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

Part Nineteen

by Ikonopeiston 1 review

The four try to reconcile their memories of the cave.

Category: Final Fantasy X-2 - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Baralai, Gippal, Nooj, Paine - Warnings: [!!] [X] - Published: 2005-08-13 - Updated: 2005-08-13 - 2357 words

The Confessional

Part Nineteen:
I will finish this report. I am not so weak as all that. There is not much more to go. ... Baralai and Gippal were congratulating one another, cheered by their acceptance into the Crimson Squad. Paine was holding my wrist and guiding me away from the area of the cave when she made a sudden move and shouted. At just that instant, I heard the ricochet of projectiles off the pillars and stones of the labyrinth. Someone had begun to fire weapons at us and we had to flee. I was half-blinded by the darkness at the edges of my vision, limping worse than ever and vertiginous if I moved my head too quickly. Yet somehow - with the help of the others - I managed to escape the attack. I tried to urge them to go ahead at their more rapid pace but they would not leave me behind. I vaguely remember stumbling up the shallow stone staircase and being pulled from cover to cover until we had opened a sufficient gap to let us pause to catch our breaths. I drew Paine to me and, from her lips, drank comfort and reality. After a brief rest I had recovered my vision and balance to a great extent. We then proceeded in a less frenzied state to this sheltered space.

So for some reason the Maesters had set us up as targets. There is no question the attempt was made to slaughter us all, including Paine. This is not only intolerable, it is unreasonable. What did we see in that cave they did not mean us to see? And, why, if we were meant to see nothing, did they send us inside in the first place?

We have made an effort to correlate our memories of exactly what we did see. I have dug as deeply as I can and have recalled a few more scenes. Just before the glitter of the pyreflies blinded me, I saw the pale, almost translucent figure of a young man, about Gippal's age and seemingly a little taller, stroll in front of me. His hair was colorless and his vacantly staring eyes locked on mine, then he swept his arm forward as though directing a pack of predators to their prey.

Behind him, at the furthermost limit of my focus, I could dimly make out a massive, inhuman form. I could not tell if it moved or if what looked like motion was only an illusion born of the shadows and fugitive light. I heard a low rumble, a menacing growl which seemed to emanate from this object and I was seized with an irrational fear. ... That is all I can remember before the arrows of light pierced me and I sank beneath an onslaught of despair.

The most confusing and disheartening thing I learned from the others was that I did aim a gun at my teammates. They are downplaying the event, saying they could tell something was wrong and the incident was quickly de-fused with nothing coming of it. Still, what possessed me to make me behave like that and not know it? Am I losing my ability to think and reason? Am I going mad? That is enough cause for me to wish extinction. I hope it was only a transitory event and when I left the place of darkness and pyreflies I left it all behind. I must keep very careful rein on my actions now.

The others confirm most of what else I recall with the differences always attendant upon differing observations. They seem to think there was some poisonous atmosphere within the cave complex which produced a sort of temporary insanity. I hope they are right. None of us knows the whole truth, but it seems likely each of us has a fragment of the reality of the infestation. Now, if we can only piece it together and force an answer. Why do I still feel I am not fully in control of myself? What did the pyreflies do? They did not attack the others - so they tell me. Why was I chosen as their target?


There is no longer any practical reason for me to keep this journal. I started it as a record of the malfeasance of those set above us. Now, I have no idea to whom this news would be either new or interesting. I do not know how much of the regular army is under the command of the Yevonites. They had used the machina question to divide the forces and keep the military in a constant state of upheaval. I think they have probably continued this technique and refined it so that there is no one sufficiently powerful body to oppose them. So, to whom would I present my case against these cynical and arrogant men? All these notations of the maltreatment of trusting recruits is so much wasted effort. I should, by all rights, toss this device into the nearest bog and be done with it.

I know I won't do that. There is too much of value to me personally scattered amongst the complaints and formal reports. There is the story of how four widely differing people learned to trust and to depend on one another. There is the unlikely tale of the woman who loved a monster and was, in turn, cherished by the half-man. Somewhere in this battered object is the revelation of how I became almost human again in spite of the physical freak the vivisectionists made of me. I'll keep it, if for no other reason than to remind me of what changes have occurred and why. I fear I am growing sentimental. It's all the fault of Paine. Hah!


It is afternoon and clouds are gathering in the west. The night should be dark and provide us with a safe cover under which to move. We are gathering together what few supplies we managed to hold on to during our hasty exit and are making preparations for getting under way as soon as the shadows are deep enough. Gippal has done me the service of attending to these disgusting appurtenances I am forced to drag about with me. I suppose I must set this down for it may be important. When he was renewing the oil in my leg, I thought I could feel it trickle across the until now nerveless stump of my thigh. I almost twitched at the sensation and it took very firm control not to react. I don't know why I am hiding this from him; he would be interested to know of it but I think my habit of secrecy still keeps a powerful grip on me and I remain uncomfortable revealing too much about myself.

We shall sleep for a while and then set out on our path to wherever we are going. It is my job to set a destination and I am not certain. There does not seem to be anywhere we can be sure of finding refuge since we do not know who our enemy is or why we are being pursued. I am operating on instinct, working our way toward Luca so that we may be able to lose ourselves in the crowds which fill the city. Not I, of course, I shall never be able to hide in plain sight again, but the others should be able to take refuge there until a better solution can be found.

I continue to be bothered by the incomplete memory of what happened in the cave. The Monsters of the Temples expected something to take place and it did not work out as they expected. That much is clear from the expressions on their faces when we related our stories. We must continue to press our minds for more detail. Maybe if we can gain some idea of what really happened we will be able to deduce what the Malodorous Miscreants thought would occur. There has to be a reason for all this. There must be a purpose behind their deliberate destruction of the majority of the army they recruited with the promise of training them to be leaders. And why did they send us improperly armed and prepared into that cave to turn on one another like a pack of fiends? And why try to assassinate the four of us there at the end? What was the purpose of the pyreflies which invaded me and what did they do to me? I do not have enough facts; I am going to bed - with Paine.


Ah Paine, my cornucopia of pleasure! Lying in her arms, I can escape the thoughts which constantly bedevil me. The heat of her mouth and the touch of her hands transport me to a condition of euphoria far removed from the world in which I chased my own death. I have a strong need to tell her exactly that - that she has seduced me from my dark mistress. That I am in thrall to her alone.

She bestowed upon me the caress I find most intoxicating. Sometimes when she does this and drives me to the Little Death from which one returns more alive than before, I feel I may well meet my true dying in the tumultuous release it brings. I fall into darkness and lose my senses for a while; then I hear her soft laugh of triumph and sweep her up into my embrace and am wholly alive again.

She likes the touch of my left hand. She explained to me once how the always cool feel of the machina on those most heated parts of her body creates a whirlwind of excitement as nothing else has ever done. Because I fear hurting her, I am careful to prepare her for my entry and use those cold fingers to gently stretch her until I can tell she is ready. I have to move slowly lest she achieve her climax before she has experienced the whole of what I can give her. It is worth it for when we join, we are both united in our passion and, more often than not, find our fulfillment simultaneously. We have assured one another we are inventing new ways to scale those erotic heights. But then, I suspect all lovers think they have discovered the hidden, perfect ways of loving. Still the look on her face and in her eyes when we have made one person of two is unique in my memory. I can drown in her.

And, as with Gippal's ministrations, I seemed to feel her touch on the heavily scarred parts, on the places where the machina are inserted into my flesh. I was told by the surgeons those areas would never have feeling again because the nerves were destroyed but I could almost swear I felt her finger-tips and lips on my thigh and my shoulder. If this continues, we must try some experiments to see if it is truly so. ... If we can find a way to be together long enough for such games.

When we lay finally exhausted and relaxed together, she blew softly against my ear and begin telling me something surprising. It seems she, Gippal and Baralai had a private conference on the boat that last day while I was otherwise occupied. Each of them had conceived a thought separately and when they became aware of the similarities in their thinking, they decided to formalize their ideas. They want the four of us to stay together as a group under my leadership. They are such innocents! They do not understand the way of armies. Soldiers have no choice in where they go, with whom, or what they are to do. However, the events of the past day have recast that pattern. I must learn to think in a new way. We are no longer soldiers of Yevon but fugitives from his followers. Alas, this does not alter the basic facts. We dare not stay together much longer. If the Maesters are still looking for us, our group stands out as though spotlighted. Just my presence alone is a sure marker. We must split up soon in order to seek safety. I must find my own way in order not to betray any with whom I travel. There are so many plans to make and I am responsible for all of us. And all the plans.

Still, the testament of devotion is touching. I heard when we landed back here on the mainland, the remnants of the six groups which had gone to Bikanel expressed a desire to follow me if I would have them. That was inspiring as well. I now wish I had accepted their fealty. It might have been the germ of an army. And I am sorely tempted to tell the other three here that I will take the command they offer and we will form a guerilla troupe to harass and torment the people of Yevon where we can. But I must not be selfish. I have no wish to lead these cherished few to their end. Not Paine, not Gippal, not Baralai. They must survive in order to bring down the rotted empire of the temples and cleanse Spira of this taint. We must find some way to spread the word and bore from within. Gippal can rally the Al Bhed. Baralai, who has shown a surprising gift for dissembling, could easily pretend to repent and be accepted into the faith again, there to play the agent provocateur. And Paine, what of Paine? I must send her away but to where? Where will she be safe? When I think I have solved one problem, fresh ones appear in line. If I keep her with me, my very presence will endanger her. There is no other man on Spira like me. What am I to do? I shall court inspiration and hope it will visit. Note to self: be sure to find an occasion to tell Paine what you need to say. You owe her this before you have to part.
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