The Sorceress War Part I, Chapter XII
Flicka/Shootinstar: Oh yeah, it's just sooo much fun to write link chapters.
NOT. To get my feeling on it, take the feeling you get when you write
link chapters and then add the feeling that you aren't even 1/3 of the way done
with the book you're writing, AND have four more books to write after it.
Eh, oh well. I go watch TV for an hour, then I feel better (but of
course, then I forget to go back and finish the chapter, and have to do it
again tomorrow, which starts the cycle all over again).
"I'm sweet and caring? Oh yeah, and Elvis is alive
and 'Carrie' actually happened." -- Raine Leonhart
Helios Shoreline, 16:00 hours
The Defiance and the Vigilance were beached
side by side at a small, secluded inlet on the snowy shores of the Trabian
continent after hours of travel on the ocean. After making sure that the
two boats had not been picked up by Helian radar or sonar, the captains of the
boats had found the inlet away from the border towns and Helios outposts.
They hit the shore and opened up the front exit for the teams, who eagerly left
their protective vessels and ran up the shore to stretch out their cramped
muscles. The boats dropped their anchors and the captains told both Jesse
and Raine that they would await their return once the mission was
As soon as the two
teams hiked up passed the beaches on which they landed, the two commanders
faced each other. They both knew very well that the two teams
couldn't work very well together, and knew that the two of them would have to
come up with an idea that would keep the soldiers- and themselves- at peace
Jesse," Raine began to say, avoiding his gaze and looking down at the
other soldiers that were away from them, "You and I need to think of
something to make sure that this mission gets completed without our teams
beating the crap out of one another."
He nodded and crossed
his arms, slightly messing up his favorite brown trenchcoat. He took out
a map of the surrounding area. "Yeah. Well, here's an
idea: Wolf Pack hikes up to this town, Orleans, and Excalibur goes up to
Madain? There we can get into Helios City and since we have comm. links,
we can inform the other when the mission is done, then meet back at the Orleans
when we're done?"
good." Raine agreed, "We won't have to argue and we can cover
twice as much ground separate."
He nodded and went to inform
his unit, who were looking at him expectantly. Raine turned and went down
to her own unit, who were organizing all of their equipment and items to make
the journey easier. Feeling relieved that the two Special Ops. units
didn't have to stick together the whole way, which would be extremely good news
for the rest of the Pack as well.
"All right Wolves,
listen up!" Raine ordered. All eyes turned to her as they
stopped what they were doing. "Here is the plan. The
Excaliburs and the Pack are going to split up. The Excaliburs are heading
to a town East of here while we're heading to Orleans, a town to the Northeast
about a mile away. We'll meet back in Orleans after the mission is
"All right!!" Corin
burst out, happily thrusting his fist into the air, "Thank the gods we
don't have stick with them, I'm a happy guy now!"
Jesse looked over from his
group with a snarl on his face, "Watch it Dincht. I have a higher
rank than you, would you like to spend the whole day once we get back to base
locked in the brig? Don't worry, Heartilly will most likely keep you
company. She's the jailbird remember?"
interrupted, a slightly angered look on her face, "that may be true, but
you don't have to say it so mean!" She stuck her tongue out at him
and turned back to Raine with a flip of her hair.
Raine shook her head,
"Whatever. Look, just get your equipment together so we can move
out. The sooner we get to Helios City the sooner we can kill Virados and
They agreed with mumbling and
soft whispers. They returned to their equipment, making sure once again
that everything that they had brought was operational and ready to use at a
moments notice. Jesse's group was already together and ready to move
out. Raine overheard him yelling out commands to them, and one-by-one
they all left the area where the teams had gathered together, heading off for
Madain to the North. With any luck, they would find a way to sneak into
the capitol and get into Virados' residence to see if he was there. Wolf
Pack now had to go to Orleans, which Raine decided to herself was probably
going to be fairly easy. Trabia was so cold that there weren't that many
monsters around aside from the cold-climate beasts which could be handled
Raine looked up to the
sky. It was only four in the afternoon, but since they were in the
Northern part of Terra, the days were much shorter. The sun was already
setting over the snow-capped Trabian mountains, giving the fresh snow an orange
and pink tint. Raine smirked to herself as she took in the scenery around
her, Kodak moment. What the army promised them was true,
they did have the chance to see places most Galbadians could never afford or
even dream of going to one day.
Celeste looked around,
since her equipment was as usual in it's prime condition. She walked over
to Andraia, who was checking to make sure that she had enough clips for her two
pistols. Celeste bent down to the kneeling brunette below her and scuffed
up her neatly combed hair. With a squeal of protest, Andraia looked up to
the smiling blonde.
"Hey, what's the big
idea?!" Andraia whined, using her hands to put her hair back in its
"Nothing, I just couldn't resist." The blonde knelt down to Andraia's
level and asked with a impish smile, "Say, what was going on between you
and that Tilmitt guy when the teams got off the ships? You were all
buddy-buddy with him. Something I should know about?"
Andraia blushed as she asked
this. She waved her hands frantically, "No, no, no! It's not
what you think! We grew up together in Deling City, we're just old
friends and I was glad to see him! Aaron was stationed with another team
at a different base for a long time, and I never got to see him. He's new
to the Excalibur unit, you know?"
"Uh huh, I'm sure that's
all it is!" Celeste teased the other woman. Andraia crossed
her arms and playfully frowned at the whip user.
"Well, at least all you
did to me was mess up my hair," Andraia amended, "Julia usually
gives me a noogie when I don't tell her something!"
As if on cue, Julia reached
over from her own equipment and put Andraia in a half Nelson choke hold.
Celeste started to laugh as Julia used her free hand to grind her knuckles into
Andraia's skull, causing the younger girl to wail out in pain and protest.
Julia smirked and called out, "Aww, you know you love it when I do
this, 'Draia! Stop acting like you don't!"
"What the heck are you
guys up to now?" Raine asked, approaching from behind Celeste,
"Julia... didn't I yell at you last time you gave someone a noogie?
That should be a clue to you to stop it!"
"Oh, you only yelled at
me because I gave the noogie to you, dummy!" Julia replied,
letting Andraia go with a slight push. "That should have taught you
that you should always, always give me access to your Nintendo!"
"Now stop it,
seriously," Raine said, authority in her voice, "We've got a mission
to complete! You silly people can wait until we have some free time
to beat the crap out of each other. If we ever get free time, I'll be
sure to join you."
Julia smirked with her final
phrase. Raine then addressed the whole Pack, "Okay guys, let's
move out! Let's see if we can't get to Orleans by sundown! Get your stuff
together ASAP and get ready!"
The group slung their heavy
backpacks over their shoulders and drew out their weapons for ready use in case
of a monster attack. Raine checked behind her to make sure that they were
all ready to go. She saw them nod or give a thumbs up sign to let her
know that they were all set to move out. She motioned for them to follow
her, and she began to hike up the first of probably many snowy hills to
(Excuse the Narshe similarities between
itself and Orleans, it was not intended. Also, there are some WWII
references here, such as the camps Galbadians are being sent to like the Nazis
did to the Jews.)
Orleans wasn't exactly
a large town. In fact, it was probably the size of Winhill, or even
smaller. At first glance, it appeared to be nothing more than a coal
mining town, with a large cavern leading to the coal mine itself and a few
scattered buildings outside of it to house the miners and a few remote shops to
create some kind of commercial business in the town. It was only about
two miles from the Wolf Pack landing site at the shore, but seemed to have
little connection with the sea at all. It was nightfall when the Pack
entered the isolated town, yet they could still hear the clanging noises from
inside the mining shafts.
The town was built in
the foothills of the coastal Trabian mountain range, so the town was at an
upward slope towards the coal mines. A train track was built leading from
a station near the mine and went through the town, curving off to the southeast
towards Helios City. With the amount of machinery that Helios was rumored
to use, an abundance of steel and coal was probably needed to keep things
operational within the capitol.
As Wolf Pack entered
the town, they were faced with the odd looks that the Orleans natives were
giving them. With a city so remote, they had never expected to have
visitors that often, especially ones that looked like travel-weary
Galbadians. They didn't know that they were soon to go to war with these
people, being away from the main source of news and information on the
A young boy, probably
no more than seven years old, looked up with awe from his game of Triple Triad
with what appeared to be his sister. "Oh, wow! Strangers!
Look, they're Galbadian, cool!"
Raine raised an eyebrow
as she heard this. He acts like he never saw a Galbadian
before. That's strange, even Galbadians sometimes immigrate to
Trabia. Surely the population can't just be Estharian and Trabian.
Raine and the Pack continued to walk through the town, taking in the
sites. They continued to be gawked at by the local people, some even
giving them a frightened look.
Raine turned around to
her soldiers, "Okay, it's not late at night yet, so we don't need to find
a hotel here. That train track looks like it heads to Helios City, maybe
we can get aboard that and travel to the capitol. We can rest there, and
go to Virados the next day."
Epsilon shook his head,
"No, let's just skip rest and go straight for Virados. He'll
probably be at the base anyway. We should get into there at about
midnight, right? No problem!"
Raine nodded in
agreement, but Corin and Andraia groaned. The decided to comply anyway,
despite the fatigue they felt. Lancer shook his head for a moment,
"Raine, the Helios base isn't like Esthar's palace. It's much
smaller, I've researched it before. It's going to be awfully hard
sneaking ten people safely into that base, kill Virados, and get back out
right." She agreed, "Epsilon, Celeste, you and I will go into the
base. Everyone else will wait at the hotel and come bail us out if there
is any trouble. Epsilon and I will sneak into the upper levels, while you
and Celeste take the lower levels. Celeste, I trust that you can be able
to hack into the security system if need be, right?"
Celeste nodded happily,
"Of course. The Helian technology might be a slight challenge for
Galbadian hacking equipment, but don't worry, I can handle it with ease!"
Raine turned to Lilliana
and Edea and handed them a part of the group's gil stash.
"Here. You two go take this money and stock up on items, we're
running a bit low since Esthar. Be sure to grab some remedies and phoenix
downs. The rest of us are going to the train station to see about a ride,
meet us there."
The two women nodded
and turned to go to the item store. Raine and the others began to hike up
the stone path that must have acted as a makeshift road. There didn't
appear to be any cars in the town, aside from a snowmobile that rested against
an outcropping of rocks behind the hotel. The only way out of the town
aside from that was either to walk, or apparently take the train. As the
group of soldiers approached the train station, a woman in her mid-seventies stopped
Galbadian." She declared, her face wrinkling up in confusion.
"How is it possible that you are still in this country?"
Raine looked at her
with a neutral expression, "Yes we are. What do you mean,
though? Weren't there Galbadians here before? There must have been,
records show that at least fifty or one hundred Galbadians visit Helios a
year. Some even stay to live."
She nodded sadly,
"Yes, there were in fact, several Galbadian coal miners who lived here a
few weeks ago. However, the Helios government has just signed a document
that forces all Galbadians to go to POW camps. If they refuse to go, they
are killed on the spot, as a few of our residents did. That is why it
amazes me that you dare to come here."
Their eyes widened as
they heard this startling information. Raine spoke again,
"Taken to POW camps? What for? Who did this?!"
ambassador Virados Nomair enforced this plan." The woman
replied, "He sends teams out every week to make sure that there are
not any Galbadians in the towns. If they find any, they are sent to the
camps. Some are worked to death there, and many Galbadians have died in
these camps. We don't know why they're sent really. It might be
that there is a conflict between Helios and Galbadia that we here in Orleans
don't know about yet."
Raine nodded slowly and
thanked the woman for the information. The Pack continued to walk up
towards the train with sullen expressions. Their own Galbadian brothers
and sisters (as the Deling populace often referred to themselves as) were being
taken from their homes and thrown in camps to work for Helios? And people
were dieing because of the difficulty of this work? Virados himself had
enforced this act! Raine, who had felt immense anger at Virados for
killing her hometown, now felt something that couldn't be defined as rage or
livid anger, it was much more passionate than that. Now she was more than
willing to kill with a vengeance, to end the suffering of the souls that he killed
and the pain of those he tortured that were still unfortunate enough to be
alive under his dictation. Now she hoped that the other Wolves were
beginning to see how much she hated him, now that he was killing
wrong!" Andraia wailed, "We've never done anything to Helios, why are
they throwing our brothers and sisters into concentration camps?!"
Raine huffed as they
continued to walk towards the train station. She replied,
"This just goes to show that Virados is a sadistic bastard who cares about
nothing more than pain and suffering. I say we get to Helios and kill him
in the most gruesome way possible."
Julia shook her
head, "Now Raine, we're mad too -- though obviously not as much as
you. But remember that little talk Edea and I had with you before we left
Deling City! Don't do anything stupid!"
Raine nodded without a
word and waved her hand in dismissal. Edea and Lilliana ran up behind
them, a bag full of potions and phoenix down and whatnot. As soon as they
caught up with the group, Edea asked, "Hey, I figured we'd have train
tickets by now! What is wrong?"
Celeste informed the
other women of what they had just heard. Edea and Lilliana looked at them
in shock. Lilliana replied to the news, "You've got to be kidding
me! That's so... evil!"
Raine walked up to the
train official at the station, not bothering to reply to Lilliana's
reaction. "Hello. How much money does it take to get on this
train. It heads to Helios City, correct?"
The train official
nodded, "Yes it heads to Helios. But, this is just a cargo
train. We have little room for passengers, and if Helios soldiers
spot you Galbadians, then you'll be sent to the camps! You've got to be
crazy to go to Helios!"
Julia smiled and
pointed to herself with a smirk, "Yep, crazy. That's the word most
often used to describe me! Uh, I don't favor the idea of riding in coal,
isn't there some... non messy cargo we could ride to Helios
he nodded, "We're carrying out a shipment of wood from the timber mill
nearby. I suppose you could ride on the boards inside that car. I'm
not going to charge you for the transportation, but I do want to warn you
again. Many Galbadian lives have been lost to the Helios military.
Do not add your names to the casualty list. Do not let any Helios
soldiers see you."
"Thank you, sir. We'll be sure to keep out of the sight of Helian
soldiers. Thank you for the advice."
He pointed out which
train car held the shipment of timber for them to ride to Helios in. He
told them that the train was ready to embark on its journey to the capitol, and
would begin to move as soon as the team got into the car. Raine led her
team in, opening the double doors that led inside. Finding a flat surface
that wasn't too high, the team members climbed up onto the beams of wood and
sat down, preparing for the train to move. A loud whistle from the engine
and a clank from underneath signaled that they were moving out. The
train began to speed up as it traveled down the slope of the town, and soon
they were on their way to Helios.
Andraia crossed her
legs and placed her chin against her fist. "That sucks. The
whole town will be looking for us! Even Adel didn't send Galbadians
living in Esthar into POW camps!"
amended, "It does seem a bit strange that Helios, who isn't even fully at
war with us yet, would imprison Galbadians while Esthar, who has been at war
with us for two years, doesn't do anything of the sort to their
Galbadians. I find that odd."
quietly. Lancer added on, "You guys are right. Adel is famous
for her cruelty, but she never did anything as sadistic as this. I don't
think a stunt like this was pulled since the War of 3145."
"Once again by
Helios." Celeste declared, "They were at war with a second country in
Trabia, Feyrband, and imprisoned most of its people in camps. They
totally demolished the country, leaving Helios the only governing body left in
"Helios does have
a dangerous reputation." Epsilon said, "I remember from my
ancient studies class back in high school that they used to leave their
criminals rotting in the town plazas after they were thrust onto large spikes
in the ground."
Andraia wailed, "That's so disgusting! Why would people do a
thing like that?!"
"Some countries thought capitol punishment was the best way to get people
to stop their thieving habits. It's the old eye-for-an-eye treatment,
except worse. Back then if they stole something they got that spike
treatment... a slow and painful death."
That's all it is." Lilliana interjected, "It comes down to the
people in charge. Helios has long been ruled by sadist people.
Luckily for a time, up until now, they had good leaders and wouldn't have
dreamt of doing such things. Virados has rekindled the flames of Helios'
habit of bloodlust."
Not another word was
spoken after that. Lilliana had said what was the truth, and they decided
to no press the subject any further. Raine knew for a fact
that in the War of 3145 between Helios and Feyrband that Helios had been ruled
by an sadistic and cruel leader. If she could remember correctly, his
name was Frederick Kefka, and was known for reinstating that 'spike punishment'
that the other Wolves had mentioned. Textbooks said that he was murdered
by the Helios senate after the destruction of Feyrband, and then the government
was turned over to a more compassionate leader.
looked through the window in the train car that they were sitting in. She
marveled at the icy scenery as they flew by it. Deling of course had snow
during the winter, but it was nothing like the climate of Trabia. She
used the image of snow to clear the morbid images that the others had made her
think of. This was why she really joined the army. Not to get away
from her abusive parents, or not to just get the chance to kill Virados (those
were just added bonuses). Her real reason was to help end the suffering
that places like Helios induced to their people. She just hoped she could
make some bit of difference when she got to the capitol with her team.
AN: (singing) Everyday I
write linking chapters, write them alll day long! Every day a linking
chaapter, while I sing this song! (normal) Okay, yes that was
another linking chapter. Do not fret my fans, there should be action
again... someday.... (sighs) Never mind the 30+ chapters I thought
of. This is probably going to be spiraling into the 40-50 chapter range
if I keep up this pace.