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

Part Twenty

by Ikonopeiston 1 review

The journal of Nooj - This is the last chapter I shall post to this story.

Category: Final Fantasy X-2 - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Baralai, Gippal, Nooj, Paine - Warnings: [!!!] [X] - Published: 2005-08-18 - Updated: 2005-08-18 - 2473 words

A/N - This is the latest of the entries I have transcribed from the battered communication device I discovered in that strange cache in the Calm Lands. I have not yet been able to check if there are any more recent recordings still unheard. Later, when my more urgent duties are completed, I shall try to return to this and make a hard copy of any other items of interest. I have no idea what happened to Nooj and his companions. Theirs seems to have been only a small part of the great Religious Wars which swept the world a century ago. However, it is often by looking at the microcosmic we understand the whole. So I do not feel the time I have spent preserving this data has been wasted.

The Confessional

Part Twenty:
I am more myself again. My mind is functioning more efficiently. I remembered a long neglected path I had taken during my cadet days in the Crusaders, one which parallels the Mi'ihen Highway. I surmised none of the Temple forces would know about it and led our little band that way. It is not a easy route, involving as it does a precipitous winding trail down from the Highway proper to the gullies and such which run alongside. When I was a cadet, I did not find it strenuous but I must admit it was never designed for use by a cripple and, without the help of the others, I would have fallen more times than would have been good for me. Once we had found the largely over-grown marks of a usable trail at the bottom, I felt more confident. This path runs a circuitous route at least as far as Rin's Travel Agency which is about half the distance to Luca. It is much longer than than the main road but also much safer. We are below the line of sight and unlikely to be spotted by any searchers following the usual road especially since Baralai took the time to eradicate the signs of passage at the place we began our descent to the hidden path.

I think we will continue to move mostly in the twilight and evening hours simply as an additional note of caution. Items are far harder to distinguish in the fading light and it would be absurd to be captured or killed after all this time and effort. My plan is to rest here in this little meadow for the daylight hours. We have water and shade here and are screened from the overhead view by the trees which have sprung up. After a rest, we shall proceed on and attempt to reach the Travel Agency by sunset. We can restock our supplies there - Rin is Al Bhed - and decide how to split up. I am still not sure of what to do with Paine. She will want to stay with me, I know, and she must not. I shall advise the lads to take separate ways but have no doubt they will ignore me. They claim to want me to lead them but will not obey a simple, logical order like that! Hah!

I must talk seriously with Paine and try to come to a decision as to her future. I can exert no personal authority over Baralai and Gippal but surely I have some control over my own lover, my cherished mistress. Probably not. She is a stubborn woman and feels competent to manage her own destiny. We shall see.

When I say I am more myself again, I also mean the despair and wretchedness I felt during the onslaught of the pyreflies has mostly dissipated and I am once again aware of the enormous gift Paine has given me. It is a rare thing to be the object of unconditional love and I wish I had the capacity to return it. I feel toward her more strongly and tenderly than I have ever felt toward any human before and I suppose that must suffice for one of my inadequacies.

There is one other thing which still bothers me. I think I am having blackouts of some sort. There are sections missing from my recent memory as there are in my recollections of the cave. No one has made any reference to odd behavior on my part although I think I notice a puzzled glance now and then. That may just be my imagination. Still, it is troubling not to be able to assemble a complete memory of what one did and said over a certain period of time. It is probably just the aftereffects of the cave miasma which must have acted more strongly on me than on the others. ... Unless they, too, are having this problem and none of us wants to mention it to the others. I have seen nothing unusual in their actions. Should I ask?


I have told the others the plan I propose and have heard no argument. Of course I did not tell them about the incipient separation of the group, only setting the Travel Agency as our destination this evening. I have advised everyone to get as much rest as possible because the next leg of this walk, while short, lies through difficult territory and will be tiring.

Since we will be parting before we sleep again, I had better take the opportunity to tell Paine those things I want her to be sure to know.


There is a globe of happiness surrounding me, isolating me from the thoughts of separation and loneliness. I drew Paine apart to a pleasant little glade I had found near a small stream which murmured like music as it flowed over a bed of rounded stones. It seemed a good place for a talk, secluded and enclosed. After we had washed the dust of the road from our bodies and were lying on the grass to dry in the soft air, I told her what I had intended to say to her - that I was not now Taydrcaagan but was redeemed by her devotion. I told her I would no longer try to find death but would try instead to find a way to live so that we might be together. She made a little whimpering sound, then wrapped herself around me and, with her head on my chest, began to cry. It was the first time I have ever seen her shed a tear but I could feel the hot moisture fall on my skin and I petted her, trying to comfort her. Then I tipped her head back so I could see her face and she was glowing with joy - I did not know tears could mean that as well as sorrow.

When I saw her face, looked into her eyes, I felt my body react to the blazing fire I found there. I hardened against her and my breath quickened. I watched the response to my excitement flash across her countenance as, without a word, she quickly moved to impale herself upon me with no regard for readiness. I felt her heat encompass me and was immediately absorbed into her frenzied need. We clutched one another with a desperation which found us driven nearly mad with desire, with the effort to become united in one skin, one body, so that we would never be alone again. We clung together with such intensity that blood mixed with other fluids and we marked one another with scratches and bite marks as tokens of the fierceness of our passion. In the red-blackness of my world, I heard Paine cry out her triumphant pleasure, her shout of joy, as grasping her wrists, stretching her arms above her head and pinning her beneath my weight, I exploded in her most secret places, filling her with my own victory before collapsing, panting on her breast.

If the others heard, let them!


I am alone.

It is over. There is only darkness.


I must make the effort to tell what has happened. I have persevered all this time, relating both the good and the shameful. I must not falter now. If this is ever heard by another, the end must be told. It is a part of the story. I am not so great a coward as to stop before the end.

We left the place of our final camp, the place where Paine ... Paine and I so fiercely coupled ... and set out on the path to the the Travel Agency where Rin held sway. It was hard going so we did not talk much. The sun was low in the sky when I spotted the trail leading up to the main Highroad and led the way.

We emerged at a clearing across from the Agency and, looking at the others, I decided to let them recover their breaths and organize their thoughts before forcing them to recognize the necessity of taking our individual ways. They sprawled on the ground or wandered about aimlessly for a while - most of the time, the area around the Travel Agency is neutral ground and hence, safe. After a while when they seemed less exhausted, I called the other three to me and told them we must separate in order to save at least some of us. No one wanted to hear this and there was a brief squabbling but it was decided I was right and the work to overthrow Yevon and his priesthood - principally the Maesters - was greater than our personal wants and needs. Gippal and Baralai would try to escape together but if that proved to be too dangerous, they would make their own individual ways to Luca and re-unite there. Paine was stiffly silent as I told her to take refuge with Rin. He may be Al Bhed but he is a gentleman and would protect and assist her. Her eyes glittered and she just kept shaking her head and clutching her camera as though it was a talisman. I pulled her to me and kissed her before I turned to leave.

I kissed her before I killed her ...


I have only flashes of what came after that. Standing with the other men. Moving without my cane. Holding a gun. Firing. The feel of the sphere-camera lens against my palm. Paine's eyes - as wide as oceans. Falling. Drowning.

I was standing in the dust, a gun dangling from my hand. I could see Paine lying not far away, blood on her white skin. I flung the weapon away and fell to my knees at her side. I could not touch her at first. It was not real ... she was not sprawled there like a broken toy. If I did not touch her, it was not real. ... I remember throwing my head back and howling into the fading sun, then I gathered her into my arms. Her head fell back limply and her eyes were closed, her mouth slightly open and no breath lifted her breast. I pulled her to me and called her name. Nothing. I kissed her lids, her mouth, her throat. She did not stir. She is dead and by my hand. It cannot be otherwise. I was there with a gun and she is dead from a wound. I love her and she is dead!

I looked around for the other two. They were lying side by side a little way off, blood seeping into their garments. Why? They were all dead and I must have done it. I was the only one who could have done it. Why? Why had I killed them all? The three humans who were closest to me in my entire life and I slaughtered them like fiends in the wilderness. There was no need to check Gippal and Baralai; I have seen death often enough to recognize its presence and I could not bring myself to release Paine from my arms. It was only my arms which kept her warm. ... She must not grow cold. ... I love her. I wish I had been able to tell her how much I love her while she could still hear me. Now I know I am capable of love. I will not use the past tense because I love her yet. I love her...

She was an unexpected gift in my life, one I did not sufficiently appreciate or deserve. My stubborn pride tormented her when I could have made her happy. She was more courageous than I have ever been in her willingness to risk everything on so chancy a throw as to love me. And her devotion has brought her to this. Why? Is it still the curse of the pyreflies and whatever lethal aura permeated that cave and now infests me? Or was it the innate madness of my essential self manifesting again? Why Paine? Out of the four of us, why could she not have been the one spared? Why did I do it?


I was more than half way to Luca, lurching like a drunk in the middle of the High Road before I was able to think coherently again. Whatever had caused the event, it was done and could not be undone. That part was over. I must put it aside and follow the path before me. I am Nooj the Undying, the champion of the Crusaders, the Deathseeker. There is no softness in my life and I shall seek my quietus on the battlefield as soon as I can find an honorable place and time.

I left them there, all of them, in the dust of the clearing. There was no more I could do for the bodies. Paine ... Her hair falling over her face. I laid her straight so that she would be beautiful when she was found. I am not sure but I think I wept. No! I do not weep! The crimson eyes closed. Her mouth ...

The incident at the Travel Agency was part of a separate world, one in which I made the effort to become as other men and abjectly failed. I am the half-machina creation of the engineers and the vivisectionists, the limping machine designed only for killing. My destiny is laid out like a straight road on a flat map. There are no byways, no other paths to follow. I am the monster of death. I do not love. I destroy.

I found a small packet of capsules in my pocket. They are gold in color with little seed-like objects suspended inside. I vaguely remember they were meant to be used to ease severe pain. Well, I will not be needing them anymore. Nooj the undying Taydrcaagan does not permit pain to exist. Paine ....

I have dropped the capsules into the ditch by the road. They are hidden there and will rot.
Sign up to rate and review this story