Calamitatus de Caelo = A Calamity from the Sky
(according to google)
Disclaimer: Some lines of dialogue are taken directly from the Royal Edition of the game.
Noctis panted, coughing slightly at all the dust kicked up by the fight. Above him, Titan had finally stopped attacking. The large stone hand was no longer attempting to squash Noctis like a particularly annoying fly.
Instead the god began to glow. Noctis braced himself for whatever the god was going to throw at him next.
Bright little golden motes of light started to rain down, spiraling through the air, drawn to Nocts and disappearing into his body before he had a chance to react.
Noctis grunted as soon as the first little ball of light hit him, a vision of Luna speaking with the stone god filling his vision.
"That was…Luna. You spoke with her? That's why…"
The golden glow grows to encompass all of Titan and the meteor fused to his back. In a flash of light and an explosion of force that knocked Noctis to the ground, Titan disappeared.
Before Noctis can clamber to his feet, Gladio was at his side, offering him a hand up. Noctis looked around to see no sign of the Niflheim ships that had been attacking Titan, nor the magitek troopers.
"Where's Ignis and Prompto?" Noctis asked.
"Last I saw they were over there." Gladio pointed to the far side of the crater.
They find Prompto and Ignis at what's left of the flattened ground they'd fought Titan on. After a quick exchange of greetings and checking to make sure everyone is ok they start to look for a way out. Gladio leads the way back to where they'd descended from only for the ground to crack open and lava to spew forth.
"Doesn't get much worse than this." Gladio grimaced from the heat, backing up away from the fissure.
The shaking of the ground quickly became worse, with gouts of lava exploding and dropping around them. It quickly became apparent that they were surrounded, with no clear path of escape.
Prompto, stumbling around at the back of the group, fell against a strangely smooth rock. In pushing against it to regain his footing, he accidentally wiped a layer of dust and grime from it, revealing a green opalescent surface. Prompto stared at it, his photographer's eye marvelling at the varying shades of green contained within.
A strange, almost familiar shape caught his eye within the crystalline shape. He frowned and rubbed a bit more dust off.
"Hey guys!" His called, voice cracking into a higher pitch than usual.
Noct turned to look, stumbling over to him while Ignis and Gladio were distracted by a boxy shape coming towards them through the ash and dust cloud.
Prompto hastily wiped more of the grime away and breathed, "dude."
"Is that…a girl!?" Noctis cried, shocked.
Within the smooth surface of the crystal, they could now clearly see the face of a young woman, brown hair framing a young round face.
They both shared a flabbergasted look. "Was she here while we fought Titan?" Noctis asked.
A quick look around had Prompto answering, "It kinda looks like she fell from the sky and crushed the rocks around her…"
The ground shook again, the lava fissures growing in size. Behind them they heard the whine of a magitek engine and Ignis shout, "the Empire! Now?"
The shaking dislodged the crystal containing the girl, sending it falling the last few feet to the ground, causing both of them to back up with a cry.
"Are they here for us? Or…?" Prompto trailed off and looked at the girl.
Noctis materialized a sword, despite his exhaustion, turning to face the new threat. He'd worry about the strange crystal girl later. When the ramp to the ship opened, the shock at seeing the shape of one man, and not a platoon of magitek was quickly overridden by a frustrated resignation. Because of course. Of course it was him . But how did he have access to an Imperial ship!?
"Fancy meeting you here!" Ardyn, the man who'd led them here, yelled down at them.
Beside Noctis, Prompto slowly pointed up at Ardyn with an open mouth, unable to believe that the weirdo who led them to the Disk was looking down on them from a magitek transport.
"It occurs to me, I never formally introduced myself." The smirk he gave them had Noctis scowling.
He put a hand to his chest and gave a small, mock bow, "Izunia. Ardyn Izunia."
"Imperial Chancellor Izunia?" Ignis questioned with disbelief. Unable to believe that he'd never made the connection.
"At your service. And more importantly, to your aid!" He spread his arms as he finished, as if he was a generous host welcoming them.
Gladio and Ignis looked back at Prompto and Noctis, all of them shocked and conflicted. How could they have unknowingly followed the enemy Chancellor for two days and not realized? Their faces all held the same question, wondering what kind of trap they'd just walked into.
"I guarantee your safe passage. Though you're always welcome to take your chances down there." Ardyn nodded to one of the growing fissures of lava.
Noctis ground his teeth, unwilling to go anywhere with one of the leaders of a country that had attacked Insomnia.
"Whatever this is, we can't let the Empire get their hands on it." Prompto said, eyes fixed on the face of the pretty girl. Noctis startled a little, for in his indignation at being tricked by the Empire he'd forgotten the girl in the crystal
It the situation wasn't so serious Noctis would have teased him for always being such a sucker for pretty faces. Instead he agreed and said. "But we also can't leave it down here."
Ignis and Gladio were having their own hissed conversation between the prince and the ship. They had yet to look behind them to see what Noctis and Prompto were talking about, too concerned with protecting their prince.
Another quake had Prompto and Noctis grabbing at the girl encased in stone, trying to prevent it from sliding into a new fissure that had just opened up near it.
"Little help!" Prompto cried, finally clueing in Ignis and Gladio to the fact that they had found something.
"What're you idiots doing?" Gladio growled, not moving.
Ignis stumbled over to them, "Noct, what is…?" He trailed off when he caught sight of the girl's serene face.
The crystal she was encased in was relatively smooth, but there were enough rough patches and corners to get a grip on it and prevent it from sliding further towards the lava.
"We can't leave her here." Noctis said, focusing more on the strange girl in the crystal to distract himself from the Imperial Chancellor at his back.
"Then we have no choice." Ignis said, accepting Noctis' nod as consent.
"What have you boys found there? You'll be buried along with it if you don't hurry." The Chancellor called down to them, a slightly quizzical tone to his voice.
"Help us retrieve this, and we will accept your offer." Ignis called up to him.
Noctis and Prompto were too focused on tilting the crystal away from the lava to see the bemused look the Chancellor gave Ignis. With a dramatic shrug of his shoulders he turned back into the depths of the ship.
Ignis and Gladio shared an uncertain look, worrying that the Chancellor had just decided they weren't worth the effort after all. But the ship didn't move from its hovering location.
"Iggy!" Noctis grunted and Ignis turned and rushed over to help them finally slide it away from the threatening fissure.
"Phew!" Prompto swiped a dusty hand against his head, smearing dirt across his sweaty face. The heat from the lava was starting to make them all sweat with intense discomfort.
"What have you two found?" Ignis asked, wiping more of the grime off the crystal to get a better look at the girl within.
"Don't know." Noctis answered, "it wasn't here while we were fighting Titan."
"Think the big guy left her here for us to help?" Prompto asked.
Noctis looked pointedly around them and the encroaching lava and grumbled, "funny way of asking."
"Nevertheless, this will complicate things with the Chancellor. The empire may not be willing to give up something so mysterious."
"But we can't just abandon her, right Noct?" Prompto asked with an almost painful note of hope in his voice.
"Yeah." Noct nodded.
Gladio was still watching the Niff transport suspiciously, a large part of him waiting for magitek troopers to jump off the ramp and take them prisoner. Instead, the Chancellor reappeared with a length of cable over his shoulder. He hooked one end to the side of the ship, then shrugged off the rest to fall down at Gladio's feet.
"Better hurry!" The Chancellor called, getting the rest of the group's attention. "I don't like the look of your chances if you tarry much longer."
Gladio just grunted and quickly dragged the cable to the others. "This had better be worth it." He grumbled to himself.
The others quickly took the cable from his suddenly frozen hands when he finally saw what was in the crystal. "What in the world…"
They moved quickly to slide the cable under the crystal and hook it snugly in place.
Ignis gave the Chancellor a signal and the older man pushed a button on the wall of the carrier. With a whine of gears difficult to hear over the sound of the engine, the cable began to wind itself up, pulling the crystal along the ground and towards the ship.
They all followed close behind it, nudging the crystal before it could get stuck on the uneven ground.
A sudden blast of intense heat under the ship had it tilting dangerously, almost sending the chancellor stumbling off the ship.
"You boys are really cutting it close." He mourned while increasing the speed of the cable.
There was a brief moment where the crystal almost slipped free from the cable when it was pulled into the air. But a heave from Gladio had it up and into the ship just in time for them all to jump up into it, while the ship shook with the increasing fissures released pressurized gas and molten rock.
Now safely ensconced in the ship, it took off with a lurch that sent Noctis and Prompto to their knees and the others reaching for the walls for support.
"So!" The painfully cheery voice of the Chancellor forcefully grabbed their attention. He approached them while trying to get a look at the rock they'd just made him drag into the ship. "What was of such importance you decided to risk all our lives?"
Noctis and Prompto were on their feet and between the Imperial and the crystal in an instant, preventing him from getting a good look. Even though Noctis had to lean back against it just to remain upright through his exhaustion.
"Oh, really now." Ardyn said reproachfully and raised his hands, as if they were the ones being unreasonable and he hadn't just revealed he was a high ranking official of an enemy nation.
"First, Chancellor, we will discuss what you plan to do with us." Ignis joined them, blocking his unsubtle attempts to peer around them.
Ardyn finally appeared to give up and sighed, "why, grant you safe passage, as I just said."
Noctis glared at the continued patronizing tone of voice. Their mistrust was perfectly reasonable!
"How generous of you." Gladio skeptically growled.
"For an Imperial." Prompto added under his breath.
"Come now." Ardyn chided. "Is it fair to begrudge a man the circumstances of his birth?"
"Well, no, I guess not…" Prompto ducked his head, embarrassed at having been heard.
The Chancellor waved his hand as he spoke, as dramatic as ever, "And anyway, I couldn't bear it if something had happened to you boys. I helped you get this far, did I not?"
Noctis pressed his lips together to prevent something sarcastic from coming out. If they weren't trapped in here and at the mercy of an enemy he wouldn't have bothered. But he didn't want to risk the lives of his friends. Not to mention the strange girl trapped in the crystal behind them.
"Won't you let me see what my ship is transporting?" Ardyn weedled.
Prompto shrugged helplessly when Noctis looked over at him for advice. The final call on what to do in situations like this fell on Noctis, as the prince.
"She's staying with us." Noctis stated firmly, deciding it wasn't worth fighting over. He motioned Ignis to stand aside and let the Chancellor approach.
"…She?" Ardyn questioned, a note of disbelieving humour in his voice. His tone clearly saying that he questioned their intelligence to have personified what looked like a shiny rock.
"Yeah, the Archeaon gave her to us, uh, we think." Prompto nervously cut in, hoping that invoking one of the six would prevent the Empire from taking her.
From the angle Ardyn approached, the dust that stuck to the stone covered most of it. The tail of the area that the boys had wiped clean was visible first, revealing a clear sea green colour that almost seemed to glow with an inner light. He'd been confused at their insistence on bringing a relatively small meteor shard onto the ship. To even go so far as to risk their lives for something that could be found scattered around the disk seemed the height of idiocy.
Perhaps Titan had left them a gift of some sort for overcoming his trial. In which case it was always a good idea to get a look at something that could be intended to be used against him at a later date. The sight of delicate hands clasped together around a long cylindrical object had him almost stumbling forward in shock.
The boys had parted just enough for him to get a glimpse of pink clothes, and a youthful face haloed in brown hair.
"What in the gods…" He trailed off, flicking his wide eyes to the boys glaring at him with various levels of suspicion and trepidation. He quickly covered up his own unease with a laugh, "never a dull moment around you boys, is there?"
Ardyn's eyes were unwillingly drawn back to the young girl in the stone. He had to wonder, this strange girl… how did she feature in the Astrals' plan? Encased in crystal as she was, did she have some connection to the Lucian crystal currently sitting in Gralea?
Regardless, Ardyn decided he needed to know more before letting the prince and his retinue go as he'd originally planned. But first he had to decide how to play this…
"Hey, no touching." Noctis' bratty snap had Ardyn flinching a hand back he hadn't even realized had been reaching out to touch the stone. He covered up his flinch with a flick of his wrist and an insincere smile.
"Of course, Highness." Ardyn spun and paced away from their intriguing find.
Noctis and his retinue all watched him go with suspicion. Ignis went to follow him deeper into the transport, unwilling to let the man out of his sight, while Noctis and Prompto began to wipe away more of the dirt from the crystal.
Gladio flicked his eyes from the crystal to where Ardyn and Ignis were walking. He stepped around the other two to put himself between the prince and anyone who would approach and crossed his arms.
"Who do you think she is?" Prompto asked, his sleeves quickly turning brown.
Noctis hummed in agreement with the question, knocking chunks of dirt onto the metal floor.
"I'd like to know how she got in there." Gladio joined their speculation.
"Yeah, and why'd she appear after Titan disappeared." Noctis frowned.
"Hey Noct, think she could be a princess?" Prompto teased.
"Trapped in an eternal sleep, until a dashing prince comes to her rescue."
"Yeah right." Noctis rolled his eyes.
"I'd buy that book." Gladio added, brushing more of the hard brown rocks off the smooth crystal.
"Why am I not surprised." Noctis said.
"But seriously." Gladio frowned down at the brown haired woman. "There's no way she could be alive in there. Maybe... she's an ancient Oracle of Titan?"
"Hmm." Noctis also stopped brushing off the rocks and dust to frown down at the pink dress. "She's not dressed like one."
"Oh!" Prompto cried, "what if she's a messenger of Titan? Just like Getianna?"
"Huh." Noctis tilted his head, considering, "that could be it. Nice one."
"Heh." Prompto ducked his head, embarrassed.
"If she is a messenger of Titan, then she's been sleeping in that crystal for over two thousand years." The Chancellor's unwanted voice had the three of them spinning to face him. All the temporary levity of their conversation gone at the reminder of where they were and who they were with. "I can't imagine how useful the Archaeon thought a weakened messenger out of their time would be."
Ignis trailed behind the man, arms full of rags. The three relaxed when no magitek followed them in.
"What, none of your nursery rhymes mention her?" Gladio sarcastically asked.
"No," the Chancellor answered as if Gladio had been serious, "the messengers were all killed or sent into slumber like the rest of the gods at the end of the Astral War. Of course there's very little written or verbal accounts of them left."
Ignis joined them and silently passed around the rags.
"Well! I've done my part, I'll leave you to it." Ardyn scrunched his nose at their dust and sweat covered bodies. He walked over to the far side of the ship and leaned against a wall to observe them unobtrusively.
"Seriously?" Noctis muttered under his breath. He was still having trouble believing that the man he'd just recently dubbed a 'creepy old dude' was the Chancellor of Niflheim.
Under the rags that had been piled in Ignis's arms there were also some water bottles. Noctis gratefully sank down into a cross legged position, his exhaustion over taking him. He summoned one of his own water bottles and drank it all in one long gulp.
"I feared he was going to report our capture." Ignis explained his departure. "But all he did was open a maintenance cupboard and get these cleaning supplies."
"And used you as his pack horse?" Noctis glared down at his hands as he used the cloth to clean his hands and arms.
The four of them fell into a tired but alert silence. Noctis eventually joined Gladio and Prompto in cleaning the crystal, but it was half-hearted as he didn't want to move from where he'd sat down.
"So, what do we do after he drops us off?" Gladio asked to fill the silence.
"Go get the car." Noctis replied.
"Can't leave her unattended for long." Ignis concurred.
"But then what do we do about- Oh! Nice boots!" Prompto interrupted himself.
"For a messenger who's been encased in crystal for two thousand years her clothes are remarkably modern." Ignis observed.
"Oh yeah, weird." Prompto agreed.
"We can figure it out once we're somewhere safe." Gladio reminded them of the danger they were still in, trapped within a Niff transport. "How much longer this 'safe passage' gonna take?"
"I shall inquire." Ignis dropped his now brown rag onto the metal floor of the ship and slowly approached the Chancellor.
The older man was lounging next to the exit hatch. Ignis had to wonder if the man was guarding it. But that was absurd, even tired as the four of them were, a politician would have no hope of stopping them from leaving.
Ardyn lifted his head at Ignis's approach. His eyes, which had been hidden behind the brim of the fedora, took Ignis in with a quick glance.
"Chancellor, if you truly wish to aid us in our efforts, then I request you release us this instant." Ignis had his arms crossed after approaching Ardyn.
"This instant? It's a long way down. Perhaps the army could break your fall." Ardyn lightly mocked. "Or perhaps, you could simply sit back and enjoy the ride. You needn't worry, you're in good hands with me."
Author's Note: I have a bunch of snippets written of how Aerith and the meteor impact the plot of XV, but none are quite fleshed out yet. I also have written an outline to myself on how XV and VII's lore would impact each other.
I'm close to finishing some of my other wips and am trying to decide what to focus on next. So thought I'd post this and gauge interest! I'll probably post at least one other chapter anyway as it's mostly written. So please let me know what you think!