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A FFXI Tale by Wiryu and Phyree, I found this on alla
post Jan 7 2006, 09:02 PM
Post #1

Master of Blades and Rakes

Group: Arbiter Caste
Posts: 1465
Joined: 24-June 03
From: Minneapolis, MN
Member No.: 53

Look Wiryu is a writer Teh Vs. WTF (1 of 3): Schism

This may seem like an odd thing to write about and it extends from a dumb little joke that persisted between a few of my LS mates.  I bagan calling myself "Teh Phyree" along with a few others, while Wiryu defiantly became "WTF Wiryu". The joke built and built as did the "sides" until it was decided between Wiryu and I to write a story about it. Thus, we are co-authoring it. While I submit the final product, he has written about half of the story himself. Enjoy the fun netspeak rivalry!

Teh Vs. WTF (1 of 3): Schism

Requested by: Wiryu
Subject(s): Wiryu & Phyree
Genre: War
Setting: Teh Island

* * * * *


There is a corner of Vana'diel yet discovered, or at least small enough not to raise any eyebrows. This places is Teh Island. On Teh Island lies an old, classical city appropriately called Teh City. Teh people (or Tehans as they were known) were a diverse group of all the races which coexisted in stressed harmony as only an island nation can impose upon its people.

Teh Island is ruled by a theocracy in zealous service to Altana. At the top of the hierarchy is High Priestess Phyree, also known even more formall as Teh One True Phyree. Her Minister of Religion is another blonde hume who could almost pass as a twin or close blood relative, Yekan. Together, the benevolent rulers kept the island safe and unified, though locked down under strict rule. Dissention threatened harmony, which in turn threatened the entire populous. Thus, criminals were harshly dealt with even for what some would consider to be minor crimes.

From under the oppressive grace, a tarutaru named Wiryu who lived far to the east of the western citadel capital began a small underground movement to oppose Teh High Theocrat. Wiryu, a simple samurai, scraped up supporters from the east and tried to hold peaceful but forceful demonstrations against the rule of Phyree and Yekan. Yekan was dispatched to meet with Wiryu to settle the east and restore harmony. The Minister of Religion never returned and was rumored dead and the old capital castle in the east lost to the enemy.

Phyree sent in Teh Army to put down the uprising. Many in WTF (Wiryu's Tehan Faction) were killed and driven underground. There they plotted and began a guerilla war against the theocracy. Slowly support grew for change as some of the most destitute saw hope in the eyes of the small, new leader.

It was at this time a cunning ex-general of Phyree's named Mastra roused a small party of brigands on his own, hoping to hire out for mercenary work. He knew Wiryu held no power but could help him reach his ultimate goal of retaking Teh City and running it under a military junta. Mastra held no love of Phyree as the High Priestess had demoted him for supposed crimes of "treason" and instead made her most accomplished battle mage, Deedlit, general of Teh Army.

"Teh WTF" Mastra first approached Wiryu and with the other taru's help, waged a successful campaign to just miles outside Teh City's walls. At that point, Mastra fled the field leaving Wiryu's forces no other chance to survive but to retreat.

Phyree realized that skirmishes like these were only bringing divide to her land. Not wanting to damage the fragile balance and structure, and save her people unnecessary death and destruction, she called out to Wiryu to meet her in a large meadow to the north, Teh Field. Here, if Wiryu came, she was resolved to end this and lock down Teh Island under peaceful law once more.

It is here our story begins...

The field's meadows stood silent in the dusk of what would look to be a cloudy night. The wind would come in every so often to interupt the meadow's silence and create waves of flowing tall grass. The reeds which covered the meadows were browning from the coming fall season. Amid the grasses stood tall a tarutaru donned almost entirely in lizard skin armor - nearly the same color as the meadow itself. Belted to his side, a great katana lay in wait. He did not wear the helmet to complete his lizard set. Instead, he wore his silver hair pulled back and tied near the end with a red band. Wiryu's eyes closed, and with an expressionless face, he stood silently without any hint of movement.

From the south, a tall slender female hume came into view. She was adorned in full white mage artifact armor, a hammer, and a sturdy shield. Phyree removed her cap to keep the wind from blowing it into her face. Her almost golden blonde hair shined in the growing moonlight, making the high priestess eerily supernatural but appropriate in appearance for her station. The wind caused her ponytail to drift her face lazily, but Teh One True Phyree remained calm and serious. Now no more now than ten yards from the tarutaru, she clutched her hammer with one hand and uttered to him just loud enough to be heard, "So, you came."

The tarutaru lowered his head, eyes still closed and responded with a simple, "Yup."

Without another word Wiryu went straight into a run and unsheathed his great katana from his side, charging the woman. Phyree was ready for this and braced for combat. The shield protected the white mage from direct attacks, so Wiryu would have to be quick and sneaky. Sparks flew from metal-on-metal contact as a slash came from below. WTF Wiryu's momentum carried his sword almost to the ground behind him, and if he didn't duck, Teh Phyree's hammer would have ended the battle quickly.

The topheavy blessed hammer overextended the hume and Wiryu tried exploiting the situation by making a horizontal strike, spinng the sword in a metallic arc. While unbalanced, the katana strike came to Phyree's shielded left side and was stopped short from blade biting into flesh.

Each had regained themselves and the tarutaru hopped backwards, keeping distance and steeled eye contact with Phyree. The wind picked up and suddenly the small samurai grinned in malice. He dashed into the tall grass and became effectively invisible in the roiling tanned field. Blue eyes scanned to the best of their ability, but picked up nothing.

"Damn," she cursed to herself.

Almost if Altana heard her, the winds stopped and Wiryu's location became evident from the patch of grasstops trampled under his feet. He saw his position revealed on the high priestess's face and made a surge forward. An angled slice cut cloth and skin and drew blood, sending it down Phyree's arm. Just as quickly as he sprang out of the meadow's cover, he ducked back in, waiting for the wind to cover his tracks. Phyree furiously recognized this tactic as the mainstay of the WTF forces.

"You fight like a coward!" the woman yelled.

"I fight smart. I fight to kill." came a voice from the meadows.

"You fight for nothing!" replied Phyree.

"I fight to give my people a chance at life where anything is possible. You are the one who fights for nothing, causing uprises. You are a tyrant," he said calmly, "I fight for hope! A hope that people can be in charge of their own destiny, we live as slaves under you're rule with all of your authority."

She yelled back. "My authority saves lives! All beings are subject to panic and stupidity, and in order to put those emotions into check, a higher power is indeed needed! If you don't believe these words I say, you are a hypocrite."

"One who believes in a god such as Altana is indeed pacifying themselves with the thought of something watching over them, making sure they don't spill their drinks!"

"All you are is the acting high power." Wiryu said more aggresivly.

"How dare you insult the Goddness Altana and Her Divine Will!" Yelled back the woman. The wind was starting to pick up again, as was the tarutarus movement.

In all of her rage she took a slightly more aggressive stance. To WTF Wiryu's dismay, the wind died and his movement was clear as day toHigh Priestess Phyree. Out of desperate need, he tried again to quickly attack. Before the sparks could dance, the Tehan ruler managed to bring down her hammer and strike his shoulder with a crushing blow. He was thrown aside, and rolled to the ground.

Sitting up and holding his shoulder, he began to pant and wait out any further attacks. The hume was also exhausted. She dropped to one knee and held her arm which continued to bleed. In their break, a voice was heard echoing over the meadow, "They can't be far! Find them and kill them in the name of Teh WTF!"

Many men could be heard rallying together perhaps a half mile away.

"Damn't, Mastra," said the taru.

"This is not the end, Wiryu! However, true as it may be, exhausted and battle worn, we cannot fight off an entire army in this condition, we'll be killed," winced the theocrat.

"Phyree, our battle goes on hold for now!" yelled back the rebel. With that the woman tapped her knowledge of black magic, chanted, and caused a black void to take her away far, far from the northern battleground.

Wiryu smiled and pulled out a scroll of instant warp, and his bow. He could hear the mercenaries draw closer and so he loaded his bow with an arrow and shot it directly at them. Mastra's forces became disorientated and slightly broken up about the origins of the deadly projectile.

"I'm over here you bastards!" he yelled to the party of men. "We'll meet again Phyree," he said. With that, the tarutaru used his scroll and was magically whisked away into the night like his declared enemy.

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post Jan 8 2006, 04:33 PM
Post #2

This is my custom member title.

Group: Paragon Caste
Posts: 1169
Joined: 11-February 04
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 121

The funny part is, Samurai is the only job i havn't unlocked. In fact i was originally meant to be a Ninja with tantos, but she made some alterations. The whole story idea broke off of forum arguments too, ha.
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post Jan 8 2006, 04:43 PM
Post #3

Master of Blades and Rakes

Group: Arbiter Caste
Posts: 1465
Joined: 24-June 03
From: Minneapolis, MN
Member No.: 53

Cant wait to read more, go WTF!

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post Jan 10 2006, 07:34 PM
Post #4

Master of Blades and Rakes

Group: Arbiter Caste
Posts: 1465
Joined: 24-June 03
From: Minneapolis, MN
Member No.: 53

Part II

The room was somewhat cramped and rather musty.  The only light it saw was from a few candles burning lazily on a worn wooden table. It almost seemed like a dungeon, though the only victims here were some crumbling books on ancient shelves. Three occupied chairs sat on one side of the table, and the other had one empty seat pulled close in anticipation of an unknown guest.

The center seat held the tarutaru Wiryu, leader of WTF. Sitting council on his right was the elvaan Garan, a red mage of considerable power and general of the WTF Armies. To his left, was a most shocking conspirator, a blonde hume…Yekan, former Minister of Religion from Teh Temple itself. Now a sympathizer for the WTF cause, her knowledge was an invaluable tool to further the cause. All three sat formidably facing the hallway which snaked to the forgotten room.

Around a curve, lantern light began increasing in intensity and footsteps could be heard. A robed figure, taru judging from the size, rounded the hallway and entered the room, taking a seat across from the WTF Tribunal. Wiryu looked up from his notes to the hooded guest and flatly asked, “So, have you considered my offer?”

“I have, and I have come to a conclusion. But first I must ask…what made you decide to do this?”

“As a third party, you threaten the balance of this conflict. By seeking you out, we reach for at least once common goal. Additionally, like Yekan, you hold precious knowledge as to the battle tactics Teh Army uses. Now as I have answered your question, please, answer mine.”

“I want you to know that I will not be treated any less than you treat these two,” he motioned with his hand towards Garan and Yekan, “I expect the same pay, equipment, access to magical scrolls, and other royalties. My men also wish the same treatment as your own soldiers. We are currently without territory to call our own and want a solemn vow that when this ends, we will be given a place to live.” Mastra smiled, knowing that if things go according to his own plan, it would be Wiryu begging him for a mere corner of a swamp to build a mud hut and Phyree…her skeleton would watch over the land from a steel cage atop the tallest tower in the cathedral so she could forever bask in her loss and misery.

“Done. Your ranks will also be supplied with fifty of our own troops and all will be as best equipped as we can afford.” Garan cleared his throat. “You must also vow to us that you will then in turn fall under our rule and order and take your battle commands from the General, not yourself.”

Mastra’s small lips parted in an eerily eager smile. “I accept.” Yekan shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

“Welcome to WTF, Commander Mastra.”

“Your grace, my lord.” Mastra hopped out of the chair and stiffly bowed before strolling casually down the hallway from whence he had just come.

The outer cloister of the Temple of Teh was bustling. Thousands had heeded the call of the heraldic bells. For miles around the castle-like cathedral, the low metallic drumming could be heard. The sky was grey but threatened no rain, an ominous premonition to the message the High Priestess of Teh would deliver to the citizenry. As suddenly as the bells had started, they had stopped with one last lone note reverberating through the heavy air. Silence fell upon the crowd. Heads turned and whispers floated throughout the masses.

"What is this about?"

"Maybe breaking news about the war!"

"Foolish woman, there will be no war."

"Yes, not if High Priestess Phyree has anything to say about it."

"I simply must know more about Wiryu."

"Shhhh, don't say that name, I hear that the commander of WTF made a pact with the dark Shadow Lord itself!"

Brass horns sounded from high atop the minarets of the temple. Once more the crowd fell silent. The summoning of the High Priestess was always an event to behold. Soon large kettle drums beat rhythmically. Both instruments built to a crescendo and the bells rang out three times. On the third strike, a figure appeared on the top balcony facing the concerned throng.

Two arms outstretched wide in a welcoming embrace.

A magically enhanced voice boomed over the cloister, "May the Gates of Paradise upon unto you all." The high priestess pressed her palms together and bowed in solemnity, the crowd responded likewise before erupting in a massive cheer at the sight of their beloved theocrat. Grey clouds passed overhead as eyes gazed up and mouths closed at the beckoning of Teh One True Phyree.

"My people," she addressed them sternly but with great concern and care, "dark times are upon us. As many of you know or have speculated," she inhaled deeply and gave a pregnant pause, "we will soon be at war with WTF."

Thousands chattered about the news, the bell rang out once to bring them back in line.

"I met their leader, Wiryu, on the field of battle. With my blessed artifacts from Altana Herself, I sent him back to his lands with a lame shoulder and burden of shame."

A tremendous roar overcame the temple, crashing against it like a tidal wave. The bell rang out once more to reign them back in to the speech at hand.

"However, I have reason to believe that at this very hour, he is holed up in some musty, ill-lit dungeon scheming and conspiring like a vengeful rat about how to destroy us. Never believe that this 'leader' is anything more than a sniveling taru with delusions of grandeur. He is a megalomaniacal midget who wishes to see your crops destroyed, houses razed, and families put to the blade. I received word that he is even coercing the mercenary band led by Mastra to aid in their plots to overthrow our entire system of living!"

Phyree paused strategically to allow her followers to mull over these revelations. After several minutes she signaled the bell to ring.

"What most of you do not yet know, is that he has already claimed one of our very own from here within the Temple of Teh."

There arose a collective gasp.

"Yes, our former Minister of Religion, Yekan, my protégé and minister to you all, has succumbed to the earthly temptations this warmongering tarutaru! I thought her dead at her disappearance from the diplomatic mission to the west, but her life is worse now than that of death as she is colluding with the very evil she swore to crush."

Once more the crowd reacted with high emotion; there were even some who were extracted from the main body because of fainting at the grievous nature of the news.

"It is with a stern eye and heavy heart that I bear these ill tidings to you all. But, as your High Priestess of Teh, you must know about whom it is that seeks to strip you of your lands, your beliefs, your families, and your lives. All have been decried on Wiryu’s lips. Because of this, I must ask more of you, my people. Beginning at noon tomorrow inside Teh Temple's inner cloister, we will be taking names for those who wish to join Teh Army and work alongside the glorious leadership and chivalry of the Knights of Teh!"

A boisterous cacophony wafted into the darkened sky.

"Wiryu has conscripted his armies. They fight unwilling and cowardly. He is unable to muster voluntary forces of his own and must recruit petty thugs as well as the weak of our own flocks. He is a wolf, and like a wolf, the rest of the pack will not question his authority even if it means their certain death. Join me, my fellow Tehans, and by my side let us secure ourselves once more from the threats of outsiders!"

Phyree raised her arms in the air, scanning her body back and forth so that entirety of the frothing mob could gaze upon their holy priestess once more. She proceeded back inside the looming white walls of the Temple of Teh and the horns and drums sounded once more. The bells were the only sound now ringing out as the Tehan citizens returned to internalize what Teh One True Phyree had said.

Phyree herself weighted over the results of tomorrow's recruitment, wishing that more footmen and accomplished sword-swingers and spell-flingers would come to Teh Army or join her elite guard as a Knight of Teh.

"May Altana help us all."

As Phyree walked toward the back of the temple, she heard a voice from the shadows saying, "A nice little speech you gave there, Sister Phyree, but I am doubtful that the recruitment will produce the numbers as hoped. Keep in mind, Sister Yekan was once on our side, and although the masses will want to see the end of Wiryu, they may not want to fight against their former minister."

Phyree looked for the recognized voice, and a tall and graceful beauty dressed in crimson stepped forth, her new general, Deedlit. The elvaan woman was well-versed in both magical and combative arts, and duly appointed head of the elite Knights of Teh.

"I know, Sister Deedlit, that's what worries me most. Wiryu is quite the underhanded trickster, and I am glad you resisted his temptations where Yekan could not. Now, we have some other matters to discuss...."

Phyree raised her arms in the air, scanning her body back and forth so that entirety of the frothing mob could gave upon their holy priestess once more. She proceeded back inside the looming white walls of the Temple of Teh and the horns and drums sounded once more. The bells were the only sound now ringing out as the Tehan citizens returned to internalize what Teh One True Phyree had said.

Among the roaring crowd of screaming and cheering citizens, one man stood with a blank expression on his pale face, and as Phyree departed from her balcony, he made his way to the city gates. He mounted his horse and rode off to the west, to WTF territory. After a hard day’s travel across Teh Island, he could finally dismount and report to his lord. The occupied castle loomed in front of him and the rider removed his hood as he crossed the dark violet carpet leading to the throne room. As he approached the throne, Wiryu raised his head from his hand.

"What news do you bring of the rally?" asked Wiryu.

"They plan a war, they called you a warmonger and a coward. They say you retreated from the battle in Teh Field," reported the robed scout.

Wiryu put his hand to his chin in thought again and mused, "Resorting to lies are we Phyree? Some noble priestess! I hope that cut on your arm burns with the fire that toys my emotions! You,” he addressed his servant, “I want you to collect the Seer, we have much business to discuss on this ‘war’ I am supposedly planning."

"Right away master Wiryu."

Wiryu waited for his summon’s arrival at the gate and brought the Seer to more private quarters. She was a red-headed tarutaru named Pocketpooka, or Pooka for short. She was young, or at least she looked it. She wore nothing fancy, peasants’ clothes for the most part, but all the same she had a kind face. Pooka sat in a chair across from Wiryu while the leader of WTF paced back and forth.

She looked up and chuckled lightly, "What is this? You're pacing, this is new."

"I am enraged! They call me a warmonger! She challenged me, and then lies to her community for morale, hiding her weakness, hiding her fear!

“What makes you so sure she fears you?" asked the seer.

Wiryu stopped pacing and sat down using his forearm as a support column for his head balanced on his knee. "She lies to them about the outcome of that battle. She tells them she won, where if that were true I'd be dead!"

Pooka simply smiled and stared at the irate leader.

"Seer, this war she speaks of, what do I need to do to win?" asked Wiryu.

"You can have ten men or a thousand men, but the outcome will be the same."

"What are you trying to say?"

"Phyree is not overly confident in this war. She is scared. Scared for her self, and scared for her people. But you are also unconvinced of the outcome of this war too. But, you both have a choice: you can leave this land, but with that you will forfeit your right as a leader. She too has this choice."


"If this war is to commence, Phyree will be your greatest victory, b-" Pooka was interrupted.

"That's all I needed to know. Goodbye, Seer!" With that Wiryu quickly stormed out of the room and made his way to rally the troops with a renewed sense of battle. Pocketpooka lowered her head and her face turned to a frown. She spoke to herself in a low tone of voice. "She will be your greatest defeat as well."

That evening, Teh One True Phyree sat in her high-backed chair in front of a roaring fire. Autumn was certainly coming and a cold draft blew through the cathedral. Though her blue eyes reflected the warm red flames, she shivered a bit at her station. This chill was caused more by the gloom of recent events than something superfluous like cold weather. Behind her, a door opened and the fire sputtered for a moment before roaring back.

"Sister Deedlit, come in."

"You wished to see me?"

"I need to talk to you."

The tall elvaan woman carried herself well as she walked toward the table to have a seat. The general of the Knights of Teh sat graciously on her own conference chair and crossed her legs, leaning forward. High Priestess Phyree spun around and became silhouetted to her general, chin propped on two wrists.

"I've thought about what you said earlier. We are facing a monumental task ahead of us because of it. I can get thousands of names on the registry to fight the faceless Wiryu, but too many know and remember Yekan. This is a severe thorn in our paw."

"But Sister Phyree, have you not been training Yekan's replacement in the Temple?"

"Zephie is still young and not ready to speak to the people, let alone participate in a machine as complex as this. She is still far too venerable to the wiles of Wiryu, too. She looked up to Yekan, however this has her shaken."

"I know Zephie well, I feel this will only strengthen her resolve and empower her."

Phyree took a draw from a cup of red wine then sighed.

"Am I doing the right thing, Deedlit?"

The Tehan General steeled her eyes on the theocrat and lowered her long ears. "You listen to me, there is a threat to our lands and people. To our beliefs and ways of life. This isn't going to go away without force. We have tried other tactics and we are left with no options. Sister Phyree, I am here for a reason. I make problems like this go away. Trust me. You didn't appoint me the leader of the Knights of Teh for giggles."

The blonde looked down into her goblet, swirling the liquid out of contemplation or the vain hopes of some kind of vision.

"I must think more about this. Please see to tomorrow's registry and fill in my stead. Such an event is one that I need not attend."

"It shall be done."

"The hour is late, Deedlit. I shall send for you tomorrow night and will expect a report on the turnout. Please leave me to my meditations."

Deedlit stood up and saluted, turning on her heels and quit the chamber. On her way out, she saw a small but familiar figure approach. It was Fuzzle, Archmage of the Tehan Universitas Arcana. He had a similarly-sized tarutaru by his side.

"Fuzz," she said in passing.

"Deed," the archmage retorted.

Phyree raised her head from the cup as the door entered and her fire flickered once more. There was nobody in sight as she looked past the top of the long table. She heard footsteps approach and leaned over. It was her Archmage ally from Teh Academy.

"Fuzzle, interesting seeing you here. And I see you brought a guest as well."

"I wish to introduce you to someone, High Priestess."

She offered the tarutarus a seat, each climbed up onto the chairs provided.

"Teh One True Phyree, High Priestess of the Temple of Teh, ruler of all Tehan lands, this is Arcanis the Dire. I met him in my travels across the lands and found his skills quite adept, surprisingly so as he never attended any of my institution's classes. He's a natural."

The robed tarutaru grinned widely with fire in his eyes. "It's a pleasure-weasure."

"Tell me, Arcanis, from whence did you get your title of 'Dire'?"

Fuzzle chimed in, "I have tested him using the school's standards and practices. I felt it appropriate. His methods, while resulting in the same ends, are a little...drastic."

"I get the job doney-woney is what he means, High Priestess," Arcanis corrected the Tehan Archmage, "I wish to join your army-warmy. I listened to your speechy-weechy and it only resolved my intentions."

"I shall consider this as your application. Tomorrow you shall report to General Deedlit and show her your skills. Fuzzle, you will report to me in the meantime. Tomorrow holds a lot of answers to a lot of questions. We shall hold council tomorrow with Zephie by my side as well. May Altana bless us all in this time of trials."

Phyree was left once more to her fire and wine, warmed from within and without by both. Eventually she collapsed at the table and slept and disturbed sleep in her chair.

Will this 'Arcanis' be an asset or a liability? But in these times...could she refuse help, especially from a mage that rivaled the abilities of her own Archmage of the Tehan magical academy no matter his first impression on her? Troubling times indeed...

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post Jan 11 2006, 12:05 AM
Post #5

This is my custom member title.

Group: Paragon Caste
Posts: 1169
Joined: 11-February 04
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 121

This part goes back and forth a lot. I wrote a piece, she wrote a piece, i continued off of that, she continued off of mine. It went around a lot, heh.
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post Jan 21 2006, 03:49 AM
Post #6

Master of Blades and Rakes

Group: Arbiter Caste
Posts: 1465
Joined: 24-June 03
From: Minneapolis, MN
Member No.: 53

Part III

“I don’t like this.  Today just doesn’t feel right.”

“There is no day better than the others to battle, Sister Phyree.”

“These are my own people we are about to fight, General.” Phyree’s use of Deedlit’s rank instead of the more familial title indicated her mood. The white-haired elvaan shifted and scoweled.

“Since our recruitment, Priestess,” Deedlit returned the curt title with almost a whimper of a scorned dog wanting to please its angry master…or mistress in this case, “our ranks have swelled. With Arcanis’s academics backing us up, we can’t lose.”

“I know…” Phyree trailed off, “it’s just that-”

“Sister! It is my job to command your army. There is a force threatening us. We must defend ourselves. The fact that WTF is ‘of our own’ is meaningless. Enemy is enemy. It is my job to destroy the enemy.”

Teh Phyree’s eyes hazed over as she looked off to the distance. Her general’s words echoed emptily. Heavy thoughts and responsibilities weighed on her shoulders. Deedlit stopped talking when her words were no longer being heard. Angrily but quietly, she turned on heel and walked down the stone corridor in the cathedral to pore over her last-minute plans before the expedition was to head out.

Far to the east, Wiryu was scheming.

“What about if we send the bulk of our army directly up the front?” His voice was tired, he had been talking for the past eight hours.

“No! That’s what Deedlit will be prepared for, are you dense?!” Mastra hit the leader of WTF on the back of his head. “Look, I held her job for twelve long years. She was my understudy and very sharp. I tried to murder her, hence, instead of being in Phyree’s place, I am here in this hole of a castle at your side right now.”

Wiryu pinched the bridge of his brownish nose. His most competent military leader was more like a whining sore loser. This was the last thing he needed, especially knowing Mastra’s past. But, dire times called for dire measures. Phyree’s former Minister of Religion turned WTF sympathizer walked in the room, sternly suggesting the renegade general leave.

“I need to get my men ready to go anyway and stir up the goblin mushpot you call an army.” He waved a small hand dismissively and clomped out.

“I don’t trust him, Wiryu. I never have even when he was with us. Mastra is more ruthless than cunning, and he was quiet cunning…probably still is.” WTF Wiryu sat in Yekan’s lap with her arms around him affectionately.
“I don’t either, but I’m no good at this stuff. I only know hit and run. If we are to stand a chance, we need him.” Wiryu lay his head back into Yekan’s chest and closed his eyes, letting the reality of the situation melt off in the warmth his vizier’s embrace. As he closed his eyes, Yekan stroked his head. A tear came to her eye. As it traveled down her cheek, she could only reflect on the portents she had received and what little Wiryu told her about the Seer’s foretelling. She knew what had to be done. But, that time hadn’t come yet. Right now, she just held on close. This trial would test everyone…and sacrifices would have to be made.

Arcanis was attended by the master of the Tehan Academy of Magicks Arcana, Teh Fuzzle. Arcanis was a loner discovered in the journeys Fuzzle was apt to go on across Teh Island. He was “a natural”. Arcanis rather liked the attention he received, especially now branded as the “the Dire”. His life was no longer a scraping limp on the highway to success. Since being discovered (as Fuzzle put it) his life became cushy. All he had to do was perform when asked and he’d get his treat. No mess, no fuss.

Being in and getting his start in a band of brigands was not one’s optimum lifestyle. But, as long as he stole, raped, or killed who he was told to, there were no problems. It wasn’t until he escaped when his gang was pinched that things grew tough. He had to rely on himself. It made him stronger and more powerful, but he didn’t care. Some other peasantaru was picked up in his place. Arcanis got lucky, and that luck led him here.

“Will you be ready for today, Arcanis,” questioned Teh Fuzzle.

“Yeah, sure, no problem-woblem. Just tell me what you want done and I’ll do it.”

“That’s the spiritaru I like to hear! I have General Deedlit’s orders here, though I took the liberty of modifying some of the tactics for our own special needs.”

“Thinky-winky she’ll like that, Headmaster?” While a rogue user, Arcanis respected Fuzzle and also recognized him as the udder from which milk and honey will flow in life. Nobody, not even an army, would ever cut him off again. Fuzzle was quite safe with him, but it was everyone else that would be in danger – friend or foe. That was the problem. Could Arcanis the Dire see the difference? Could Fuzzle explain it, or even recognize that he was being used as a means to an end? There’d be an answer later that day, for sure.

Another rogue soldier lay in wait for the battle. Her name was Linkka. She sat in a makeshift barracks in WTF territory and waited for orders. Two short, red ponytails sprouted from the back of the elvaan’s head. If it wasn’t for the twin, vicious swords she was inspecting, Linkka would be the most unassuming, adorable-looking female elvaan any man or woman could ever hope to see. The metal glistened, freshly-polished and she reflected back a smile. Today for the first time in a long time, she would be getting close and personal to Wiryu. Her blades had to look their best for him.

Kettle drums beat out the marching advance. Teh Army was traveling eastward. According to Deedlit’s plan, if they did not meet Wiryu’s forces head on in the Naeo province, Teh Army was to sweep all the villages northward until they reached Teh Old Capital citadel of O’rly where they were sure to be able to find, kill, or capture the rabble-rouser Wiryu.

Bitter late fall winds whipped around Phyree and her white horse. She drew her robes close for warmth. On her flank was the new Minister of Religion, Zephie. She was a young and talented mithra who made up for her lack of experience with talent.

“Sister Phyree,” Zephie started, “what will you have me do this day? We have never formally talked about my role in this conflict.”

“You are to maintain the morale of the soldiers, Sister Zephie. It is your job as minister and your duty to Altana to bolster her believers in trying times such as these. I am relying on you to help keep the peace and console the grieving.”

“I understand, High Priestess. There was one more th-”

General Deedlit rode up from the rear at a gallop. “High Priestess! My scouts have reported seeing a large amount of WTF several miles ahead.” The tone was urgent.

“To get Deedlit this emotional, there must be something else going on,” Phyree thought to herself. She manifested words after a pause. Deedlit’s eyes looked more as if they were seeking approval and permission than stating fact and reacting. “It begins. Start the plan at your discretion Gen-er-Sister Deedlit.” The elvaan smiled at the hume before falling back and barking harsh orders to Teh Army.

“Do you hear thaty-watey, Headmaster? It sounds like we are about to battle-wattle.”

Teh Fuzzle nodded in agreement. While responsible for the lives of his students, he didn’t take this affair as grievously as Teh One True Phyree had. This was merely another test his students had to pass…or fail.

Deedlit reached the pair of powerful tarutaru and stated, “You are to follow the battle plan I gave you starting now. The enemy is about two miles from us encamped in the village of Hybra. Begin your flanking maneuvers now.” The white-haired elvaan spurred her chocobo and raced to the main formation.

“I don’t know about that general of Phyree’s,” mused Fuzzle.

“Want me to killy-willy her, Headmaster?”

Unusually detached, Headmaster Fuzzle shook his head. “No, we had best not waste your talent. There are bigger moat carp to roast.”

Wiryu received notice that his army had been spotted as planned. He was sitting in council with Yekan and Mastra. “It seems the time has come. Let’s get this over with.”

“I’ll spring the trap,” Mastra said, hopping down from his chair. Neither of the other two knew just how literal Phyree’s former general was being. A wry smile pursed the taru’s lips.

“Come, my Wiryu, we need to be ready. We’ll have to hold off Phyree’s forces long enough for Mastra to sweep their flank.

“Right,” responded the leader of WTF. He too hopped down and began to walk outside. He didn’t notice, but two red pigtails quickly turned around a corner of a small house across the street. It was Linkka. She sighed, seeing the charismatic and passionate leader again. It quickly turned into a grimace as Yekan followed him out.

“Ever since she got involved, my love has gotten distracted and soft. He began to lose his grand vision of freeing us from that thrice-damned Phyree. I’ve got to rekindle that passion of his. I must perform well today!”

Phyree sent ahead an esteemed member of the church ahead on a chocobo capable of carrying the galka’s weight. Shadowbuni bore a white flag with a green exclamation point on it signifying he was seeking a parlay. He was to deliver terms of surrender ahead of the battle to avoid fighting at all costs. When the galka came back with an arrow in his shoulder, Deedlit gave the command to attack even without asking for permission.

The majority of the army made a forward rush into the town supported by some of Fuzzles mages. They were smart and didn’t run right to the middle but instead began a circular siege, closing in like a noose. Fuzzle’s bulk of students were then supposed to be the arrow piercing the heart and siege unmercifully from within while the defenders were trying to hold off the fighters along the rim.

Mastra was ready for this. Sure, he had an obligation to help fight off Teh Phyree in the name of WTF, but he knew what Wiryu had in store as well. He smiled as the first waves of assault crashed against the makeshift walls, houses, and barricades around the hamlet. Commander Ishido was waiting with half of Mastra’s mercenary group in the town center, hiding and prepared for the mage rush. Mastra himself decided to command the outside forces for no other reason than to be the one to kill the Tehan leader by his own might and rage. Following would be Wiryu, then the entire land would be his.

Zephie and Phyree stayed behind the assault by a good distance. They were left with a small honor guard. Headmaster Fuzzle and Arcanis the Dire had taken off to partake in their own roles. Noises of fighting, the epic struggle of life and death, floated up the grassy hill almost as background noise. Wiryu and Yekan held a similar position behind the village. All four watched with stoic interest.

General Deedlit, Commander of the Knights of Teh, was vicious. She led the charge herself and in the first five minutes of combat killed no less than seven WTF soldiers. Her chest heaved, filling with air, bloodlust, and passion for serving her mistress. Another soldier died at her blade and she assisted one of her knights with a blast of arcane energy from her hand. Through it all, her white, pure hair never saw a single spot of red blood.

It had been nearly twenty minutes. It was time for the academics to move out. Deedlit’s plan had called for them to pierce the heart of the village from the same direction Teh Army had in order to break through the weakest point. Headmaster Fuzzle had modified the plan slightly to attack what he considered to be a more favorable angle. He was going to sneak by the rear and try to drive the defenders toward the main body in a pincher move.

“Are you ready, my prodigy?”

“And willing-illing, Headmastaru.”

“Let’s move.”

The student body of the Tehan Arcana Universitas began their march around the village.

Linkka had just dispatched her fifteenth Tehan as she looked up and outside the village. She saw movement along the outskirts between the trees. They were headed toward the back of the village. “Whoever planned that move is a dunce. What kind of general would send in a sneak attack with hardly any enforced orders to make cover for themselves!”

The redheaded elvaan’s tight stomach then sunk. She realized just who it was that they were after. It wasn’t an attack on the city at all! It must be an entire contingent sent to murder Wiryu! “I must tell him,” she panicked in her brain. Collecting ten other WTF soldiers she dashed for the rear command post.

“Dammit,” Deedlit was furious, “where are those mages?! They were supposed to have broken the line we made by now! Where could they be?” Slowly the noose was tightening, but it was costing more Tehans than WTFers to continue the battle. “Maybe it’s a trap? Did something happen outside of the village to the mages? Phyree might be in danger!” The thought of her sister-in-arms being in peril overwhelmed the general and she pulled back, retreating to the position of her…love.

Mastra with about fifty of his best men began to rush the forward section of the hamlet’s outskirts. He was out for blood. Deedlit and the three knights that accompanied her saw the dash from the east side of the city. They redoubled their pace to catch up and protect Phyree from the marauders.

Linkka reached Wiryu in time to warn him of the advancing force. Right as every head turned to see the direction the enemy was to come, a mass of stones pelted every WTFer in the area. The first students crested the hillock and ran wildly toward the entourage.

Yekan helped Wiryu to his feet and cured his wounds ignoring hers. “Are you alright?”

“Yes, but there is no time for that, we must fight.”

“This will be hard,” the former minister responded, “these are Fuzzle’s academics. I doubt my presence here will slow or delay them any as they aren’t loyal churchgoers.”

Linkka spat in disgust but kept her thoughts to herself. “More weakminded drivel! These puny magical rats can’t stand up to my swords and here that hume woman thinks we lost the battle!”

“Pray for us, Yekan.”

“Don’t pray, fight!” Wiryu turned to see who shouted a counter-command. His eyes were fixed on the vision of elvaan beauty in her hot-headed beauty. He instantly recognized Linkka. His heart lifted. He had a past a long time ago with this woman. He knew she was a capable fighter. His spirit became emboldened.


The mages had reached the camp at the battle cry and the fighting began. Linkka smiled. Perverse only because she killed as she admired her hero, her love. Mages crumpled before her twin blades. She saw Wiryu watch her deadly dance, his eyes fixed on her gleaming blades. Linkka’s heart fluttered happily, spurring on more death. Passing her were two regally-barded chocobo. She noticed that more mages were running past than staying to fight. The realization hit just as the firestorm Arcanis unleashed in passing did. “It wasn’t an assassination plot, this is a bunker buster.” Everything else past that was red.

Mastra’s vanguard reached Phyree’s honor guard. Deedlit hadn’t quite made it to the location yet. Swords crossed and spells were flung. Phyree had sent Zephie ahead toward the battle to exacep danger and rally the troops in the oncoming general’s stead.

“I will kill you, Phyree! I will take extreme pleasure in crushing your body, your spirit, and your precious herd of cattle you call followers!” Mastra was furious, and for a little taru, was holding his own well against two of her honor guard. Deedlit arrived with her knights not but a moment later and stood at her Priestess’s side.

There wasn’t a combatant there who didn’t know how to swing a sword. Sparks flew from metal-on-metal contact. Phyree crushed a mercenary under her blessed hammer as Mastra disemboweled one of Deedlit’s Knights of Teh. Deedlit shouted for her loved and respected leader to quit the scene and flee so that she could live on. Arcane energies flew from the elvaan woman’s fingers. Five brigands collapsed under the magical onslaught. By this time Mastra had waded bloodily through the skirmish and reached his replacement in Teh Army.

“Back to try and finish the job?” Deedlit spat.

“No tries about it, general,” Mastra spat venom when he uttered his opponent’s title.

Phyree knew better than to get involved in that one-on-one. Mastra had almost as much ire toward Deedlit than for his true target, and he wouldn’t give up until she was still and cooling at his feet. Neither would she. Both were vicious attack dogs let loose on the other.

“Arcanis, blow through that barricade!”

“Yes, Headmastaru!” With that an isolated tornado literally did just that. Splinters from the shredded wood injured soldiers on both sides, but there was no time to lament. Arcanis did what he was told the best way he knew how. A column of mages walked almost untouched up the main street. They reached the center of town. It was just as barren as Deedlit had predicted.

“Alrightaru!” Exclaimed Fuzzle, letting some of his racial dialect show through in the excitement, “My students, you have your orders! Let us be the ones to bring this civil war to an end!” At that a shiruken sank into the headmaster’s breastbone. From all around the accumulated students, the other half of Mastra’s forces emerged, surrounding them. Commander Ishido, laughed.

“Give it up, spell-flingers. If you surrender now, we will kill you quick and without pain. Resist and you will die slowly like your poisoned leader over there.” The hume ninja pointed at the balled tarutaru. Arcanis the Dire looked up from his ailing set of coattails and frowned.

“Shamey-waney on you. You shouldn’taru have done that!” Ishido only sneered at the warning. That look on his face, or his face altogether, wouldn’t last much longer…

In the fading light, a veritable fireworks display was going off in the center of town. Everone on the outskirts both Tehan and WTFer looked. The mages had unleashed their fury inside. Mercenaries and students died alike from both blade and boom. Deedlit smiled, reinforced that her plan had worked. Mastra did the same. As if time suddenly started again, their blades crossed once more.

Zephie had made her way with a small escort to where the magical battle was raging. She saw Arcanis the Dire holding off ten of Mastra’s men with only a pointed finger. By his feet she saw Headmaster Fuzzle writhing on the ground. Her guards covered her foray to the eye of the storm. She broke through the intimidated men leaving her own behind to fight and be attacked by Arcanis. Zephie bent down and treated Teh Fuzzle using her high-potency curative magic.

“Th-thank you, Minister,” Fuzzle winced and rasped, “I would have died without your aid.”

“Shh, rest now, Brother Fuzzle, I’ll protect you. Arcanis,” she switched targets, “can you hold them off until Deedlit and the knights close in to us?”

“I surely-wurley think so, my lovely Zephie.” Arcanis turned on the charm. Even in the middle of a life and death fight he had a wild charisma. He owed her for preserving his mealticket, plus, for a mithra, she looked attractive. A wild tarutaru and a domesticated mithra. It seemed like a match made in sky.

Linkka shook her head as she came to. Just as her vision cleared, the center of town exploded with energy. The severity of the situation caught up with her and she snapped to attention. “Wiryu!” As she panned the area, she saw that Yekan was already tending to him. Jealous rage filled the elvaan woman’s eyes. She made her way to where Yekan cradled the leader of WTF.

“Is he conscious yet?”

“No, but he is alive, thank Altana.”

“How about you do that for me…in person.”

Yekan began to look up to the fierce warrior woman quizzicly before her eyes grew large. Her torso was now skewered between two gleaming swords. Blood trickled from the side of her mouth. With a gasp, the blonde hume whispered, “I only wanted…to…save…”

Yekan collapsed. Linkka picked up Wiryu’s body and carried him toward the city, disregarding all the other soldiers. Wiryu’s eyes fluttered open and he asked what happened. The warrior told her love that they were ambushed by mages and there was an explosion. Yekan and the others had died but Wiryu was saved by the one now turning him around to see how far the spell casters had penetrated the city. With no time to grieve for the loss of his vizier, Wiryu asked to be let down so he could join the fight.

Entering the city, they saw Ishido’s water-logged corpse along the street. “He must have been blown back from the center by one of the mages. We must be careful, Linkka.”

She acknowledged, smiling. It felt good to work with Wiryu again, to be under his command. Only he could ever made her claws retract and turn from a roaring tigress into a mewling kitten, to use mithran metaphors. In the middle of town the brigands were in tatters, looking only marginally better than the mages. With the addition of Linkka and Wiryu, the tables had turned in WTF’s favor.

Blood poured from gashes left by the three blades of the two newcomers. Zephie saw the menace and ordered a retreat to the front of the town. She picked up the weakened headmaster and began to trot as fast as she could. Other mages joined her and Arcanis brought up the rear. Zephie tripped over a body and Fuzzle landed on the ground.

“Go without me,” coughed Teh Fuzzle. I should have died back there, I realize that. I will buy you time. Save yourselves.”

Zephie’s face was worried but a stern hand took her paw. Arcanis led her out of the city. As they ran, magical embers floated around the headmaster. He was preparing his biggest spell. He was summoning a thunderstorm of epic proportions, one that would engulf nearly the entire village in bolts of crackling electricity. Before he could finish, Linkka put a sword through his throat. Wiryu killed a stray mage he found hiding. They nodded to each other and continued the push.

After several minutes had passed, Yekan’s body glowed brightly. Unseen forces picked her up and put her on her feet again, whole, but severely weakened. “I have to stop them, I have to get to Phyree. It was never supposed to go this far…” Wracked with coughs, she staggered forward on the path of destruction paved before her.

Deedlit had just killed a mercenary trying to attack her, which Mastra would have done if she didn’t. Nobody was to interfere with their fight. Phyree had been defending herself as best she could and took Deedlit’s command to make a break for it. She started after Zephie, trying to reach the edge of Hybra village.

Mastra swung his sword and left a gash on the battle-mage’s hip. Elvaan lips hissed but she pressed on. She couldn’t waste a single spell on curing. Instead she absorbed some of her tiny attacker’s already disadvantaged strength and began to beat him back. Mastra landed another blow, but the commander of the Knights of Teh’s armor stopped it.

“Two in a row, I’m getting tired.” She could already feel the strength she stole fade away. As the teachings of a dark knight encompassed a minority of her training, it’s spells were useful but only for short, specific stretches. She parried another strike and stopped another with her buckler.

“Will you just die, elvaan-whore?!” Mastra was furios and unrelenting. Somehow Deedlit needed a way to get her blade in edgewise. Being on the defensive at least allowed her to study Mastra’s style. All she needed was a second and she could impale him through the chest, his most open area despite first thoughts otherwise. She smiled. The white-haired woman grinned from pointed ear to pointed ear.

“Accepting your fate, wench?!”

“No, sealing yours.” It only took a second but with a shouted word, Mastra was stunned. In that split second his body was shaken, General Deedlit finished him off with her vorpal blade. Only a wheeze now came from Mastra’s lips and he collapsed back after being kicked off the end of the winner’s sword. Any other brigands there ran off. Deedlit could only catch her breath for a moment before she started to try and catch up with Phyree.

At the edge of town, through the smoke, Teh One True Phyree made out moving figures in the smoke. Her grip tightened on her blessed hammer. She saw Arcanis and Zephie emerge, running the hundred feet of clear air between them and their leader.

“Sister Phyree!”

“Zephie! I’m glad to see you!”

“No time to talk. Fuzzle’s dead. Ambush,” she was out of breath, “Wiryu and some other elvaan woman are right behind us.”

Phyree did a mental doubletake. Elvaan? What about Yekan? She shook the cobwebs of delay and told them to leave. Deedlit was most assuredly hurt or worse behind her and Zephie needed to tend to her. Besides, Arcanis was almost spent. He looked pale, even his brown tarutaru nose. The pair ran off. Phyree shifted her attention ahead. From the smoke now stook a new couple stood. Wiryu, unmistakable. There was also some kind of escort with him, most definitely not Yekan.

Once more time stood still. The three had a staredown.

“This is it,” all three thought simultaneously, but for very different reasons.

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post Jan 21 2006, 03:50 AM
Post #7

Master of Blades and Rakes

Group: Arbiter Caste
Posts: 1465
Joined: 24-June 03
From: Minneapolis, MN
Member No.: 53

Part IV

"Sister Deedlit!" Zephie exclaimed as she saw the battered elvaan make her way toward the village.

"Zephie, is Phyree alright?"

"She told us to go ahead. Wiryu and some other elvaan woman were on our heels."

"Elvaan woman? What about Yekan?"

Arcanis spoke up, "If Wiryu and that elvaan-welvaan survived my firaga, Yekan probably-wobably did, too."

Deedlit furrowed her brow in thought and a bit of pain as Zephie used her magic to knit the general's wounds. "You two, get out of here. Arcanis, protect Zephie with your life. If something should happen to Phyree, she is next in line to assume the cloth and pulpit."

The opportunist's eyes lit up and his mind whirred at his luck in life. "You have honor-wonor, General Deedlit."

Deedlit nodded and took Zephie by the shoulders, "You must do this. You must return to Teh City and await word of things here in Hybra." Her plea was met with a nod and assurance that she would be warped back home by Arcanis.

Steeling her gaze to the burning village, General Deedlit had to hurry. A possible three versus one situation did not bode well for Teh One True Phyree, as battle competent as she was. In a burst of energy, strong, lithe legs pushed the elvaan warrior forward.

"We meet again, Wiryu," Phyree was somber.

"Indeed." Linkka shifted uncomfortably at the dialogue. All WTF Wiryu had to do was blink the right way and her full fury and jealousy would be unleashed.

"Where is my former minister, Yekan?"

"Dead! Your little taru mage killed her outright!" Linkka's anger was boiling over, the winded shifted and smoke blew past her making her appear as if she was literally steaming.

"What Linkka here says is true. She's dead, Phyree. You will be soon as well and we can finally end this unjust rule." Wiryu's stomach knotted as he said it, but his escort's hand on his shoulder seemed to empower him.

With hammer and shield at the ready, High Priestess Phyree tightened her body and prepared to take on two opponents. She wasn't without some advantagious tricks, though. She knew how to fight Wiryu, but Linkka was the x-factor. The spells she had hoped to use to bring down the leader of WTF would have to be wasted delaying his attack dog.

In a literal flash, Phyree shouted with divine fury. Linkka nearly dropped her swords as she clutched her eyes, blind. Wiryu couldn't react fast enough and his elvaan was encompassed in searing, holy light. She screamed. The next second, the tarutaru's armor seemed to be electrifying his flesh. It wasn't disabling, but painful white lines resembling cracks in his armor shifted across his body. Out of fast spells, Teh One True Phyree charge WTF Wiryu.

A hammer was brought down with vengeful reckoning. A parry with his great katana was Wiryu's only hope. Being smaller and weaker, he was at a disadvantage. He staggerd back, trying to deflect the flurry of blows.

"You hume slut!" Linkka was nearly frothing at the mouth in seething rage and defensive love. The elvaan's vision had cleared, and she tossed aside a small, empty vial of healing potion. Wiryu caugt the break in pace he needed as Phyree turned to confront the larger threat, quite literally.

"Sister Phyree!" It was Deedlit running toward the fight. She extended a hand in front of her and a gust of wind blew from her fingertips. Wiryu was blown back before he could get in an opportunistic strike.

Linkka sneered in a twisted smile. "So, you have your own elvaan bitch to sic on your enemies like Wiryu does. Let's see which dog has sharper teeth." Deedlit was ready with her sword and buckler and stood firm to the charging woman. The white and red haired elvaan fought furiously. It was almost a deadly and beautiful dance with each other.

Yekan came within sight of the battle. The former Minister of Religion for the Tehan people saw Wiryu stitting up from the ground shaking his head and that he was suffering from the effects of dia. The blonde hume stopped short and cast erase. Wiryu looked as his body was cured of his ailment and his pain eased. It was all Yekan could muster in her condition and she nearly collapsed.

The tarutaru looked behind him and saw his vizier alive! "Yekan! I thought you were killed by Arcanis!"

"Linkka attempted to murder me, she ran me through with her swords." Yekan coughed, blood flecking her hand over her mouth.

Before he could get up, Phyree shouted behind him. Distracted, he never heard her run up. The squirrely taru rolled to the side and a hammer slammed where his head had been. His katana arced up but was deflected by the priestess's shield.

"Sister Phyree!" Yekan managed to shout.

Phyree looked up in shock, a fatal move. Wiryu's great katana emerged from the back of her gut. Yekan shouted in horror, Phyree stared out as she had before the battle with hazed eyes, and Wiryu simply lay on his back in shock that he had finally seemed to achieve his goal.

The moment dropped when Linkka screamed. Deedlit had given her a vicious gash, enough to make her drop a sword. Wiryu was torn now between the elvaan and the hume who both needed him at the same time. Phyree's whispers stopped. Though impaled, she had been chanting the mantra to summon her most powerful banishing spell.

Yekan hobbled forward. "No Phyree, please don't cas-" It was too late. The third tier of banishment was released at point blank. Wiryu's body was consumed in light and searing heat. He screamed loudly. Yekan's eyes watered from the misery of the sight in front of her. She hand't meant for it to be this way. She had joined forces with Wiryu to maintain peace, to prevent the attrition that took place this day. She wanted to council him slowly away from war and more toward peace talks and negotiations.

In the end, this is what it always came to. Societies and ideals are built up so high, so arbitrarily, that they are bound to collapse. The survivors then try to rebuild again in and endless cycle. Yekan, defeated, succumbed to her last resort. She reached inside her hip pack and pulled out a goblin bomb she aquired along her diplomatic journeys. "It has to come to this."

Linkka beat back Deedlit. Both elvaan women were sweating and panting. Both were fueled on by their extreme lust for blood and undying love for their leaders. It hurt to do, but the redhead parried a thrust and punched the white-haired general square on the cheekbone with her injured arm. Deedlit was staggered and bleeding from a cut that was opened.

A burst of light came from behind and both women heard Wiryu scream. Simultaneously, they looked to see what had just happened. They screamed. Linkka for seeing Wiryu writhe, burning on the ground; Deedlit for seeing Phyree run through. Linkka wheeled around and laid the Tehan general flat out before running further down the street to catch up to the scene.

Sharp warrior eyes caught Yekan, teary-eyed, running toward them as well. In her arms seemed to be a small Kazham pineapple or... "A goblin bomb?!"

Wiryu, Yekan, and Phyree were all nearly dead from injuries and exhaustion. Yekan shouted to them and herself "I'm sorry, but this must all end!" Four eyes managed to look up and two hands reached out, shaking. Grasping for angelic mercy, or perhaps attempting to ward off demonic sentencing. In a white-hot fireflash, all three were consumed.

Linkka was lowed to the street. She hissed in pain as she fell on her lacerated arm. Deedlit cried at the beautiful light which had taken her Phyree from this world. Though watery eyes, she saw her rival elvaan stand up and begin to stagger away. In a moment of softness, Deedlit felt for Linkka who must be feeling the same way she did. Then two battle-weary eyes looked up at the grey, late fall sky.

"It's going to rain soon," thought Deedlit as she lay spent and exhausted in the grass.

"It's going to rain soon," Zephie idly commented to Arcanis, "I wonder how Phyree and Deedlit are doing."

Arcanis the Dire was laying on a pile of soft pillows in the meditation room behind the balcony Phyree used to give her public addresses on but was now occupied by a mithra. "I can'taru say-way for sure, priestess."

"No...I suppose not."

"Justaru in case things go baddy-waddy," Arcanis lacked tact, "what will we do?"

"I will have to assume the mantle of High Preistess of Teh. With Fuzzle dead and most of the students the same, I would hope you would take over the university and help us rebuild." Her voice was shaky, her confidence and experience low.

Arcanis smiled. A whole magic academy at his disposal not to mention the gratitude and, if he worked things right, affection of the high theocrat of the land. The taru had come a long way from being a ruthless, lowly brigand. He was enjoying himself very much, a perverse turnaround from the rest of Teh Island.

Zephie turned around and walked inside. "I just want this all to end..."

"I will end this," Linkka fumed, "I will kill every last loyal Tehan if it is the last thing I do! I will have my revenge. I will rule this land with an iron fist! Teh Island will be the most feared nation in Vana'diel!" She closed her fist, wincing from the cut on her arm.

"With Wiryu gone," she continued, "WTF is gone with him. I will have to begin again, to rebuild from the ashes. I will need a legion of warriors to wage a neverending onslaught against the weakened Tehan forces...Linkka's Onslaught Legion...LOL." A cruel smile formed on her lips. "LOL".

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