Categories > Games > Final Fantasy X-2 > The Confessional - Continued

Part Seven

by Ikonopeiston 1 review

The four finally board the boat en route to the site of training.

Category: Final Fantasy X-2 - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Baralai, Gippal, Nooj, Paine - Warnings: [X] - Published: 2005-06-22 - Updated: 2005-06-22 - 2391 words

The Confessional

Part Seven:
This is our last night in this camp. Mid-morning tomorrow ... Ah, I see the date stamp is about to change...

Mid-morning today, we will make our way down the road to the temporary dock and on to the boat which will carry us to the undisclosed location of our actual training. I would be happier if I knew where we were going and what to expect to find - what conditions, I mean. I know there will be enemies, stress and little sleep. I have been on training missions before.

I have prepared my team as best I can. We have ample arms - except we have no swords. Come to think of it, I have seen none since I came here. We have sufficient ammunition and enough knives and daggers to permit us to defend ourselves at close quarters and to prepare what food animals we may find in the field. I have done all I can to this point.

I continue to be troubled by the discovery of the Judas gun. I had not expected treachery to that degree, not even from the Maesters. If they are comfortable in using such ploys on one another, what must they have in store for us, their underlings? I can only be watchful and suspicious of their every move. No sense exhausting my mind with unfocused worry.

Yesterday, as it is now, was mostly a day for resting. A little scavenging, Gippal's final tweaking of these damnable machina limbs, a last visit by the four of us to the firing range... My aim has greatly improved, another reason to be glad of Gippal. This journal is beginning to sound like a letter of commendation for the Al Bhed. Ah well, I have never been one to withhold credit form those it was due and he has proved himself to be uncommonly useful.

Along that line, I must say that Baralai has begun what may be a turn around in the past day. Finding that box appears to have bolstered his self-esteem and, I have to admit, he shoots better than I - even with my increased skill. Note to self - do not think about swords. You can no longer use one.

No, Baralai is less obviously dependent on Gippal now. I am eager to see how he responds to the first fiend who attacks him. Will he stand his ground and fire or will he turn tail and flee? That will be the proof of his manhood. I have hopes.

Then there is Paine. Last night we carried a sleeping bag with us to the pool so that the late night chill would not force us back to the camp. I took care to impress the memory of the woman in the moonlight on my mind. I do not want to forget - ever.

I shall indulge myself and play back the memory, the image, to fix it more firmly in my mind. In the light of the two moons, both at their full, she is a thing of mysterious shadows and shapes. Without my spectacles, my vision is somewhat blurred and she becomes an other-worldly creature both flesh and mist together and apart. When she arches her back at the moment of her climax and contorts her face with pleasure, she is a goddess, the deity of lust fulfilled and I am drawn with her into a universe of spinning sensation and delirium. A woman like her is new to my experience or perhaps my emotions are so suffused with gratitude that she did not turn from my ruined body that I am unable to judge her in any unbiased manner. Still, she is a wonder in the moonlight and I shall not forget her when I am taking my first step into Nothingness.

I am filled with the feeling of endings, as though my consciousness is aware of doing things for the last time. Never again will I lie with Paine on the moss by this pool. Never again will I be free to explore her grace and sleekness with no one watching us. Never again will the ice of my agony be melted by the heat of her embrace. Never again will I taste myself on her tongue and smile with the awareness of it. I am drowned in melancholy, in the silent saying of farewells.

Yet I am paralyzed by my vision of her. She lies sprawled, her legs covered by the bag, her face hidden by her arm, sleeping as I make these notes. Her short hair is glittering silver in the moons' glow, forming a nimbus about her head in my hazy vision. Why is her hair so short? She laughs because mine is long and she seems to believe my lack of body hair is due to the indignities visited upon me in the hospital. I have never corrected that conviction of hers. There has not been enough time for us to explain ourselves one to the other. There have been only a handful of nights and those have been consumed by other things. ... Will there be another chance to learn one another? Ah ... I am tired and shall soon join Paine in her sleep. Days spent in such unstructured activities are more exhausting than ones involving more strenuous and orderly exercises.

She is stirring; so - another bout before we sleep. There is likely to be no privacy on the boat so we must take our pleasure here - enough to last us until other arrangements, if any, can be made. First, togetherness then dreams - good ones, I hope.


We are ready and waiting for the order to move down the Mushroom Rock Road to the docks. The Maesters have supplied us with tents, knapsacks and other impedimenta we shall need in order to participate in a live ammunition training exercise. I confess I am surprised they have done this much. We have even been issued fresh sleeping bags, one each. Our team could have done with only two, as I suspect is true of most groups. We who inhabit Spira are a lusty people; we have to be in order to keep the population at anything like replacement level with the constant depredations of Sin and its spawn. The one thing they have not given us is uniforms. I would have thought that to have been at the top of their priorities since they are so concerned with appearances and there is no doubt an army looks more imposing if it is clad in matching kit. But no, here we are - Baralai in his slightly the worse for wear green robes with the layers of under garments which are likely to be a nuisance when he is actually out in the field trying to stay alive. He has picked up a heavy pointed staff from somewhere and insists he is more comfortable defending himself with that rather than a gun. Gippal has persuaded him to keep both weapons near at hand. Who would have thought the boy to be a hand-to-hand fighter? There may be more to him than immediately meets the eye. I shall watch.

Gippal is accoutered in typical Al Bhed fashion, loose trousers and shirt. His clothes make it easy for him to secrete various tools and side arms around himself. I have no idea how many weapons he is carrying. Or if he has a spare eye-patch. Note to self: do not attempt humor. It never works. If we are sent to a hot climate for this training, his voluminous garments will be perfect. All his race dress for the desert, of course.

Paine is still in her straps and leathers. She has remarkable skill in getting in and out of them quickly. I have never managed to decide how she does it. For her sake, I hope we are placed in a fairly temperate climate. I do not think she will be comfortable in any other. She has devised a way of carrying her weapon and her recorder so that both are readily available and Gippal tells me she is quite a good shot - something I observed myself yesterday afternoon. I wish she had lens to protect those red eyes from the glare off the water.

I remain as I always have, in the remnants of my Crusader uniform. The crimson leotard which is the easiest to tuck into the sheath which holds my left leg, continues to serve me adequately. I have managed a loose sleeve for the left arm to at least partially disguise the machina there. Since I am condemned to be a shooter, I have the padded fur to absorb the recoil from the heavy gun. Once I was indifferent to how I looked. Now I find I can get along better in the world if I can blend into the crowds as much as possible. I try to avoid being singled out as 'Nooj the Undying', the pride of the Crusaders. Hmph! It is not easy to handle both this awkward weapon and the cane. I would like to have one hand free just in case I need it. I suppose I can always drop the cane and ... and fall over like a rootless tree? It will eventually be necessary to work something out. Let me check ... yes, I have two spare pairs of spectacles in a safe place. I would truly be helpless on the field with two limbs missing and blurred vision. ... This entire project is ludicrous.

When will the orders come? This is typical military behavior - rush to formation and wait and wait and wait. Gippal is squatting against a rock, Baralai beside him. Paine is leaning on Baralai's staff. Only I maintain proper military posture.

I can see dust up the road, indicating some group or groups coming this way. Maybe things are finally starting to happen. I must rouse the other three and make sure they are a credit to me when the Maesters come by.


Finally, we are on the boat. We were the next to last group to board. This vessel is smaller than I had expected. There are six teams of four each and we fill it more tightly than is absolutely comfortable. It is impossible to get away from strangers and still stay below deck. I am acutely aware the majority of our shipmates have not yet learned the virtue of regular bathing and, not putting too fine a point upon things, they stink. Was it by chance I got the only three recruits at that camp who understand how to wash or was it the example I set each day which has made this team the only one in which the skin color of each member can be immediately discerned? I remember back in my earliest Crusader days, I was called 'The Cat' because I could not bear to be dirty. Ah, that was before I earned other names, ones less playful.

Enough. I am brooding and need to be thinking. I have had our possessions stowed away properly and secured against both pilferage and heavy seas. Baralai, of all people, came over to me a while ago and whispered he has heard from some of the others that not all the boats are going to the same destination. That is certainly peculiar. Both the information and the fact the priestling brought it to me and not to his paramour. Maybe he is finally accepting the truth that I am his leader, his commander. That will be to the good. It will make things easier.

Paine has already had to demonstrate to one of the other teams she is not available for the taking. I think the man will recover in a day or so. If not, his squad will be a man short and deserve it. She did not even require a knife to make her point. There are two other women on this boat and they seem more amenable to the gropings and suggestions of the reeking males who line up at the doors of their quarters. When Paine looks in that direction, she sneers and her eyes flash a more fierce red, like warning lights. And I smile.

I have asked Gippal to take responsibility for our more valuable belongings such as the case with the pistols and the supply of lubricant for my limbs. He has so many places to secrete items about his person, he is the obvious one to do so. We are still at the dock and still have time to make sure every thing is as it should be. Since all the rooms were claimed, mostly by the whores and their customers, by the time we boarded, I have found a space behind some crates of cargo where we can be separated from the rabble and lay our sleeping bags down on relatively clean surfaces. It will suffice, I believe. ... Ah, from the shouts above deck, we seem to be casting off. I wonder how long we will be at sea and where we will land. All this secrecy seems exaggerated to me. I cannot see the purpose although I am beginning to realize what the Maesters' overall plan must be. I suspected it almost from the start and now it is taking shape more clearly each day.


A strange thing has come to my attention. The man Paine injured was making a great deal of noise, disturbing the entire crew. Baralai walked over to him and waved his hands about while muttering something under his breath and the damaged man became quiet. After a moment, he grabbed Baralai's robes and kissed them. I had meant to check out any other talents the boy might have and, stupidly, did not do so. So he is a healer, a white Mage. That's interesting and may be handy. Make a mental note. ... It is getting stuffy and fetid down here. I think I will go up on deck for a while.


This is an extremely unpleasant state of affairs. It never occurred to me I might not be a good sailor. I am on the open deck and the fresh air should be helping. I must go find a place I can sit down and be as still as possible. I hate this.
Sign up to rate and review this story