The Boof Cometh The Boof Cometh
The One and Only Shadow
2 days had passed since the 3 companions had started their journey. The army of skeletons followed closely behind. They were marching in one continuous motion.
"So am I. Hey Raziel, can we stop somewhere for some rest? Crystal Peak is still hours away."
"Fine, so be it."
Raziel turned around and waved his right hand through the air. The skeletons stopped their march.
"We'll stay here for a couple hours."
"All right. I'm going to get some rest." Nico motioned toward Boof, "What about you?"
"Me sleep too."
"Then, it's settled. I'll stay awake, on guard. I'll wake you two up when two hours have past. Good night."
Nico and Boof set up their tents and took their rest.
"Wake up boy. It's time to go."
"Ughh...wait a second, would ya?"
Raziel was pissed. He had miscalculated the time. 4 hours had passed. They were behind schedule.
"One more thing, my name isn't "boy". I'd like it if you called me by my real name, 'Nico'."
"Fine. Let's get going. If we want to get there before Mog does, we must hurry. Wake up your moogle friend."
The army of sorts started to march again. Up ahead, Nico could see the silhouette of Crystal Peak against the sunrise.
"Is that it?"
"I believe so."
"Where's the tomb?"
"Underground? How are we supposed to get under the mountain?"
"I've heard stories of there being caves that lead underground."
"Caves? Ugh. I hate caves."
"I've also heard stories of hideous beasts that live there."
"And, even more bad news...I've heard magic is completely
non-existent in the caves due to the high magnetic frequencies."
"Well then, what are you going to do? You are useless!"
"Not exactly." A sheath suddenly appeared out from underneath Raziel's cloak. He drew a golden sword from it. It's hilt was studded in colored diamonds. "This, is my insurance policy. I created it while you were asleep by forging chrysm ore with almost all the magic power I had left. I call it...'Rembrandt'."
"Interesting...that's my father's name."
"It's all right."
"Bubby, Boof see something."
Nico looked up and saw what Boof was talking about. It was an
army of enormous size.
"Who the hell are they? That isn't Mog's army!"
"Who are they, then?"
"I don't know that."
"Great, just great."
"Let's try to get up on that hill, so that they can't see us approaching. We'll try to make out who they are from there."
The small, makeshift army of Raziel traveled up a nearby hill. They could see the army sitting at the foot of Crystal Peak.
"Now, let's see if we can figure out who they are." Raziel began to speak strange words, and a almost mirror like shape appeared in front of him. In the "mirror" were images of people.
"Hey, I know who that is! It's the great war hero, Bacca!"
"And, there's a black moogle! I've never seen one of those before."
"Nevermind...an old "acquaintance" of mines."
"Oh. Anyways, what are they doing here?"
"I think there here to thwart Mog."
"What's Mog trying to do?"
"I have no idea."
"What are we going to do?"
"That...is a question waiting to be answered."
"I think we should just wait here until they go in. Do you know if there are more caves than the one it looks like they're going into?"
"No, only one. But, I have a better idea."
"I know for a fact that they can't take that whole army into the caves. The gods just won't have it. The same goes for my skeletons. Only a chosen few are allowed to go in. I see them bringing in, what, only 6 or 7 people in the caves. The rest of their army will wait outside. I'll send my skeletons to the east of the army as a distraction."
"While we slip in the cave?"
"Cool, I'm with that."
"Good, you better be. The question still remains as to if you have been chosen by the Gods to be eligible to enter such holy ground. I mean, be real, has a one-armed boy really been chosen? If you have, may the Gods be damned."
"What?! How do you know if you've been chosen?
"Trust me boy. I have been chosen. This is the final battleground. We have all been brought here by fate. Others...by luck."
"So, your saying I don't belong here?"
"No, not really."
"Then, we'll see, won't we?"
"Yes...very soon...look, they're almost entering the cave now..."
Sky H Ainsworth
As the army of Lance Henriksens arrived at the mountains surrounding the Crystal Peak, Bacca surveyed the terrain.
A large tunnel was evident in the rock, a dark gaping whole amid the rest of the brown rock. The slope was very steep around the tunnel entrance.
"General Scotts," called Bacca.
"Sir!" replied an old man. He urged his chocobo forward to Bacca's side.
"Okay," said Bacca, not waiting to inquire about the general's status or the rest of the army. "That is the entrance. Since we are not sure who or what is in the cave or on the other side, I am not going to take the army through the tunnel. But I do want to investigate this place.
"Have two of the corps set up camp in front of the entrance and then set up building an earthen fort. The trees all about should provide enough wood for wooden stakes before the palisades. Also, use some wood to shore up the foundations of the walls and trench.
"Dig the trench ten feet deep and have the stakes extend out for fifty yards. The palisade I want to be at least ten feet high, higher if you can. Make the trench ten feet wide as well," added Bacca. He continued to scan the area around the tunnel.
"At the same time, make a similar fortification facing the tunnel entrance," continued Bacca. "Ku-Sam said there might be monsters in the tunnel, if that is the case, then we should be ready for them.
"The third corp I want to be given two-thirds of the cavalry. I want them to split up and one go to the right along these mountain ranges, the other to the left. Send out scouts and have at least a days distance away under search. I do not want to be surprised when the moogles come.
"Since they have such small legs, they won't be able to approach us that fast, if they come."
"Could not Mog transport through magic his army here?" asked Scotts. Bacca turned to his old friend and smiled. He restored the older warriors confidence.
"The magic users say that magic is negated in this area," answered Bacca. "So Mog might be able to transport his army in, but not right on top of us. That is why I want such a wide area under surveillance, if he appears with his army here, I want to know his every step.
"Oh.... I am going into the tunnel. I am going to leave you in charge of the defense of the entrance."
"Are you sure that is wise, my young friend?" asked Scotts, concern returning to his wizened face.
"Scotts," said Bacca with a smile, "you are like me when it comes to tactics and strategy. There is no one better who I would have command this army then you. Besides, I trust your judgement as if it were my own. Even if you had to abandon this position, I would understand you had some purpose and reason behind it." (hint, hint DLE)
"Thank you, Bacca."
Bacca smiled. He summoned the general staff and top ranking officers. When gathered around, Bacca spoke to them.
"My orders are as follows: I am going into the tunnel with one thousand commandos. I am leaving General Scotts in command. You will erect a palisade, trench, and no man's land before the entrance. Third Corp will receive two-thirds of the cavalry and patrol the edge of the mountain ridge to either side. A screen will be set up to cover everything within a days fast ride from the entrance to the tunnel. You are to defend the entrance to the tunnel to the best of your abilities and abandon it only if absolutely necessary.
"If an opposing army approaches, monitor their movements. If it is obvious that they mean to attack the entrance to the tunnel, then recall Third Corp and fight delaying actions on the approaching army until they are close to the fortress you will be erecting here. (remember this DLE) "One day after I have left with the commandos, send another five thousand men into the tunnel after us. If you do not hear word from us in two days after the last complement is sent in, then consider us lost and abandon the fortress. General Scotts will then direct you to your new course of action." Bacca had told Scotts about the loss of the Dark Lord's Keep and the possibility that the long missing King Edward had resurfaced. Bacca had ordered him to send a regiment of horse to investigate the King Edward possibility and the rest of the army to return to the keep and retake it.
"Any questions?" A few were asked of minor details and afterwards the officers stood at attention.
"Very well," said the High Lord of All That Kicks Ass. "You have your orders. Carry them out." Bacca and the rest saluted.
One officer added, "Good luck, sir." This was followed by the rest of the officers. Concern was clear on their faces.
Bacca marveled at his troops. Rock hard soldiers, both Henriksen and average soldier alike, showed strong visages and would not betray but a little of how they felt. The veterans knew and loved Bacca for his unwavering devotion to his troops and purpose to cause. The Lance Henriksens had grown to greatly respect Bacca for this as well.
"Dismissed," said Bacca, bringing his hand down. The men dispersed.
A soldier ran up before the officers got too far away.
"Sir, one of our scouts reported seeing a large group of skeletons being led by a man, a boy, and a moogle."
Bacca and Scotts exchange quick glances. The high lord summoned the heroes.
"Do you have any idea who these people are?" asked Bacca.
Lady Paladin, Lorinan, and Ku-Sam said no. Jaana and Kaitlin did not answer.
"Damnit!" exclaimed Bacca at the two magic-users. "The two of you are always in secrecy about everything. This is making angry as hell. You speak in riddles, you fore warn of gods and disasters, and whenever I have a question, you do not answer. I am tired of this. "I know you understand the realm of magic and different planes of existence, but I still do not see how this relates to this world and this army. If we are on the same side and fighting for the same cause, then act that way, damnit! If you know something, then tell me. Let me know what is going to happen, if you do."
Everyone was shocked. Bacca's usual easy-going and disarming visage was hard and stern. He stared at everyone with a cold stare, even Lady Paladin.
Bacca took a step back and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath and sighing. Without opening his eyes, Bacca said, "Lady Paladin, Kaitlin, I want you to go with a thousand men and investigate this unit. See what they want. If they prove to be malevolent, then destroy them. If friendly, then bring them forward, but without the skeletons. I faced skeletons before and they can kill many a man before being stopped."
Lady Paladin and Kaitlin looked at each other quickly and then hurried off. Bacca continued to stand there, his eyes closed. Jaana walked off. Lorinan and Ku-Sam looked helpless.
"Ku-Sam, tell me again what we have to look forward to?" said Bacca. He opened his eyes and his features softened. "What should we bring with us?"
The Dark moogle spoke as preparations went on all around them.
The One and Only Shadow
"I think they're on to us."
"Why do you say that?"
"Look at that guy's facial expressions! He has to be yelling about something that has to do with us!"
"How do you know you it's not Mog he's yelling about?"
Nico and Raziel were still eavesdropping on Bacca's troops with the magical "mirror".
"I say we forget your crazy plan Raz. We should just ally up with them. They can give us the protection we need to get to the tomb!"
"That's a possibility. I'm still wondering why they're here anyways."
"Mog say materia." Boof blurted out.
"Mog say humans want materia."
"Of course! Bacca's looking for materia so he can get an advantage in the war! Why hadn't I thought of that before?"
"How do you know your right? And, why isn't Mog trying to stop him then? I don't think we should get to any conclusions until we meet with the man himself."
"I guess your right, for once. Look. There is a squad heading this way. Looks as if they're looking for us. Two women are at the front." Raziel said as he made the observation.
"This could be interesting."
Lady Paladin and Kaitlin rode atop their chocobos at the head of the squadron. The healer was withdrawn and quiet after Bacca's outburst; the Druidess maintained her secretive silence as well.
"There they are," quietly observed Lady Paladin as the bizarre party came in to view. She couldn't help but smile in amusement. She turned to Kaitlin. "Do you want me to handle this?"
The Druidess shook her head. "I will go along with you, but you can handle most of the talking. I'll alert you if I sense anything wrong."
She nodded. "Very well." The healer then turned to the troops. "You know our orders. If they join us, they have to dismiss the skeletons. Send constant messengers between our group and the current base; I have a bad feeling that something is about to happen."
"Paladin instincts?" asked Kaitlin, suddenly staring at Lady Paladin with interest.
The healer frowned. "I am not an official paladin -- it is more of a title. But I can sense the undead and fight them with relative ease...these skeletons may be throwing my senses off, but..."
"I doubt it. Your abilities are more accurate than you realize, so don't dismiss them. And don't forget, you are in tune with Bacca, so if anything were to go wrong you would sense it."
Lady Paladin nodded, but her face was troubled. "Quite true." The curious force stood before them. She was surprised to see an old man, a boy, and a white moogle approaching her.
She and Kaitlin urged their white mounts forward, and they met the other group.
"I am Raziel," said the old man. "The boy is Nico, and the Moogle goes by the name of Boof. You are part of High Lord Bacca's forces?"
"We are," confirmed the healer. "My name is Lady Paladin, and I serve Bacca as healer and white wizard. Beside me is Druidess Kaitlin."
Raziel nodded. "I shall come directly to the point. We are considering joining your army, but we need to know why you are here."
"Understood. High Lord Bacca has to Crystal Peak in order to foil Mog's plans of domination. We will do whatever possible to halt his path of destruction." Lady Paladin looked Raziel in the eye. "High Lord Bacca has also informed us that you may join our forces, but only if you dismiss your skeletons. And can your moogle be trusted? He is part of the Moogle collective."
Boof piped up, "Boof is Boof!"
Lady Paladin arched an eyebrow. "I'm sure you are." She returned her gaze to Raziel. "To control a legion of skeletons such as this proves that you are a competent mage. You would be a great asset to our troops. And I also noticed the boy's metal arm, which grants him powers as well. Will you join us?"
Raziel considered. "Yes. I will leave my skeletons here, so they can quickly be called as reinforcements. I will watch the Boof. Our goal is a tomb on Crystal Peak. Once we reach it, we will split from your main forces; until then, we will support your cause, Lady Paladin."
The healer nodded, and then suddenly turned pale. "Base is being attacked, I can feel it." She began to whirl her chocobo about to head back, when Kaitlin reached out and grabbed her chocobo's reins.
"Be rational," hissed the druidess. "The troops respect you, and if you go galloping back into battle, our ranks will fall into disarray. Don't let your emotions drive you to do things that will destroy Bacca's respect for you." Lady Paladin, gray-faced, nodded in reply, and calmly turned to organize the thousand troops.
Nico suddenly spoke. "The mirror proves it. Bacca is being attacked."
Raziel sighed. "Well, this is our chance to prove ourselves. Boof, Nico, let's go."