CoWR - Fortress of Bedlam
Chapter 1: Schemers
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters, except one. That one and all the other OCs are in my profile. All others are property of Square Enix
Rose steps out from a portal of blackness and stands to the side of Ultimecia, gazing out over the same vast expanse the Sorceress of Time herself gazes upon. "Surely you sense it? An aura from that girl? The one associated with the Legendary SeeD?"
Rose opens her palm, which crackles with a purple flame. In the flame, images of River appear. She shoots a glance at Ultimecia. "She'll let her guard down eventually... When she does... I trust you know what to do."
Ultimecia looks back at the new arrival "She has an aura similar to several of my former vessels back when the worlds were separate."
She then turns fully at the second question and smirks "Of kourse."
"Now, I must be off." With that, Rose swishes her cape and walks off.
Poke tugs at Rose's cape thingy "Miss Rose? Can you please help me?" She asked in a sweet tone.
Rose feels a pull on her cape. She whips around and points a blade at the young one's throat. "..."
She lowers the blade. "Speak. Quickly."
Poke flinches back. Excellent reflexes... Quick instinct... Threat confirmed. "I... I..." She stammered, "I... was just wondering if you'd... teach me to use a knife... soIcandefendmy-" She inwardly cringes, "mother?"
Rose scowls at this little girl who had the nerve to ask anything of her. "...I don't take students."
Poke lowers her eyes in disappointment, when in truth it was a glare. "Oh..." She looks up, revealing the glare. "You're sure I will not learn from you?" She said her tone stronger than before.
"If I WERE to teach you anything..." The woman stoops down to meet this young girl at eye level. "It wouldn't be how to defend. It wouldn't be how to fight. It would be how to kill. You could always learn they way I did though..."
Rose pulls out a curved, blackened dagger, forcing it into Poke's grasp. "Teach yourself." Rose then stands up, places a cold hand Poke's shoulder, and walks past her.
A man in his all crimson attire approached Rose and flicked his fingers in front of her making a small coalescence of fire to burst in front of the black lady.
"Light it up wills yah? She's only a kid... with some... attitude problems. Why be so obnoxious towards a mere kid? Is it because you find yourself on that kid's eyes when you're still young?" He took small steps in front of Rose, brushing his feet on the ground as he does and then patted Poke's head.
"Or is it because you're just so dead tired after doing a lot of EEEVIIIL stuff lately. Damn... share some limelight with us, will yah? Are you seeking Chaos's recognition or something?"
He turned away and kicked a rock on the ground. "Man! Someone beat me on thrashing Cosmo Canyon... Wutai would have been nice to exact my revenge... but that'll be better reserve for later. At the end game." He grinned deviously.
He opened his palm, wherein it materialized a crimson flame that projects an image of Reia and Raiu. "My... my... how big have they grown..." 'My own flesh and blood...'
A Chaos Minion appeared to make a report in front of the crimson clad man. "Lord Reikakou... we have..."
"Silence! Can't you see I am spending some precious moments with Milady Rose here? You half witted baboon!"
Reikakou flicked his fingers, instantly burning the minion, ashes to ashes, until a slight breeze blow away his remains.
"There... I think it helped somehow." He faced Rose. "So Rose, do you have some more EEEVIIIL plot in store for me? Or I'll see you cold hands flying by my left cheek this time?"
Rose glares at Reikakou. "Something? For you? I suppose there's something you could handle..." She folds her arms and turns away from him. "The worlds we've attacked are beginning to align under Cosmos's banner. Just as Chaos suspected. We can nip this problem in the bud if we turn them against her and each other."
Rose puts a hand on her hip. "Where to start?" She ignites a flame in her other hand, and within it, watches the skirmish between Baron's forces and the Balamb Garden.
Reikakou braced for what he thought to be the inevitable, a clean slap to his face by Rose. It has been a regular occurrence ever since they 'banded' together under Chaos name. This time, he was surprised not to feel her cold palm denting his cheek. Or so Reikakou have thought.
"Alright... I'm listening. Specifics perhaps? You do know that I am on a different...' wavelength' unlike the rest of you weirdoes have, who'll just grin to each other, acting up that all of you already understood each other after stating such general statements."
"On the outskirts of Eblan, the forces of Baron and Balamb Garden are... at odds with one another. Depending on how the situation unfolds, they could either develop a strong alliance or... if one side was properly antagonized... we could play them against each other, weakening Cosmos's overall forces."
Reikakou marveled on how Rose used her dark flames to feed themselves with the events happening on Eblan. "Wow! It's good to be with the bad guys. Lemme try that!"
He flicked his fingers to summon a flame of his own but no image was projected. "Hey?" He flicked and summoned a flame again and again but to no avail. "That doesn't make sense? I used that trick earlier!"
Before he fills Rose's irritation any further, he just had his eyes fixated on Rose's flames. 'Bah... maybe the 'flame view' is only exclusive for family members as far as I'm concern. Geez... I guess I'm way down below the chain of command among Chaos's minions.'
"Alright, I get it. Maybe this time around I can be of the same wavelength with the rest of you and brand myself a weirdo as well, this one damn instance only. So I guess this is the part where we both grin in the most devious manner that we can and laugh. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha."
Reikakou just had a long face after seeing Rose not twitching a bit. "... ... ... sooooo... any other things you want me to do? Stuffs? Or be the kick ass bad guy that I am and kidnap that Sorceress you were talking about with the hot witch of time, Ultimecia?"
Rose closes her palm, snuffing out the dark purple flame. "No... she's more useful when she's with her trusted friends and comrades... all we need to do is infiltrate their ranks, and antagonize their relations... pull a string or two, and crush the faith Cosmos put into those she values in this conflict."
"Looks easy enough. Consider it done my mademoiselle." With that, he exaggeratedly bowed down in front of Rose with his face almost reaching way down past his pelvis level and his right hand over extended up.
He then faced Poke. "Don't get yourself lost in this fortress kid. And don't let your granny Rose get mad at you unless you're as kick ass as me to tank her... 'Punishments'." He grinned and gave her a thumbs up. "Get it?"
Reikakou stood straight up and clap his hands on a stately manner. "I'm out!"
On cue, a portal opens beneath him as Rei vanished in a spiral of crimson flames.
Rose grins, as another gambit is put into play. The wheels were turning, and with enough momentum, her machinations could not be stopped. She walks off to set on her next task.
Poke griped the dagger tightly. Not what she expected at all. As she watched Rose and the other man, she silently walked away.
In the throne of the Edge of Madness, the red light descends from the sky. In a burst of flame, Chaos himself appears in his throne, his head in his hands in riposte. "Cosmos... once again, our eternal battle commences."
A figure walks out from the darkness towards him. "It would appear that the pawns are on the move across the board." Mateus Palamecia walks, quite unabashed out into the presence of the God.
"Palamecia. I assume that the first blow has been struck?"
"The fires of war have been rekindled. Our forces are beginning their operations. I believe that our dear Rose makes with her own schemes. Capturing the Esperkin... and already, she makes moves to strike at our enemies. Most impressive."
"... And what of the others?"
"Each acts to their own method of operation."
"... Does that include you?"
"Of course it does. My machinations this time are not bound by the same mistakes and flaws. If this particular turn of the eternal cycle has any merit, it is that."
"... The workings of the process interest me little. Bring me victory, Palamecia."
"Victory shall be obtained." The Emperor makes to leave. "... Though for whom, is yet to be seen."
Meanwhile, Jecht and Terra continue to slink around, as to avoid arousing suspicion from the other followers of Chaos. "Alright. This chamber. Stay here for the time being. I'll come visit you when I got something we can work with. Right now? Too hectic to get out."
"So I'll be a prisoner again?"
"Well... take what ya can get, right? I'll scrounge whatever there is to eat around here. Seeing as there's a tree and some... entity of pure darkness or whatever... who knows what I'll find. Anyway. Be a good girl while I'm gone. Awright?"
Terra looks on at Jecht a while. She reluctantly agrees to stay in the chamber where she'll be safe. Jecht then walks off to report to one of the others and see if they need him for something.
A shadow departs from the wall, unnoticed. It slinks across corridors until it reaches Golbez, upon which it turns into a full-blown Shadow Dragon. Golbez looks at it for a moment, and then dismisses it. 'It seems I am not the only one...but I will act later.'
A light wind brushed through the fortress, and it signaled the emergence of Sephiroth. Cloaked in black, he appeared before the others there, and looked around, lightly smiling. "Hmph. So, I was correct. I'm to work with a court of jesters." He continued forwards, counting heads and remembering faces, even though he knew not their names.
A black portal opens in the Fortress' main Corridor. From it, steps out a man, resembling one of the Cosmos warriors heavily. He mutters to himself, chuckling every now and then.
Poke 'casually' bumps into Zane, intent to gather information she'd one day use. "I'm ever so..." She stops and blinks. "Wait, you're Ninja. I could've sworn you were Cosmos."
Zane looks at the child. She swore she thought he was that damn pansy. She was wrong. "Compare me to that idiot one more time and I'll torture you so much you'll beg for death, in which scenario I will just laugh and keep you alive, just to continue your torment."
Poke lowers her eyes. 'What a cad, how easy it'll be to manipulate him.' "Oh now I see. You're a weaker version of Ninja. You're obviously weak to torture a 'sweet' and 'innocent' girl like me."
Zane looks at Poke, and easily sees through her little plot. "If you think you can trick me so easily, you are sadly mistaken." He mutters something that sounds somewhat like a math equation, but exactly what is unknown. "I have bigger things to kill, so you will excuse me." He begins to walk away, muttering something; letting out a little maniac chuckle, then quiets down and continues to mutter to himself.
Poke frowns. 'Why is it far easier to manipulate Cosmos' forces?' She stops at that thought. She hadn't technically done enough interaction with Cosmos' forces to make such a statement. This would require further study of sorts, which means when Thasha gets back Poke'll have to some how go with her on her next mission. Not that hard, hopefully.
Zane stops as he walks. He notices Poke's expression as she spoke to him. That was the expression of one who is analytical. She could be of use. "You there, little girl. What's your name?" He twitches and makes a loud outburst.
Poke smiles shyly. "It's Poke. Just Poke. Who are you, if you aren't that-" 'Bastard and stronger' "- Ninja?"
Zane takes a moment to let that all sink in. Mainly because his brain froze and he is rebooting. "The name is Zane. I see you have met my brother, but make no mistake, we are not the same. I don't tell many people this, but be on your guard. You have piqued my... interest." He turns away from her. "We must continue to see who else here may be able to 'help' my cause..."
Poke cocks her head to the side. 'Interest?' "Interested in me? But I'm merely a 12 year old girl, what can I do?" She walks up to Zane and asks sweetly. "What 'plans' are you talking about?"
Zane just laughs a bit. "Curiosity kills cats, but me, I eat them. Alive. You'll find out soon enough." He continues to walk away. His agenda at the moment, unknown.
Poke turns away and walks. 'Easy to tri-' She runs into Sephiroth. "Watch it!" She yells, forgetting her ploy and mask.
As the girl waltzes into Sephiroth, he looks down at her, smirking slightly. "Ah... just like a jester: a mildly amusing form of entertainment... that only really just gets in the way." He continues to smile warmly as he walks past her.
And then, a spiral of flames emerges in front of Sephiroth as a portal opens. "Hah! I love being part of the bad guys! We have these neat features among others... Oh!"
Reikakou was about to glare to Sephiroth knowing clearly how he dismantled his twins on Junon but decided to beam a smile to him. "So how was your little... reliving of your memory lane?"
Poke grits her teeth. "A Jester?" She mutters as she tugs Reikakou's jacket or cape... thing, I'm a PSP and can't see TekTeks, sue me. "Mr. Reikakou! Mr. Reikakou! That long coat man was being far too mean to a girl like me!"
Meanwhile, Mateus emerges from the shadows after his conversation with Chaos, to greet Sephiroth on his return. "I see that the... former hero... has returned. I assume that all went as planned?" He speaks as if he does not already know of the twins which interrupted Sephiroth's battle.
On the other hand, a small child wandering about the Fortress was not in the plan. "...What business do you have here child?"
Poke looks at Mateus and sums him up. Tall, smug, calm, collected, jewlery'd... she instantly hated him. But she smiled in a sickly sweet way and ran up and hugged his legs. "I'm here because my-" An instant hesitation "-mother, Thasha brought me here! Why are YOU here, Mister?"
Mateus gives his trademark smirk and kneels down to meet her. Then, in a whisper... "Not everyone in this citadel is as vulnerable to such antics as you may think. Though it is a most deceptive and thorough act... it is an act nonetheless. Sizing up individuals like this will only lead to your own demise when you overstep your bounds. And there are many here whom the wizard cannot protect you from."
He then stands up, as if the conversation had not happened. "I am here because it is my destiny."
He then awaits Sephiroth's report.
Poke looks at the man and shivers. "The wizard is Thasha." She mutters as she walks to Reikakou. 'Far. Too. Dangerous. But I'll not be one to roll over to a bully again. I've had enough of them to last a lifetime.' She'll learn through experience, so she'll sneak after Thasha next time. 'Why do his words frighten me? Zane talked about eating kittens, that wasn't scary.' Mateus was, she now knew. She walked off to find Zane, to get away from the emperor perhaps.
Kefka cackled as he walked up to the group. "My dear one-winged angel, I only look the part." He said toward Sephiroth.
Sephiroth chuckled lightly, and turned to Mateus first. "Destruction does not require planning. It is perhaps why you fell to the blade not once... but twice, oh Emperor."
Lightly smirking, he turned his attention to Reikakou.
"Hmph. Memories mean nothing. Their only use is to manipulate the weak..." He then fixes his eyes on Reikakou, staring in his eyes with intent. "...and to torture the helpless."
After passing Reikakou, he encounters Kefka. "So, I finally meet the crooked clown, hell bent on utter destruction. No... A jester has more integrity than an invalid like you." Having spoken to all, he continued onwards, not batting an eyelid to anyone else.
"Yeah... whatever. So I think I just killed the President of Esthar. What does that earn me?" A long pause. "Nothing! As in nothing at all!" Although deep inside him, behind that disappointed masquerade, he wished for his well being.
Soon enough, Chaos minions whom Reikakou considered of a higher wavelength than he was started to port out from no where around Sephiroth. 'Great... the Adam's family is here..."
"Well... later mama's boy. Be careful on those twins though. They can end up being much sharper than your own legendary blade." With that Reikakou stride away from the group and went to the general direction that Poke did.
Kefka snorts. "Integrity, HAH! Least I don't have mama issues! UWEEHEEHEEHEE!"
Mateus watches the small girl leave, and gives a small laugh. She could prove useful in the future. All it would require would be to keep one step ahead of her own interesting machinations.
As Sephiroth states his disparaging comment, Mateus retains his smirk. "Oh? Perhaps my plans have been derailed before. Perhaps you have fought your final duel a thousand times over, and lost each time. Yet, here we are."
Mateus decides to leave the group at large, and seeks out who might possibly be his only equal in this organization.
The Witch of Time, Ultimecia.
But before that, I must warn you about what you see. Yes, this seriously happened, and we lol'd so much it isn't even funny. I realize this is less funny without all the comments and just seems like a Big Lipped Alligator Moment...so yeah...you can just ignore the rest of this if you want, but its canon! Why won't I remove it? It has...sentimental value.
As he arrives at her location, he considers the reason that he considers her an equal. Perhaps it is because she does not rely on mere brute force. Perhaps she has shown that her schemes are multi-layered, complex, and far reaching. Perhaps it is because her ambitions are equal to his own mighty goals.
All of these and more make her a formidable and frankly captivating ally. "It seems that the pieces are in line for this game. Cosmos has made her first moves. But this time, we are one step ahead of them."
Ultimecia turns to look at her new companion "Indeed we are. Let us hope that none of the others get a swelled head and mess things up."
"The chaotic... the destroyers... they have no place in the world to come. Those arrogant fools. What is there to be gained through the destruction of everything? But enough of them. They are inconsequential, but excellent tools nonetheless. If they cannot grasp the complexities of rule... then they will have to be removed."
Ultimecia chuckles "Of kourse. Then the only problem after that is Khaos."
Mateus laughs. "Chaos is not a threat. Though his power is great, he is weakened by the same cycle that continues to propagate this eternal war. The others lack the knowledge of the cycles. They know they have fought this war again and again. But only a certain few know of their true significance."
"We should be thankful for that. Too many people learning of its true nature kould be disastrous for us."
"And yet it is exactly that cycle which will allow us ultimate victory. Our foes still cling to their paths, sure that their cause is the most righteous. Only we have full access to the cycles, and thus, only we know how this war will progress. It is for that reason that victory is unobtainable for them."
He then walks closer to the Witch of Time, and raises her hand to his lips. "And it is for that reason that the only people fitting to rule over this world... are you, and I."
Ultimecia smiles and leans a little closer to the Emperor, her lips almost touching his "And it will be such a wonderful world under our rule."
Mateus has to admit, that even though he sees himself as the pinnacle of humanity, the closeness of the Witch of Time has a pleasure all of it's own. Though he has his ambitions set on ruling all he surveys, the question of what comes after often suggests itself to him. And he knows full well that an eternity of rule with Ultimecia is something he is willing to consider, after the destruction of both Cosmos and Chaos.
It is with this in mind that he leans forward to meet her, and their lips meet. "Such a wonderful world indeed."
Ultimecia, however, breaks the kiss and playfully begins tugging at his collar "Perhaps we should move this to someplace more...private."
Mateus considers where to go and decides. "My dear, as you wish it, so shall it be." The two then retire to somewhere more private.
And it is at this point Sun and I start our journey down the slippery slope to Shipping Hell.
WhiteLycan: Rose, Jecht, Terra,
Sun Tzu: Chaos, Mateus,
So, onto our next one, but what will it be? Will Terra be saved? Will I elaborate on that Eblan vs. Esthar conflict? Will Maria, Thasha, and Igso return safely with the mask? All these will be answered and more in the next chapters of our story!