Author Introduction: Good morning, afternoon, evening, night, or strange timeless hour in which the Australians live in relation to my fair nation. Here is the beginning of a fanfiction endeavour which began life a long time ago and entered the laborious process of starting to be written only a short time ago. I have thus to thank Karaii for listening for hours on end to me detail the entire plot.
Basically, this is an AU. About what, well, you'll have to see. But one change, a lot of consequences. DO BEGIN.
Schem out.

Ahead the Great Crystal loomed, alien and beautiful. Cidolfus Demen Bunansa placed his white-gloved hands on his hips and tipped his head with a satisfied grunt. To either side of him the Judges dispatched to ensure his well being gaped with idiot rapture, but he, he was used to the insane grace of They. The Occuria.

The makers of history, so he heard. Little was known about them, of course, but what there was for Humes to know Doctor Cid liked to think was within his well-read grasp. Pushing his glasses further up his proud Bunansa nose, he headed with a languorous, yet cocky stride across the marbled surface of Giruvegan's corporeal pathway and straight for the edge of the yawning precipice.

The Judges lurched forward. The madman! They had fought through all of the Feywood and all of the infernal maze of Giruvegan to – watch Doctor Cid step harmlessly onto a web of air. Around him erupted a filigree of magick, green and ornate. Ancient. As the Judges opened their visors to gape at the spread of the unfathomable, the truly sublime, Cid spread forth his arms and laughed.

"You! Count yourselves among the blessed of this world Ivalice, my brothers and sisters! You gaze upon that most pure and ancient of magicks. Greater even than Mist: the abode of the Occuria!"

Quite taken up with his own sense of theatre, Cid snapped his arms into the semblance of a cross, tossed his head back and cried,


They beheld. The Tyrant raised its head and bellowed them its bestial welcome. Each man and woman of Archades drew their sword, and Cid, still laughing, drew both of his modified guns to point them forward. Such feeble magick.

With them, he would destroy the effigy of a God. He, Cidolfus Demen Bunansa. Onwards they ran across the Occurian battleground to join the Tyrant's timeless roar with the scream of metal, the whisper of Hume-touched magicks, and all the while, the laughter of a genius driving forth with the fervour of his life's work.

Its wings had shrivelled from the Mist and its own captivity and in their stead bloomed spikes, teeth, fangs, a glimmering carapace. The Tyrant raged. They reached the platform and assembled with the precision only Judges could muster – they snapped their visors down, held their swords out, and with their bodies blocked the path to Cidolfus. He was tall; he fired a pot-shot over their heads as if to taunt this thing, so beyond humans. It roared – charged.

They moved as close to the edge as they would dare and, like dogs around a bear they dug in a sword here, arrow there, bullet cracking carapace at this spot – ah! - a Judge cried out in horror at the splintering crush of the beast's bite yet the Judges, so trained, barely shifted aside to allow the Tyrant to toss his carcass into that abyss. All the while the Crystal, like a sentinel, a judge itself, watched.

He fired with great accuracy yet focused mainly on weaving the immense pall of Mist in this place into spells. Green, mostly, a sort of glistening glitter in the haze, or time. Protectives against the creature's claws, blows, teeth, oh, the teeth. A horn gored a Judge through her armour, hurled her screaming into the mouth of Giruvegan. One by one it offered them. Stomp, a skull cracked, and was swept away by the tail like so much dust. Then the rest of the body. Cidolfus swore. Half his Judges, the most elite in Archades underneath the Magisters! His bullet scored the beast's hide but wasn't enough.

A sword took off an ineffectual wing. The jaws closed around an ineffectual Hume body and – crunch – straight through they went, needle point to needle point. The shards of armour and bone fell, as well.

There were three. The Tyrant took them all. One crushed. Two speared. Three swallowed – gone!

Cid leaped forward like a far younger man. His laughter had died but it remained in his eyes, that lack of respect, that Bunansa flair for suicidal insolence. It reared, lunged, mouth opened, set to close and he ran to meet the teeth, the cavern, the forever-falling.

He pressed the barrel of his gun to the inside of the Tyrant's mouth and blew its brains out in a spray of Mist and thick black blood.

The Waystone opened easy as a whore's legs after that. Cidolfus surveyed the carnage. Eve and the only one leftn the corpse of the Tyrant was recalled to the Mist and the only one left standing was he, Doctor Cid. As such he did not smile, which was inappropriate in the presence of death, though he did allow himself a grim satisfaction. They laid down their lives when they took their oath – it was here that they were taken, was all. A small price to pay for what they had seen, surely? In the afterlife (pah!) they would speak of it, or so the tales would go. Ballads, songs, tales, various weavings – all manner of vainglorious Hume matters.

Oh, the tales. All for nought if he didn't make it out alive with tale of their heroism, however. He brushed his hands off, glove to glove, and touched the metal surface of the contraption. Untouched, he noticed as the fabric of space and time moved around him, even by dust.