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

Part Fifteen

by Ikonopeiston 1 review

The survivors of the training on Bikanel board the boat. Nooj and Gippal confer.

Category: Final Fantasy X-2 - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Baralai, Gippal, Nooj, Paine - Published: 2005-07-29 - Updated: 2005-07-29 - 2404 words

The Confessional

Part Fifteen:
We are finally on board the ship and waiting for the tide to take us from this desert. We boarded hurriedly since the dawn brought an army of fiends swarming the beach. It was only the flying eyes and the snakes and we could easily have exterminated them, but the cowards who give our orders commanded camp be struck and boarding to commence as soon as possible. This resulted in one benefit to us - we were not searched as we came on so the pistols remain hidden somewhere about the person of Gippal.

Now that we are properly situated on this revoltingly unsteady form of transportation, I must maintain the facade that this journal is concerned with documenting the facts of this misbegotten enterprise and set down what has transpired thus far.

We are fewer, which makes for more comfort. Baralai, with the assistance of those from other groups who are still functional, got the damaged (both physically and mentally) stowed away in the two sets of private quarters below decks. Yes, those which were used as places of assignation on the way out. Since Paine is the only female remaining and she is mine, there is no need for such facilities - not that many of the more enthusiastic earlier participants are in any shape to use them. Hah!

Before I forget - the gigantic capsules Baralai compounded to combat my nausea problem seem to be working. True, we are not yet actually sailing but the rocking of the ship is not all that far different from the effect of the open sea and I feel no discomfort - so far. When I say I feel no discomfort, I am not being strictly truthful. Swallowing the things still makes me gag and I feel I am forcing a large beetle down my throat three times a day. However, I cannot deny the difficulty with the size is a bagatelle compared to the alternative. I must commend the Alchemist for his skill.

He has also supplied Paine with a sizable number of the pain reducing capsules to use as she sees fit. He seems to consider her my amah and I don't know whether to be amused or annoyed. She doles out the anodynes whenever she seems to think I am more uncomfortable than usual. I confess I take them when she insists and they are extraordinarily effective, enabling me to do those things I must do with far less difficulty. I shall miss this luxury when the group breaks up - as it must inevitably do. I also think the pain control is preventing me from talking in my sleep. I have asked Paine and she insists she has not heard any nocturnal muttering since I began taking the medication.

With the below decks area occupied by the dregs of humanity which made up the other five groups, we have elected to sleep on the open deck. It is more fragrant for one thing and more private for another. I have some business to attend to with my companions and do not wish to be overheard.

The Maesters, as I am told was true on the earlier voyage, have quarters of some extravagance near the bow of the ship in a sort of house-like structure nestled in an area where they can catch the freshest breeze and avoid contact with those they consider beneath them. I think I heard it called a forecastle. But what do I know of nautical terms? I am a Spiran Warrior and that requires knowledge of quite enough specialties. I don't have time to waste learning things that will be of no use, like the Al Bhed language. The important thing is that these Sacred Incompetents have sufficiently separated themselves so that I need not be on guard against their oversight at all times.

Hmmmm ... I wonder what I would do it I found one of them wandering the deck in the night. Now I know the capacities of the machina hand, I can deal with most creatures without an additional weapon. A quick move, followed by a quiet splash ... I suppose I should guard my thoughts more carefully but when I think of the condition of those bewildered haunted-eyed remnants of a putative army... Enough!

It is more than ever obvious to me, as it must be to any other thinking human, that religion and reality do not mix. One is concerned with that which does not and never did exist; the other deals with how we are, in fact, to continue to exist in the world as it is - not as we might wish it to be. That may be why Baralai failed as a priest-in-training. I fancy he was far more aware of the actualities of what surrounded him than a proper priest is permitted to be. And he is much too caring about the physical well-being of his companions. Real priests are only worried about getting their adherents to the Heaven or Heavens of which they prate so much. They spend their time worrying about pyre-flies and not the condition of a soldier's feet. I am not altogether certain I even believe in pyre-flies. Oh, I have seen the sparkling fragments leave a dying thing, but how do I know what the priests blather is the truth? They have presented no proof that unsent souls become fiends. If it were true, there should be far more fiends in urban areas where surely not all people die with one capable of 'sending' conveniently at hand. And pyre-flies? I am inclined to think they are merely a natural effluvium which occurs as the last flame of life is extinguished. When I finally find my ending, I suspect I will go out with a small explosion of pyre-flies and then it will be done with. I wonder if I will see them as my eyes fail and my breathing stops.

This is no time and no place and this journal is certainly not the correct repository for such unproductive musings. I am postponing the interviews I must have and indulging myself unduly. ... Ah! I just felt the deck lurch and I hear a creaking of the wood. We are under sail.


I am finding the cane an essential for getting around on this ship. Otherwise the unsteadiness of the deck would have me on my arse a dozen times an hour. I never realized how the angle of a plane could change so quickly while remaining a plane. Thanks to the genius of Baralai, my chief complaint so far is vertigo resulting from that which should be steady being not. Also, thanks to Baralai, the incessant stress on the machina limbs is not making me scream inside my head. Paine says nothing but looks volumes as she presses the various capsules on me. I am beginning to feel like a true machine, one which runs on inserted gelatin boluses of differing sizes. At least, I continue to function.

One problem is solved to my complete satisfaction. I have had the interview I intended with Gippal. He was under the impression I wanted him to service the non-human components of my body and seemed rather disappointed when he learned I only wanted his ear, not his hands. The lad has a fixation on my machina parts. I fear leaving them is going to be as hard on him as leaving Baralai, perhaps more so since battle boys are easily found and a man who is half-mechanical is not so readily available on this planet.

When we met at a secluded place by the railing near the stern of the ship, in a sort of alcove, he immediately began talking about the duel. For some reason he is convinced the leader of Group Three had poison about his person and intended to use it to assure the priestling's death. He claims he heard a noise, a kind of sloshing when he wrestled with the man and that sound meant poison. I cannot connect the sound and the presence of a pernicious substance but, then, I am not Al Bhed and maybe that is one of the gifts of the desert. Gippal was quite insistent that he was right. I think he may be trying to convince both of us that I made the right choice when I authorized the use of the Judas pistols. If so, it is a decent and well-meant argument. I asked him if he had told Baralai about his discovery and it seems the boy refuses to discuss it at all. The entire incident must have affected him more deeply than I thought. I really must pay more attention to the morale of my charges.

By initiating a talk about the duel, Gippal gave me the perfect opening to segue into what I wanted to say to him. When I asked, he told me he still carried the shameful weapons within his clothing. It shows great strength of character to be so willing to maintain physical contact with such evil-embrued objects. Even I, heathen that I am, would fear their dishonorable genesis would somehow transfer to me if I kept them so close. They make my somewhat dubious deeds seem clean and wholesome by comparison. Still, the Al Bhed are a practical race, not given to fancies (except as they involve sloshing sounds and poison vials), so Gippal may not have spent much time in contemplation of what he carried.

We found ourselves to be in agreement about the vileness of the pistols. We talked for a while about the extreme efforts expended by the Maesters in their effort to retrieve them and speculated about the real reason they had been brought along on this venture. The best we could come up with was that the loathsome priests are so accustomed to having the odds slanted in their favor, they are always in possession of the means to assure that. We also agreed there were probably any number of other odds eveners we did not know about in the baggage so carefully stowed in the forecastle. It was strangely comforting to hear my most paranoid ideas echoed by the firmly reasonable Gippal.

In the end, we agreed the pistols could not be permitted to come into the hands of dishonorable people. It would be criminal indeed to risk their return to the coffers of the Maesters. So, carefully shielding his actions from the view of any who might suddenly appear and look in our direction, Gippal groped around in his trousers and brought out the weapons, still warm from their hiding place. He handed me the prepared one and I looked at it carefully, memorizing all the details of its construction and markings so that if it ever surfaced again I would know it instantly. It seemed almost to burn me as I held it in my right hand, balancing the weight and admiring the pernicious beauty. I could see Gippal caressing the one he held in a similar fashion. We then looked at one another and with a common decision, reached over the railing and let the guns fall into the sea simultaneously. They made only the faintest of splashes which would not have been noticed by the keenest-eared sailor standing immediately above.

With our eyes still locked together, we turned our backs to the ocean. Gippal held out his empty right hand and I took it. I, who shy away from touches, took another man's hand for the first time in years and meant it. In the act of destroying the Judas pistol and its mate, Gippal and I had become brothers in a far more profound sense than those who rise from the same womb. We had pledged ourselves to one another in a silent ceremony more meaningful than the sharing of blood. We had merged our honor.


Group Five has done the required duties attendant upon preparing the expedition members for sleep. Baralai and Paine have made the rounds of the sick and injured, healing and comforting. That wretched Recorder from Group Four is still sobbing. At least he has learned to muffle his grief or maybe he is running out of strength. Whatever, he is not so loud in his misery as he was at the beginning. No one seems to be near dying, so far as we can tell and everyone is fed and watered. Only another day and we will all be back on the mainland and Ixion alone knows what will happen then.

I have taken Baralai aside and expressed my gratitude for the fruits of his talents. He is still easily abashed but seemed pleased to be thanked in person. It is the least I can do for the services he has rendered. In matter of fact, I am becoming indebted to my team to an embarrassing degree. They have done more for me than I have given them. This is an improper balance for a leader and his men. I must find some way to address it before we are assigned to our separate commands. I do not wish to carry additional burdens along on my search.

I am curious to know just what the Maesters have planned - and I use the word advisedly - for their next step. They have managed to winnow out this collection of two dozen with great success. Will they reform us into equal units again or release those who have done so badly? Do they have the audacity to pretend any of this shipload, except my team, are fit to command so much as a kindergarten force? I can see the Crusaders now, faced with commanders of the quality of most of this mob. There would be slaughter in the captain's tent before the night fell. No, not even men as incompetent as these sanctimonious idiots would dare try such a stunt. They must be intending something else. Or - could it be they have not thought at all, that this is the best of their strategy? That they will land us on the shore, bid us a loving farewell and take to their heels. It would be no surprise if they did.

Enough of my idle, uninformed, futile poking. I shall follow the others above deck, take my evening medications and listen to the chatter of my brats until it is time for bed. Then I shall ...
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