to hang onto the Chocobo. He could fall into the water and get his fur wet. No one likes the smell of wet fur.
Link looks around, confused. 'What...just HAPPENED?"
Yuan and Tidus stand next to Rikku, as confused as she is.
Vivi is equally as distressed as Zidane.
Rei was waiting for Jean's reply. He took another bite on his donut only to munch thin air as he does. "What the!"
The chair he was sitting vanished as well making him loose his balance and stumble butt first to the watery adobe. "Oh great... I sure did not wish for an emergency to happen... I might have wished for something worse."
He looked around and stood right next to Jean. "Don't tell me this is virtual reality as well... because I am sure that we were just in the café earlier."
Cid was sure that he was holding the large wooden steering wheel of his Shera a few seconds ago. Now he was utterly shocked on the sudden change of scenery. "Would you look at that? Whose crazy idea is this anyway?" He asked to the group of unknown faces.
Two children were also drawn in on the same plain. "Onii-chan... is that... mama?" The lass asked to the lad beside her as she saw Cosmos.
The lad did not bother to reply, as he was also equally perplexed on what just happened to them.
Nanaki continued to watch the fight unfold until the cavalry rolled in. That was when Sephiroth disappeared. "He's gone! Blast..." As the situation was taken under control, Nanaki was at ease, somewhat. 'What a day... but this is no coincidence. Evil is afoot.'
His eyes then began to droop, and he felt drowsy. "I... I think I need to rest..." Tifa and Cait Sith nodded and left the room, letting the beast rest. However, after an extensive period of time, he woke in a vast chamber of pure Light. There were other souls there too. Nanaki stirred and looked around.
"W-what? Where am I? What is this trickery?" He was cautious of the others, and began to move slowly to where the masses were gathering.
Inside Balamb Garden, Squall was sitting in his chair, looking out to the night sky. The lights were off, and he looked as if he was pondering. 'So many changes... not quite what I was expecting.' He was weary after such an eventful period of time, and began to grow tired. "..."
'Maybe things... can only get better...' And with that, he slumped back into his chair and nodded off. A little while later, he woke to find himself in a place where pure Light freely flowed. Squall, on the floor, looked around him as he slowly woke. '...where the hell am I? Did I die, or something...?' He slowly made it to his feet, and noticed many others in the same place too. "There's others... but I'm better off finding answers by myself." And with the same confidence and attitude he always exuded, he began to walk towards the masses.
In the vast sanctuary, two youths were lying unconscious, surrounded by the Light that was flowing around the massive space. They were two unlikely partners, who met in a single, fateful encounter. The younger one, a male noble who carried two ornately decorated swords, was lying alongside a very reserved woman, who was three years his senior. Unable to see her face, she carried a dagger in her hand, and three swords were mounted onto her back. The younger man was a born leader, with a very charismatic personality. He was known as Alexander Igetis ton Andron. The older woman was a silent but intelligent surveyor with a special gift of prophesizing the future. She was known simply but appropriately as Claire Voyant.
Alexander opened his eyes, and looked around him. He was startled to see the landscape he saw, but soon saw his companion wake. "W-where are we?" He clutched his head and closed his eyes. 'I don't remember where I was... or anything that happened before...' He then shook Claire awake, hoping to see her stir. "Claire! Wake up! Something has happened!"
Claire slowly moved, and saw Alexander shaking her. She looked around and attempted to assess the situation... but to no avail. "My mind is blind to the past... but this place..." 'A stranger in a strange land once more...' She then rose to her feet, checking her weapons.
Alexander interrupted her in his anxiety. "Well, we're definitely not in Gaspard anymore..." He was then helped up by Claire, and they looked around again, still in disbelief. "Argh! If I actually remembered what was happening prior, then maybe we could make something of all this!"
Without looking at him, Claire spoke. "Patience is a virtue, my young friend."
Alexander exclaimed, "But of course." The two then noticed some people in the distance. It seemed that Alexander and Claire were on the edge of the sanctuary. "Hm. There are others here too... perhaps we should seek their counsel."
As he was about to walk ahead, her hand stopped him. "Even when danger may not appear threatening, it would be wise to avoid it."
Alexander retaliated. "Ah, but those lost in a Roman wilderness would do well to seek aid at the first opportunity, correct?" They both chuckled, and the two set off together towards the masses.
Before anyone's questions are answered, a brief flash of light emanates from Cosmos, to grab everyone's attention.
"I am Cosmos, Goddess of Harmony. For millennia, I have fought the God of Discord, Chaos in a battle to determine the state of existence; whether it moves towards the forces of light and balance, or falls into the hands of darkness and anarchy."
"A battle between good and evil?" Sun asks.
"Yes. For millennia, the balance has remained within control - neither darkness of light triumphing over the other. However... that age has passed."
She pauses for a moment, to let the information sink in. "Chaos has uncovered a vast, untapped force, which he has unleashed against you. The attacks on most of your cities have been a result of Chaos testing his power. A declaration of war against all that is good. He seeks only the absolute destruction of everything that you hold dear..."
"...Is that the reason that defeated enemies have come back to life?" Sun once again interjects.
Cosmos nods. "If you wish to fight back against what Chaos has brought against you... then you will have to band together."
Sun takes a look around at the assembled group. "...Feeling more confident already."
Lightning scoffs "...You're quite the pillar of confidence yourself."
Link nods, grinning. 'This is gonna be interesting...wonder if there's a reward...'
Tidus looks at Yuna. "Guess we gotta help save the world again, eh Yuna?"
"Yes, it looks like it. But on a much grander scale...as it's more then one world now. We have a lot of help though."
Vivi looks up at Cosmos. "So th-that's why Garland and k-Kuja came back..."
Sethius looks at all of the people gathered, wearing an expression of "I'm not impressed. This lot? I wonder how many are capable of lifting a sword."
'Esthar knows this already. Still... I suppose we should get help from the others... looks like this is bigger than Esthar and Garden after all...' River thinks.
Terra just seems hopelessly lost about everything.
"So... this Chaos bunch... I suppose a lot of us know them?" Sadira quickly asks the goddess.
Cosmos nods. "Garland, Mateus, The Cloud of Darkness, Golbez, Exdeath, Kefka, Sephiroth, Ultimecia, Kuja, Jecht and Gabranth... these and others are all in the service of Chaos..."
Cecil listens to Cosmos. "So, this is why Cagnazzo is back...wait, did she just say...?"
Rosa looks at Cecil. "Hmm?"
Cecil shakes his head. "Did she say...Golbez?"
Rosa's eyes widen. "Golbez? But, the Lunarian's moon has long left Earth, has it not? And he found the light within him, right? He helped us to defeat Zemus and Zeromus! Why would he be on Chaos' side?"
Cecil shakes his head. "I...Why...?" Brother...
Lightning turns to the Black Mage who disparages her swordskills. "...You can say that with those noodle arms?"
Sun on the other hand, is trying his damnedest to figure out exactly how he got into this situation, and looking around, sees at least one other person that is as confused as he is.
Figuring he has nothing better to do until the Goddess' Q&A session is over...
Sun walks over to Terra. "You look almost as confused as I am right now... So, where are you from?"
Terra blinks at this stranger, and looks skyward. "...It's sort of... fuzzy." She strokes her forehead, aggravated over her memory. "...I remember Mobliz..."
She blinks rapidly. "The orphanage! That woman! Then... where am I?" Terra struggles to keep her balance, mind wracked with worry over her predicament. "...I think I'm..." Her head pounds.
Elsewhere, Jecht takes notice of Terra's internal struggle, as her physical body collapsed to its knees and is fighting against the orders of the slave crown.
He kneels down, looking Terra over. "Hey. Knock it off. That's annoying." Jecht stands up and folds his arms, grumbling. 'She's fightin' that fancy headpiece? Not bad for a flimsy little flower like her.' He looks away, and then back at her again. 'Alright. I'm gonna do it.'
He reaches down and grabs the Slave Crown off of her head and crushes it in his hand. "Now don't go sayin' ol' uncle Jecht never did anythin' nice in his life." Jecht watches Terra's physical body fall into a slump. "...An' don't go around thankin' me either." He sighs, arms folded. "They're gonna gimme hell for this. Welp. What's done is done."
Back in order's sanctuary, Terra slowly stands back up. "...I think... I'm in the hands of the enemy."
Sethius pretends not to hear Lightning's comment, muttering something about setting her hair on fire.
Lina wasn't impressed. Or happy. "Uh war? Yuh expect uh war? There's uh sayin' among bumpkins..." She rolls her sleeves up "Et's uh sordid 'feck yuh' and such."
Agrias sighs and shrugs. "Another war? Sounds less political at least." Darius grins openly at the prospect.
Fang, out of... erm, luck, sees Vanille. "Vanille!" She stomps on over to Vanille. "Where have you been, missy? I've searched two worlds it seems."
Luso stretches. "Can't honestly expect me to fight a war, battles suuuure, war's too big"
Sun listens to her talking at first, and picks up on a key word. "Mobliz? ... That's that town north of the Veldt..."
Then suddenly, Terra starts losing it in front of him. "Hey, are you alright? What do you remember? Hey!"
Her attack is over, and she stands back up. "In the hands of the enemy? ... In the hands of the enemy."
Sun can't help it. Her predicament is too much like the fate that awaited his people after the attack on their world (Irony is one of those things we call a bitch).
"Do you remember anything else? Like where you are right now?"
Cosmos looks out over the people who are concerned about the war. "I will not force any of you to fight that do not wish to. I simply ask you to consider the consequences of standing back and doing nothing. Chaos is relentless. His minions even more so. To simply do nothing... is to watch him reduce the world to ash."
Meanwhile, Vanille couldn't be happier to see Fang again... (... Wait, this is before Vanille gives up trying to keep Fang from discovering the truth. Bugger. Right...)
Meanwhile, Vanille couldn't be happier to see Fang again, but knows in her heart that her attempts to keep Fang from discovering their Focus is in jeopardy. In the end, she decides that her happiness takes precedence right now. "Fang!"
She runs towards her and hugs her in an attempt to avoid whatever she was going to do beforehand.
Fang holds Vanille and sighs "What am I going to do with you? Well I guess at this moment figurin' that out'll wait. At least I found you, despite the circumstances." She pulls back and grins "Now what have you even been up to anyways?"
Vanille thinks before she answers Fang. "Well, I've been traveling around with other L'Cie..."
She points Lightning and Hope out from the crowd. "Guys! I'd like you to meet my friend!"
Lightning walks over and appraises Fang from a warrior's perspective. Maybe she could keep up with her. ... Not that she'd ever admit that to her face. "Lightning Farron. ... Call me Light."
Hope walks over to Fang "Nice to meet you, I'm Hope Estheim."
Fang looks over Hope and grins "You look like a kid who'll wet himself in battle." She looks over Lightning "Right then, I'm Oerba Yun Fang. Just call me Fang."
Lightning thinks her assessment of Hope is a little off, considering the determination she has witnessed in him until this point, but concedes inwardly at least that she hasn't had the same time to spend with him.
Hope just stares at Fang, tempted to zap her with a Thunder spell or something, but decides against it and doesn't say anything.
Lina folds her arms "Ah jest sayin', not all uv Chaos' forces are ruthless an' such. But..." She then mutters something about "that dragon bitch" and how she wu... was gonna kill the dragon.
Terra shakes her head. "I need some time..."
Sun nods. "Take all the time you want. I can't imagine what you must be going through right now."
Lycan puts his hand on his hip, and inquires Ashe without looking at her. "I take it you'll be fighting for her cause."
Ashe turns to the mercenary in her employ. "I will meet any threat to Dalmasca that comes. That is the least I can do for my people. And if the world is in danger, then I will raise my blade to meet that threat."
She then considers the terms of the contract she has Lycan under. "What of you? Will you leave now that we're embroiled in a conflict of this scale? I wouldn't blame you. There was a time I refused to meet my problem's head on... and Dalmasca nearly paid the price."
Lycan folds his arms. "I need to get paid. Nothing in this world is free. I doubt that changed when the worlds merged. Speaking of which..."
He turns to Cosmos. "I'd like an explanation for that."
Tidus suddenly notices Lycan. "Hey, Yuna, Rikku, it's LYCAN!" he points.
Yuna looks over to where Tidus is pointing. "Hey, it is! I wonder where he's been..."
"Let's go ask him, c'mon!"
Lycan glances over. 'These guys...' He turns to face them.
Rikku runs right up and pokes him firmly in the chest. "So where'd you go, Mr. Swordsman?"
Lycan looks down at the girl pushing a finger into his chest and glances at Ashe, then off into the distance. "I got... lost?"
Rikku sighs. "That figures."
"Hey can you blame me? I've never been to Luca before."
"And you make such a big deal of yourself."
'Better this excuse than admit that some big guy thrashed me and dragged me off to a cell...'
Tidus laughs. "Lost eh?" He looks over at Ashe. "Who's your friend?"
Yuna walks up and stands next to Rikku. "Lycan, be more careful next time! We were worried about you!"
Terra finds a spot to sit down. "Oh... okay."
Cosmos considers her answer briefly. "Previously, our fights were conducted by taking small fragments of the separate worlds you all originate from. We would turn these into our battlefield, with this plain and Chaos' throne, the Edge of Madness, as the ultimate goal for each side. However, this fight is... different. This time, instead of sampling the consciousness of each warrior... we have called you in person. As a result of this, the worlds, once separate, are now as one. This will cease at the conclusion of the Great War, regardless of the victor. However... the ultimate state of each world is down to the ultimate victor."
Sun sits down with Terra momentarily. "If you can't remember anything right now, then pressing you for more information is only going to cause you more stress than you need right now."
Sun gives her a grin. "Worst comes to worst, we'll just have to take down all the enemies we can until we find you. ... Or you could escape on your own. I dunno how strong you are.
... Hell, I don't even know your name."
"Terra. And you?"
Lycan pretends to ignore Yuna and Rikku, listening to Cosmos's words instead. "...Great. So you brought the war to us." Lycan groans. "Seems like we're just tools to the gods, doesn't it."
Yuna, at being ignored, shrugs it off and turns to Rikku and Tidus. "So, what do you two think? I know I'm helping Cosmos, I don't want anymore innocent people getting hurt."
Tidus nods. "I'm with you, Yuna."
Link, meanwhile, is wondering if there's gonna be a reward for helping, but doesn't want to voice his thoughts to Cosmos.
Meanwhile Yuffie just stands there "So wait...There's more guys running around than just Sephiroth and those twins?"
Katana just observes some moar and Cissnei is still confused, mostly on what to tell the boss about this.
Gau has stopped growling, and in fact had come out of hiding when he noticed Cosmos' presence there.
Zidane is now more upset at the prospect of war. So much so, he does not notice all of the females in Order's. A sad day indeed when he doesn't notice all the pretty ladies, though maybe it's for the best, wouldn't want him to mistake a bishie for a girl.
Darius walks over to Alexander and Claire "You two look quite lost. That's funny to me. I'm Darius by the way." He folds his arms "Dark Knight currently under the command of Agrias Oaks, your names are?"
After Cosmos' speech, Alexander and Claire both discuss the situation. Alexander is quite surprised. "A war? We've walked out of one, and landed into another!"
Claire spoke to him. "War is cruel, but at the moment, perseverance is king."
Alexander looks back to her. "I guess you're right, Claire..."
Suddenly, they are approached by a man. They listen to him, and secretly acknowledge where he is from. 'The Agrias Oaks is a name I remember well during my personal studies...'
Alexander spoke to the man. "Well, we seem to be lost. We don't actually remember how we arrived here..."
Claire looked on at the man silently. 'I sense a warning... fate's calling.'
Darius shrugs indifferently "This is a wet and peaceful place." He looks between the two. "So are you together or together? I'd like to know if I made allies of a battle duo or... a couple. That and I like to get facts about people."
Ashe turns to Lycan at his disparaging remarks. "Tools of the gods or not, the war is here anyway."
She then turns to Tidus and Yuna. "Asheilia B'nargan Dalmasca. ... Call me Ashe if you have to. ... I went by Amalia at one point as well."
"Yeah, cuz they brought it here..." He mutters, and then turns to his Spiran acquaintances. "Yeah, she's my client."
"Client? Wait, what?" Rikku looked at Lycan and then at Ashe.
"She needed a war fought."
Tidus is still looking over at Ashe. "Who is she exactly? She looks important."
Meanwhile, Sun considers, and just decides to go with the straight name. "Sun. ... Sometimes I wonder if my mother was just really unimaginative, and it was a really sunny day outside."
"Sun... okay." Terra gives a nod. "I remember... fighting someone... but it's sort of a blur..."
Sun thinks back to the foe that he himself encountered. "It wasn't a strange caped... err... 'woman'... with tentacles was it? Because I have a score to settle with that one."
"No... This woman... she was a swordswoman. And in her eyes... I saw so much hatred... for everything."
Gau finally notices that a certain green haired girl is there as well... "Terra!" he yells as he runs over to her.
"Okay. Pawns on a grand scale, yet unknowing. Still, like all games, this one shall need the die to be thrown, correct? Very well. Count me in, and ante up!" Setzer said with a grin, throwing a blue poker chip into the air and catching it.
Caro simply shrugs. "Okay."
Mog follows Gau to Terra. "Terra! How nice to see you again, kupo!"
Terra looks up to see Gau running towards her. She gets up and runs... right by him to glomp on Mog. "Mog! Gau! And is that... Setzer?" She continues to hold Mog in her arms as she stands up. "So you two are here as well." She starts to look around for Locke, Celes, and the others. And it's kinda funny Lycan named those two out of all the characters...well, you'll see.
"W-watch the pom-pom, kupo!" Mog manages to choke out. "Caro's here... as well." The poor moogle turns blue in the face.
Terra lets Mog down. "Caro? I don't remember him much..."
Sun raises one eyebrow at the people coming towards Terra. "Interesting... friends you have there." 'Talking Moogles. ... Welp, I guess in all the worlds...'
He looks towards the people that have walked towards Terra. "Sun. And you guys are...?"
Ninja stares at Cosmos. He didn't want to get involved in any war at all. This wasn't his concern, but deep down, he wanted to fight. He needed to protect this world. "Give me one good reason why I should help you fight this, 'Chaos'."
Natsu sees Ninja, and runs towards him. He wanted to find out what this talk of war was about.
Meanwhile, The Warrior walks towards Cosmos. His duty was to serve her and protect the world. The time has come to fulfill the prophesy. "Mi'lady Cosmos. Does this world truly involve them all? Some appear as if they should stay away from battle."
Moomba dismounts the Chocobo and runs towards all the people. He wanted to see what was happening. His chocobo companion follows with a 'Kweh'.
Caro and Setzer walk toward Terra as well.
"Setzer, legendary gambler extraordinaire!"
"Gau!" the monster boy says to the new guy.
Bartz looks around, all confused like. "What the hell?" After the whole speech is over, he wanders around. He bumps into someone in the crowd. "Hey, watch where you're goi-FARIS!"
Faris looks at Bartz. "Bartz, matey! How've you been?"
Bartz shakes his head. "Fine, but Lenna isn't! You heard what the Goddess said - Exdeath is back! He sacked Tycoon and sent Lenna to the Void!"
Faris' expression became serious. She grips Bartz by the collar of his shirt. "...Tell me yer jokin'! Sis can't be...!" Faris then looks at the ground in a moment of sorrow. "That's two sister's I've 'ad to bid farewell to. If Exdeath has indeed returned..." She looks up into Bartz's eyes which flicker with fury. "I'll pursue the scurvy rat bastard back into his void and make 'im wish I'd give him even the nighest chance to let it consume that moss infested carcass of his again!"
Bartz nods. "But the thing is, if he sent Lenna to the Void, she might be alive still. I want you to try and find out how to get back into the Void. I'll focus on retaking Tycoon, OK?"
Faris nods. "Aye, Bartz..."
Bartz walks off. 'We'll get her back. And Exdeath is gonna go down...again!'
As he walks, he sees a young girl with a horn trying not to cry as she talks to a boy with a tail. 'Huh...? Does that guy have a tail...? Huh.'
Zell frowns at the news. "So...this is why Ultimecia is alive...and in our time...This is bad, man..."
Jonah shakes his head. "Who'da thought..."
Samantha looks at Cosmos. 'The prophecy...is this what it was talking about?'
Cosmos looks to Ninja. "I understand if you do not wish to battle. I will not force you to do battle. But please, for the sake of the world, please help us all."
Ninja looks at the goddess, unsure of whether he should fight. Was he afraid? "I don't see how this involves me. If they attack me, I'll fight back, but as soon as they leave me, I'll keep minding my business till they come back."
"Your father... and your brother. They assist Chaos in this war. This involves you more than you think."
Ninja freezes for a second. His father... his brother... they fought for Chaos. This was as much his war as it was Cosmos' and Chaos'. His thoughts of not wanting to fight went away instantly. Now, he wanted to help. He needed to. "So... I do have to fight."
Natsu runs towards Ninja. He heard of his father and brother. Again, they'll have to fight. He looks down at the shallow water. "Dad..."
Jonah walks up to Ninja and Natsu from one direction and Samantha from another direction. Samantha gives Natsu and Ninja a concerned look. "Your family...you never talked about them, other than each other. I didn't even know you had another brother...Why would your brother and father fight for Chaos?"
Jonah shrugs. "Are you really serious about fighting for this Cosmos person? You're probably gonna end up having to fight your bro and dad if you do."
Ninja looks at Samantha and Jonah. "I didn't talk about them cause I don't like pushing my problems on other people. If they are with Chaos, then I have to fight."
Natsu looks at the two warriors. Ninja was as hardheaded as ever. "Please... Don't try to talk us out of this. This is something we have to do."
Jonah starts to say something, but Samantha hushes him. "I understand. It's your choice, after all."
Rei took time to think about everything that the Goddess of Harmony have just said. He wanted to ask a lot of questions but opted to leave the task to the other unfamiliar face and just listened to them converse with the Goddess. "So... Esthar was already preparing on a much larger scale. I guess I earned myself a trip around the world?"
Then he finally saw a Moomba going around. "I didn't think a Moomba can be a warrior as well."
Then he saw the Moogle which reminded him of the Guardian Forces. "I could not ask for more..." He picked up the Moomba and cuddled it. Then turned around to show it to Jean. "I do believe this is the "plush" animal you're referring to earlier."
The lass ran up in front of Cosmos and asked her. "Hey! Hey! Are you our mama?"
The Goddess just made a very warm smile to the lass.
"Excuse us... my Goddess... My little sister is mistaken." The lad pulled his sister back to the crowd.
Then Cid noticed the two children, the survivors that they found on the aftermath of the Junon siege. "Hey kids, if you don't wanna get lost. Stick with me."
"Uuhh... Onii-chan..." The lass looked to her brother.
The lad quickly addressed the man in front of them. "Would you kindly take us under your wings then... I am Raiu... and this is my twin sister, Reia." Raiu courteously bows down to Cid. "Thank you for saving us earlier."
"Reserve the thanks. We should figure out first how are we gonna get out of this place. And the names Cid." Cid was already worried by the fact that he did not put on auto-pilot his airship before he stumbled on Order's. But there is no chance to do it anyway. "Bah! I guess we should just get ourselves acquainted with them."
Thus, Cid, Reia and Raiu went to introduce themselves to the rest of the warriors and saw Yuffie on the way.
Moomba wiggles around. He doesn't know Rei means no harm, and is afraid Rei might harm him. He desperately tries to make Rei let go.
The Chocobo sees his acquaintance and thinks he is in trouble and decides to save him. He runs towards Rei, with a loud Kweh.
River looks at the Moomba and chuckles. She takes him from Rei's grasp and sets him down. "Sorry about that little guy. He didn't mean anything by it. I'm River. He's Rei."
"Hey... hey!" And on cue Rei was tackled to the ground by the chocobo. "Guh!"
Rei was about to retaliate but quickly calmed down to see a chocobo on top of him. "Hey there feathery pal. I'm no enemy here." He patted the downs of the chocobo as he remembers his own chocobo at the Chocobo Forest at Trabia. "Taka..."
River gasps at seeing Rei get tackled, but couldn't help but chuckle. "Popular with the animals?"
Rei scratched the back of his head. "Not necessarily... although I did leave a chocobo in Trabia."
He finally stood and decided to be acquainted with the rest of the group, patting the Chocobo's head before he turned to Jean. "Come on. Let's get to know them... our 'comrades'."
The Moomba examines Jean. Upon seeing she won't hurt him and is a friendly, he looks to his Chocobo friend and nods to him. As if speaking telepathically (but not really), the Chocobo gets off of Rei.
Moomba waves at Jean as if he was saying hello.
The Chocobo, with a Kweh, looks at Jean and Rei. He decides to follow them to the others, seeing as that way, they'll be able to figure out what is happening.
Zell sees Rei and River. "Yo Rei! So, this is why all those other worlds are here? And why Ultimecia is alive, and in our time?"
Cecil walks away from Rosa and the masses of people, confused. 'Brother...'
A little girl runs up to Zidane. "Zidane!" Eiko grabs hold of him. "Lindblum was attacked! And, and, Black Mages! Not the ones from the Village, either - they weren't aware at all! And, and, we had to flee, and Lindblum..." Tears are streaming down her face.
"What? Lindblum too?" Zidane says, now even more distressed that it wasn't a one attack per city per each world, which means things may have gone south for the others.
Sethius grumbles and steps forward to Cosmos. "Uhh... Miss Goddess of Harmony. We know now that all of the worlds are in danger, and we're the ones who are going to stamp out our foes but... HOW do we go about doing that? Do you have some sort of plan, or are you just going to leave us to figure everything out?"
Lycan nods in agreement, something rare for him for sure, but he would like to know what task they should set out to do to accomplish their goal in the long run.
Rikku just grumbles about how the mercenary can just shrug off her company so easily, as if she, Yuna, and Tidus were mere acquaintances.
Cosmos waves her hand, and a map (The most precious commodity of the CoW Universe) of the world arises from the waters.
Cosmos or Cosmos aligned forces are marked with the Sigil of Cosmos, while Chaos controlled territories are marked with the Stigma of Chaos.
The Fortress of Bedlam is marked with a Larger Stigma, though it is clearly surrounded by a dark barrier.
The Bastion of Sanctity is marked with... well, take a guess.
"This here..." The Goddess points towards the Fortress, "Is the home territory of the enemy. Their fortress is impenetrable, as long as the balance of power is within Chaos' hands.
To remove it, we must defeat enough of Chaos' minions, and reclaim territories for Order and Harmony, in order to weaken the barrier and allow entry.
For this to succeed, you must work together. You will not always have the strength of your companions to guide you, and there will not be many times when you will work in unity... but if we work towards a single goal, we can triumph."
Ashe notes the reaction that Lycan's indifference is getting from Rikku. "...Is he always like this?"
Sun meanwhile, is still getting to grips with Terra's friends. 'Not like I have anything to say on the strange department.' "There you go. Liberate the entire world from the forces of darkness, defeat a god, and restore harmony and order to the entire world. Should be a piece of cake."
"You didn't hire him did you? Just a warning: he's never heard of 'service with a smile'." Rikku shoots a glare at Lycan and sighs.
Lycan pays more attention to what Cosmos is saying. "Capture territories... alright. That I think we can do. Retaking the places that have fallen would be a good start..."
"Conquer and Capture? Sure. We have airships, or at least I do." Setzer grinned.
"That's good and all, but it won't help us... I think." Caro said with a frown.
"Well, it's a way to get around, kupo."
Rei walks by Lycan. "It seems to be pretty much easy... but the enemy has its own plans. I'm afraid mimicking the enemy's own tactics of coordinated attacks to retake our territories is a good start. But unlike them, we are on a big disadvantage. Only a handful of... shall we say "Cosmos Forces" were able to fend off the enemy but most of the kingdoms and major cities were already taken as what the map shows."
"More than that, the enemies had a great head start when they attacked us by surprise while we are almost depleted of resources. Plus the fact that they are sure to prepare for us to retaliate. Banding together is good to retake one territory but I think we should "defend" as well. What meaning does it have on retaking one territory when the enemy conquers 10 in return? This should be carefully planned out and properly prioritized."
The Goddess begins to glow brighter and brighter, and the world around the group begins to grow fainter. "Time runs short... Please... Save the World..."
The world then vanishes into a flash of light.
'Look to the Bastion... To the north...'
Terra says a last thing to her friends before she slips back into the waking world. "Sun! Setzer! Mog! Gau! I'll see you all again, in the real world!"
Sun wakes up from his spell with a start.
"Master Sun! We've been..." Sarah jumps from her seat at his bedside.
You okay there kid? You've been out of it for a while!"
"... It's okay... I think..." Sun closes his eyes to try and take in what has happened. "... It seems that the events of today... are part of something far, far larger than any of us..."
River opens her eyes. "We're back in the cafe? Did that... really happen?"
Rei was about to speak more about tactics and all when the next thing he experienced was a soft custard melting on his mouth. "Hmmm... Yummy..."
He faced River. "If that was indeed true... we should be having a call right about... now."
And their comlinks beep instructing all SeeDs and Paladin Brigade members to go report to the President's office.
"Indeed it was... I saw President Loire and the commander there so much for a day off.."
Lycan opens his eyes to find him standing in the outskirts of Rabanastre with Ashe. "...That DID just happen, right?"
Rikku awakens to see Yuna and Tidus near by. "Hey! Wait... what's going on?"
Tidus looks around. "We're back! What did Cosmos say...something about a Bastion..."
"I think it was 'Look to the Bastion, to the north.'"
"We got an airship, right? We can get to the north!" Rikku runs off to bother her father about getting an airship. "Hey Pops, we gotta get to the north, now!"
"Why? Nothin' up there but the Zanarkand Ruins."
"Just... trust me on this one."
Cid grumbles a bit. "Well alright then. Better be good though." Cid grumbles even more as he works on the navigator, setting course for this 'Bastion' Cosmos spoke to Rikku about in the subconscious vision.
Vivi lands back in Alexandria. "Zidane! We're back! We gotta find Garnet!"
Zidane, of course, started running toward the castle like a headless chicken.
Vivi hurried after him, trying not to trip.
Sadira awakens aboard the Strahl with Balthier and Fran. "Woah... sorry about that. I'm gonna have to take a look at what they fed me in that cafe."
Basch himself awakens. "...A vivid dream. And perhaps prophetic. I'll need to visit her highness it seems."
Link appears back in the Tycoon Remnant's Camp. "Huh. That was interesting."
Yuffie awakens on one of the WRO airships with some of the worried crew attending to her, seeing as she suddenly collapsed. Saying she was fine and shooing the crew members out of the room 'Was that really just a dream? It didn't feel like it...'
Katana and Cissnei waste no time in starting their helicopter to head towards the north.
Hope awakens in that passageway he and Light were in "What was that?"
Gau jumps up from the place he fell asleep.
Mog, Caro, and Setzer do the same.
"Right then. Might as well jump in. To the north, kupo!" Mog said, walking up to the wheel.
"HEY! My airship, I pilot!" Setzer said, taking the wheel.
Caro pats Gau on the back. "It's alright, Gau."
"But first... Let's find Terra." Setzer said.
"Right!" Caro and Mog agreed.
They fly off.
Terra awakens in the Fortress of Bedlam. "...Ungh... what..."
"Hey. Kid. You doin' alright?"
Terra looks up at the giant of a man.
"Get off the floor, darlin'. You'll catch a cold."
Terra stands up and looks about. "This is..."
"Afraid so. Deep within the stronghold of the Big Bads little lady. At least you have your free will back."
Terra goes silent, then remembers Rose. "Is she here?"
Jecht massages his own neck, looking off into space. "Can't really say. She comes and goes whenever she damn well pleases..."
Terra goes defensive. "And you are you?"
"Call me Jecht. Greatest damn fighter you'll ever see in this bunch. Yer lucky I felt like being such a softie too. See that broken piece of junk on the ground? It was bein' used to control you. Until I went n' did somethin' about it."
"So you helped me?"
"Help you? Yeah yeah, sure. You were throwin' a fit before, I just thought I'd do somethin' about it before I ended up gettin' real ticked off."
"...What do I do now?"
"You could try n' find a way out of here, or you could work with me and probably get out of this unharmed."
"Why are you..."
"You got all mixed up in something ya didn't wanna be a part of. Just didn't sit well with me. Right now though? Yer on your own. Follow my lead or get out by yourself. Your choice."
Terra goes silent for a while.
"Hurry it up will ya? I'm not gonna wait around forever for an answer."
Terra decides that she'll cooperate with Jecht for the time being.
Sun Tzu: Sun, Lightning, Vanille, Balthier, Ashe, Cosmos,
Spitz: Caro, Mog, Setzer,
WhiteLycan: Lycan, Sadira, Rikku, River, Armored guy/Basch, Terra, Sethius, Faris,
Me: Hope, Gau, Yuffie, Zidane, Katana, Cissnei,
Goblim: Lina, Luso, Agrias, Darius, Fang,
NinjablazerZero: Ninja, Natsu, Ryuzaki, Firion, Moomba, Chocobo,
Link: Link, Yuna, Tidus, Vivi,
Reikakou: Rei, Cid, Reia, Raiu,
Neil: Nanaki, Squall, Claire, Alexander,
Jonah: Bartz, Faris, Cecil, Rosa, Zell, Jonah, Samantha,
And that my friends, is the end of this chapter of our tale! Join us next time for the next chapters in the journey, which include Masks, saving half Espers, restoring crystals, and even more characters being added to the already huge roster!