Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 9 > The End of Times


by DevilishKurumi 0 reviews

She stands shakily in a torn up dress that's indecently short and stares straight ahead, over his shoulder and past the King of Thieves and she says I'm blind, I'm blind. [Character Death, Mutilati...

Category: Final Fantasy 9 - Rating: R - Genres: Drama, Horror - Characters: Adelbert Steiner, Amarant Coral, Beatrix, Eiko Carol, Garnet Til Alexandros - Warnings: [!!] [V] - Published: 2007-02-04 - Updated: 2007-02-04 - 4618 words

When Beatrix, Garnet, Eiko, and Pitsel return it is a bittersweet reunion. Mostly, they stay to themselves, figuring out last minute censors and making sure what, exactly, they're going to tell everyone.

It's cynical, yeah, but Amarant doesn't feel particularly cheerful. Not with Garnet seeming to have aged a year in only a few days; not with Eiko slinking around like a kicked dog; and definitely not with Beatrix being there - if only because he just doesn't like her.

They ask people to gather and at first, the armorless knight doesn't look at his wife fully. When he does, however, it's worth it. She looks briefly shocked by the intensity of his gaze, but shrugs it off easily enough. Amarant kind of loathes her.

"Your Majesty," Eumol says, coming forward and looking at the three women in front of the group, "I... I didn't know what to do, so... The dwarves and I have been constructing a ship. It will... probably hold us all. If you can give me just two more days, we can have it finished..."

"Thank you, Eumol," Garnet whispers, "That would be very useful." She looks at the sky without seeing it. "We... Is everyone here?"

"Yes, your Majesty," Beatrix responds.

"We... We went to Madain Sari," she begins hesitantly, "And... though we had some difficulty contacting... we were able to find out the next step in our journey."

"And that would be...?" Amarant asks, feeling his own hostility and hating it.

She winces, more at what she has to say than what he already has. "We must travel to the Daguerreo, before the end of the month arrives."

Lani looks at the group and then quietly says, "And if we don't?"

Garnet blinks and Beatrix stares. Eiko simply smiles wearily.

"You... you have regained your hearing?" the Queen asks.

"Yeah. Um, just a day or so after you left." The bounty huntress lies through her teeth and no one looks to correct her. "What happens if we don't get there in time?"

Garnet and Eiko share a look.

"...I see."

"No you don't," Eiko sighs, looking to the group. She glances at Eumol. "Could you guys get that ship done as soon as possible?"

"It's hardly a ship, now that I think of it... but yes, we should be able to have it finished very quickly. As I said, two days might be enough."

"We need it sooner than that," Garnet rasps, eyes widening, "We need to get to Daguerreo in eight days!"

"You mind telling us what will happen if we /don't/?" Amarant growls, "Worried glances between little girls hardly help me."

"Rest assured," Beatrix hisses, "It will be far more severe than worried glances. I suggest you keep your mind on more pressing issues."

"My own wellbeing is a pressing issue."

"Amarant," Garnet says, quietly, "I wish to speak with you, for a moment."

His gut churns, but he can't help saying, "Alright, princess," taking her by the hand and quietly leading her a fair distance away, hiding them in the shadows of old trees. "So, talk."

"I..." She looks so unsure of herself and for some reason that makes Amarant hurt in ways he didn't know he could. "I know that, before I left, I might have caused you worry. I wanted to tell you that..."

"If you're offering reassurance that everything's alright, I don't want to hear it," he snaps.

She blinks, and her eyes water a little. "I... No. I wanted... I wanted to tell you that nothing is ever going to be alright!" She lets out an involuntary sob and puts her hands to her face. "Ever again!"

Every time she gets upset, he feels as though someone were stabbing him. He puts an awkwardly large hand against her shoulder, and in return receives the Queen clinging to his shirt, gripping it tightly, as if she'll never let go. "We - we went and it was all gone Amarant! And - and I couldn't feel anything but this... this anger and then Ramuh appeared and he said that... that they had discussed what we were doing, and th-that he only knew we h-had to go to Daguerreo and wouldn't say /why/!"

She sobs into his shirt and he doesn't know what to do. He settles for putting an arm around her shoulders, looking down at her and wishing he could get his hands on that sonofabitch Old Man Thunder. What kind of game did the Eidolon think he was playing with them? They're mortals, not superhuman machines bent on doing only the will of some ancient deities! He feels a surging anger at the entire world outside of himself and his blind Queen, who never did /a damned thing wrong/!

Give me all you want, he silently shouts to the sky, Knock me down, rip me up with the forces of nature, but you're going to have hell to pay for what you're doing to everyone else!

"I don't want to do this anymore," Garnet quietly wails, shaking her head against his chest, "I don't want to do this, Amarant, can't we go home?"

/Say no,/ a deep and ancient voice calls out from inside the bounty hunter. /Do what you will with me when we meet again, but do not let her end this quest now! All hope will be lost if you do!/

"Garnet," he rasps, wishing for all the world that he could simply fight for her but knowing he can't, "Garnet, we can't stop now."

"Amarant!" she cries, "I don't want to-"

I don't want to either, don't you get it-

"I don't want to /die/!"

There's a stillness in the air after her shaking voice, and he stares down at the top of her head in a panic.

She's going to die if we continue? he asks the Eidolons frantically, She's going to die?

/ No/, the voice says quietly, and doesn't speak again. At first, Amarant can't believe either of the people he's heard in the last few moments, but then he realizes - even if he's loathe to admit it - that the old man Eidolon loves Garnet and won't let anything happen to her.

"You won't die," he mumbles weakly, smoothing back her hair idly, "You're not going to die."

She moans in fear and whispers, "Amarant, /please/..."

"Don't you dare ask me for favors," he snaps, taking his hands away suddenly. He can't do this. "Don't you dare ask me for favors I can't fulfill!"

She keeps her fists in his shirt and looks blindly up, almost as if she could see him. "I'm so sorry," she cries, "I didn't mean to get... I didn't want this to happen, I didn't want you to be involved, but I didn't think that it would get so /horrible/..."

The others are going to start wondering.

"It..." He watches her let go and fall into a kneeling position at his feet, and can hardly breathe. He follows her moves and kneels down as well, running a hand through her hair and bringing her blind eyes up to his face. "It's alright. It'll be fine. Let's just go, do what the old man told us to, and get this the hell over with."

"I... I don't know if I /can/," she rasps.

"You can. You're saner than I am at the moment, princess, and therefore you're the best to lead us."

He feels something weighted in his stomach and thinks briefly that he might have another attack soon - but then realizes that it's just fear.

Something about the foreign emotion worries him.

"That General of yours is going to start wondering what's going on. Stand up, Garnet." She doesn't obey him so he sighs, holding her shoulders and bringing her to her feet as he gets to his.

She sighs a little and closes her eyes, wiping futilely at her eyes. He crosses thumbs over cheekbones and says, once he's sure that there's no one to hear, "I am going to protect you, your Majesty, and not just because you're my queen. Remember that."

At her nod, he takes her hand and leads her back to the group. They stare and she squeezes his hand gently, asking for him to take initiative.

"Hurry up and finish that paddle boat of yours," he snaps to Eumol, who hesitates before nodding, "We have to get it to the water, too, so factor that in. Six days for travel over water gives you two days exactly."

"Maybe," the Burmecian says slowly, looking thoughtful, "Maybe we should consider taking the partially built frame to the water /now/, when it's relatively lighter, and finish it there?"

"That's a good idea," Amarant responds, earning a surprised look from Lani, who he's sure has never heard him compliment someone else, ever. He looks away and to Beatrix, who is not glaring as he had expected.

Instead, she's almost smiling.


She never thought she'd have to deal with a rocking boat again.

Lani sits on the deck of their new ship and looks out over the glowing sea. Though the dwarves had been hesitant at letting the ship sail under its current conditions, they had all decided that it was now or never. They've been at sea for three days now, and she thinks that's two days too many that she's had to share the cargo hold with these intrepid adventurers.

Not that it matters. At least she won't be left alone to contemplate drowning.

The moons are high and she wonders what Daguerreo has in store for them. How decimated will it be? Will there even be people there, or are they going to have to finally face that dreaded sea serpent she's seen in her dreams more often than not?

The deck creaks and she looks over her shoulder to see Steiner skulking. He's always skulking, nowadays, like he doesn't want to get too close. Like she might burn.

"Afraid of drowning, good sir knight?" she asks, leaning back on her palms and feeling rough wood cut against calloused skin. Leather boots approach and she's surprised that Steiner's actually sitting down beside her when, for the past few days, he's been unable to look at her at all.

"I am steadily losing my fear of the water." She looks to him and he smirks in a sad attempt to joke, "Instead, I seem to be more afraid of snakes, lately."

"I haven't felt anything," she tells him immediately, looking at the water ahead of them, "Nothing."

He is silent for a minute, and then he rasps, "Are we speaking of Leviathan, or...?"

He can't even say it, and that almost hurts Lani. Still, she can't play around this any longer. "Both, maybe. I don't know anymore. You haven't been spending much time with your Lady of War, lately."

"I haven't found a reason to."

"You haven't, or she hasn't?"

He almost looks like he's glaring but she knows better. Instead, she looks at the moons and their reflections and thinks about caves. Would they be safe in one? Could they live their lives in a little commune and just -


She moves thoughts away and looks to Steiner in confusion, because he hasn't called her by her own name... ever? Has it been that long already?

In the dark, he puts his hand over hers, and that constricted feeling returns full force. "You are beautiful," he sighs, almost in defeat, "And I know my reasons. What I cannot fathom are /yours/."

If she could, she would explain to him exactly why she had slept with him, why she had stayed until sunrise, but all of her powers of deduction have left her and even after thinking about it for days she still can't figure it out herself. "I can't tell you," she says quietly, "Because I don't know either." She can't leave it there - it isn't right - so she adds, "I just... needed to."

He nods like he understands, but she knows he doesn't. He can't. He's got a wife - a wife, Lani - and he wants kids and he wants a normal life with nobility and honor and all the shit she can hardly even stand. He can't possibly understand what it's like to just need the contact, to just need to be desired, because he doesn't have to feel it ever.

It's a bald-faced lie but she can't bring herself to acknowledge that fact.

"You shouldn't be here," she says finally, looking at him briefly before returning her gaze to the ocean, "You should be with your /wife/." She adds, almost jokingly, "Have you no shame?"

His hand tightens around her and she's forced to look at him. He gazes back with dull, tired, melancholy eyes and rasps, "It's... strange. When I look at you, I feel as though... as though I cannot breathe." He frowns deeply, "But I have no shame. I regret nothing."

The words strike Lani as frightening and she doesn't know what he wants from her; she's not even sure she'd be able to give it to him. She doesn't want anything, she thinks desperately, she doesn't want anything but to live through this horrible journey.

"You should be asleep," she mumbles hoarsely, losing her voice and gaining that little girl feeling she hates. "You shouldn't be up here."

"I don't have a choice," he says quietly, "I can't help but think of drowning below deck."

Now she finds herself laughing a little, almost desperate for the change in mood, "You too, huh? I thought you were-"

When he kisses her, it's not unexpected and she lets the mood stay for a while.


Amarant stays below deck even after Steiner leaves and stares into the darkness across the hull. He knows that they're making good time - he can feel something warm nearby and finds it to be Eiko, whose horn is faintly glowing. He has a feeling she's using her magic to fill the sails with wind, and if she were awake he would thank her as best he could.

Beatrix is in the corner farthest away from all of them - even the Queen, which surprises the bounty hunter. Her duty is to protect Garnet, isn't it? Why isn't she...?

Whatever, it doesn't matter. He does the job just as well.

The blind Queen moans in her sleep a little, tossing her head to the side. She's having a nightmare - or maybe she's talking with the Eidolons, who knows? He reaches over with a large hand and brushes her bangs away from her face, looking at sweat and skin and wishing she weren't feeling so horrible right now... Wishing that he could just tell Old Man Lightning to fuck off and leave her alone. He knows he can't, but imagining it brings him a little comfort.

It's a long time later when Steiner comes back down, and Lani doesn't even show her face until dawn. Amarant pays them little attention, focusing instead on the blind Queen he's come to protect.


The tall, sheer cliffs of the Forgotten Continent bother Eumol to no end. He hasn't been this far from Burmecia in his entire life and now that he thinks about it, he's not sure many have. He knows that a few Cleyrians had passed through Daguerreo after the first destruction of Cleyra, as did a few Burmecians, but...

No matter. Eumol shakes the useless thoughts from his head and sticks to the more useful thoughts, like how to dock on the almost nonexistent shore. He knows that they need this boat - if they hadn't, he would have just crashed right into the damned rocks and let them all swim to safety. He wishes they had thought to make an anchor for the ship, but he hadn't had a clue that the Forgotten Continent was so unwelcoming.

"What is the matter?"

Eumol starts at the sound of Beatrix's voice and holds back a shudder. Even after years of peace, he still remembers the General's attack on Burmecia... Sometimes she still gives him the shivers.

"I'm having difficulty figuring out how to dock, ma'am," he replies, tail thrashing a little in annoyance. "No one informed me that the Forgotten Continent was so mountainous."

"Forgive me," Beatrix sighs, "I forgot to mention anything." She sounds tired.

"If we have enough rope," the Burmecian says quietly, "Perhaps we can tie the ship down between those two rocks." He points to the two least foreboding pieces of stone jutting up out of the water.

A hand touches his shoulder and he jumps. "It sounds like the best plan we can have at the moment, Eumol. I have the utmost faith in you. Shall I gather up Steiner and Amarant to assist us?"

He turns and looks at her for the first time in seven days and sees that she looks exhausted, weak, and unhealthy.

"Yes," he mutters, adjusting the wheel, "We better get help."


Amarant doesn't know what to expect, and as a result, he holds on to Garnet's hand as tightly as possible. This is stupid - she's blind, they're leading her up a thin trail that has almost ninety-degree angles, and for what? To get to a city that's no doubt destroyed? To get to a city they'll have to save from destruction? He doesn't understand.

"It's alright, Amarant," Garnet mumbles quietly, "We're going to be fine." She's saying it more to herself than to him and so he doesn't respond. He just focuses on Beatrix's form high above him and hopes that he can drag their blind Queen through this safely.

It takes them almost an hour to climb the slope because of Garnet and Steiner, but they make it to the top and are rewarded with a green field marked with craters and a clean, clear waterfall falling into a disgusting, dirtied lake. Amarant feels almost sick at the sight because no doubt there's nothing left, not in the place that worshipped the Water Dragon so openly -

They follow the dented path behind the waterfall and the doors are bent, but standing.

"Are we too late for your predictions?" Eumol asks from behind, worriedly. Amarant tenses and Beatrix starts to answer.

The doors, scratched as they are, creak and open inward, allowing the group their first view of a city not harmed by the outside world.

Several scholars are standing at the doors, but Amarant can't look away from the intact railings, the polished stone floors, the animated, healthy and alive people - this isn't right, it can't be right -

"Welcome to Daguerreo," one scholar says, "You will be safe here."

Amarant almost laughs aloud but his head hurts too much, so he opts for the safer, easier path.

He passes out.


Eiko can tell that Beatrix doesn't like her, but that's okay.

It all started in Madain Sari, when the Eidolons could only talk to the young girl and not to the others, because... well, because she is a proper lady. The properest, at least. The Eidolons just can't talk to Beatrix, because she isn't connected to them, and Garnet is on a holy quest that cannot be interfered with directly.

The little girl shifts in her seat and decides that Beatrix should be glad that they're choosing to use the loophole Eiko presented. She sacrificed an awful lot for this, but she hasn't even gotten a "thank you" yet.

/Oh well/.

"Big brother," Eiko sighs, crossing her arms over the bedspread and laying her head on top of them, staring at the unconscious Amarant, "Why did you have to go and faint like that? You're going to miss the most important part..."

She knows exactly what's going to happen here, and it's like watching someone reading a book she's already read. Waiting and watching for their reactions at a dramatic scene is the best part of watching other people, after all.

She can hear the tavern alive with people and she smiles. At least here, they won't have to worry about taking shifts and watching for danger; the magic protecting Daguerreo is old and powerful - powerful enough to deter all Eidolons from attacking.

She knows that when Amarant wakes up, he's going to want a drink, so she scoots her chair back and laves the room, heading down the hall of the inn to the bar. She's not surprised to see none of the other group here. They're like wounded animals who want to be left alone to care for themselves, and merriment is probably not the best thing for them at the moment.

Still, there's Eumol, sitting with a pint of something and staring at a book in idle interest. She hop-skips to the table and pulls the chair across from him back, earning a glance.

"Can you buy me a drink?" she asks easily, "Amarant will probably want one when he wakes up."

"Of course," he responds, just as easily, and Eiko wonders how old he is. Eighteen, nineteen? Definitely no older than twenty. She should've asked Puck.

/Oh, Puck... I hope you'll be all right/.

"What are you reading?" she asks.

"This is the most recent atlas that the library has. I'm hoping that we won't have a repeat of today's docking experience, and by studying this I might be able to prevent that."

A bargirl comes over and Eumol orders a bottle of whiskey, nodding discreetly towards the rooms and handing the girl some extra gil. She giggles behind her hand and nods, flouncing away.

"She'll have the bottle delivered to his room promptly," the Burmecian sighs, losing that easy look that he had taken up so quickly. "Lady Eiko, how much longer are we going to pretend that the end is only a day away?"

Eiko smiles.

"Don't worry, Eumol," she tells him, getting up and curtsying, "After tonight, the journey will almost seem worth it."

She leaves the Burmecian to his maps and drinks and hopes that Amarant will wake up soon.


Lani grumbles as she paces away from Amarant's room. What a stupid lug - first he passes out and then he has the nerve to tell her to get lost after he comes to? Who the hell does he think he is?

"I guess it makes sense," she sighs, crossing her arms and looking around at the various shops, "He's got his drink to relax him for now."

She's never been to Daguerreo and she wonders why that is. This place is pretty damned nice - and she's comparing it to the way things used to be, instead of the way things are /now/. She doesn't want to think about now, anyways. The scholars that had greeted them had asked about the state of affairs around their parts and they had told them just how bad it was.

One of the scholars had frowned and looked towards the inn. "No wonder your companion has collapsed," he had sighed, "Too much destruction can have a horrid effect on the soul."

What would that old man know, anyways?

She passes the blacksmith and feels a sudden pull. She stops with a jerk and spins on her heel, practically dashing to the shop and looking about in confusion. It wouldn't make sense at all, but...

"My /axe/!" she exclaims.

The blacksmith looks up at her briefly and then frowns, looking to the jeweled axe. He moves away from the sharpening stones and comes forward, heaving the heavy weapon in his arms.

"This is yours?" he asks in surprise, holding it out to the woman. She's so small compared to this huge thing - she must just think it pretty, and him a fool...

She easily takes hold of the axe and hefts it on her shoulder. "Where the hell did you find it? I lost it in Treno!"

He gapes.

"How much do you want for it?" Lani frowns, checking to see that no one is close before twirling her weapon a little, feeling its weight like an old friend.

"Lady," the blacksmith responds with his mouth open, "That's your axe, and I ain't gonna charge you for what a thief tried to pawn off on me."

"A thief?" she asks.

He smirks. "Scrawny little guy - no idea how he got here from Treno... Red hair, four arms... Not familiar? Oh well. He tried to pass it off as a weapon he outgrew but we could tell it wasn't his. He wasn't holdin' it like you are. So we confiscated it and kicked him out." A small growl escapes his throat. "We don't like thieves in our city, and I ain't gonna con you out of a few gil for something that I didn't pay for in the first place."

"You're a fool," Lani snaps idly, not really meaning it.

"Maybe," he responds, "But I'd hate to be a thief."


The green field is full of holes, pockmarked and horrible terrain that his boots can't quite catch on. He can feel It looming behind him and feels for the first time in a long time cold, honest terror in his stomach.

Wind picks up around him and trees are uprooted - he stumbles and lands on hands and knees, scrambling forward and pushing himself to his feet.

"Oh /please, /oh /please/," he begs, following the edge of the lake around, "/Please/!"

The waterfall gives him a blurred, shaky image of the world he is trying to escape and his back hits the metal doors of Daguerreo. There's nowhere else for him to go and he slams his fists on the doors, shrieking. "Please! Open the doors, please!"

The wind sprays water in his face, and silverblue scales fill his vision. An impossibly large dragon stares at him through the water as though looking through a window, and he sobs, "Please open!"

The Dragon slowly slips its long, slender snout through the water and its eyes peer down at him as though he were some kind of bug. He swears It's grinning at him.

The mouth moves slightly and it sounds as though the Dragon's saying, "Shhhh." He finds himself unable to deny the command and stills his fists, staring into huge black eyes, drenched by displaced water. He wonders if heaven is wet.


"Please," he whispers. He's not sure why he's begging, or who he's begging to, but it seems almost right.


/It will all be over in a moment, Little One./

It feels as though his blood is slowing in his veins -

There's a crack and pain shoots through his abdomen, but he can't muster the panic he needs as he looks down to study the oak branch jutting out of him.

He looks back into black eyes.

"Please," he rasps, and suddenly all that blood speeds up and he screams/. "/Please open the door please please please!"

The Dragon roars, like a laugh, and pulls away, leaving him drenched and bleeding with a fucking tree in his fucking stomach -

The metal at his back gives way and he falls to the stone ground.

The first thing he sees as his vision reddens is Her Majesty and all thought of consequence leaves. "Please," he gasps, "Your Majesty, please-"

"I should gut you where you lie!" a woman's voice snarls, "You fucking thief, you stole my-"

"This kid isn't even worth your time," the Flaming Amarant growls, "Why the hell did you even let him-"

People are shouting at him and around him but he can hardly even hear half of it anymore, he's choking on blood that must be in his lungs by now, none of his arms are responding, and his extensive vocabulary is reduced to one word.


Her Majesty kneels down and blindly reaches for him, and his eyes close at last.
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