Into the Tunnels of Crystal Peak
Into the Tunnels of Crystal Peak

Pat Szostak

As Bacca and Ku-Sam spoke of their upcoming journey, the sentries heard shuffling footsteps coming from the entrance to the tunnel. Scotts, who had been supervising the activities of the soldiers, peered into the tunnel and began giving orders.
"Men, surround the tunnel. Whatever this thing is, be ready for it." After issuing these orders, Scotts turned smartly on his heels and walked towards the tent in which Bacca and Ku-Sam were talking.
"Pardon me for interrupting," Scotts said cautiously. Bacca turned and grinned to his general.
"What's the problem, Scotts?" he asked, his joviality restored after he had exploded at Kaitlin and Jaana moments before.
"Sir, there seem to be footsteps coming from inside the tunnels leading to the Crystal Peak," Scotts said.
Bacca's friendly attitude vanished, "I'll go check it out," he said.
"But Sir--," Scotts began to protest. It was too late, however, and Bacca had already strode out of the tent, with Ku-Sam trying his hardest to keep up.
Outside, the sentries all parted to make way for Bacca, who was striding up to the tunnel entrance. As he did, a human silhouette appeared in the darkness. The shuffling footsteps grew louder and louder until the young man who owned the footsteps stepped out of the tunnel and looked around in fear at the army, the trenches, and the angry looking swordsman who was scowling at him.
"Um..." the young man, who looked in no way unordinary, glanced around as if he was lost, and then turned as if to reenter the tunnel. "I think I made a wrong turn somewhere."
"Wait," Bacca commanded in his deep voice. "Who are you to be wandering through these caves?"
"Huh? Oh, I'm Siran. I was just, uh, exploring. But with all these armies everywhere, I thought maybe it would be better to go someplace else." The young man, who looked to be in his early twenties, turned to face the High Lord of All That Kicks Ass.
"Did you say 'armies'?" Bacca asked.
"Uh yeah," replied Siran, who was still looking warily at the soldiers with their swords drawn. "There're thousands of dark colored Moogles roaming through these tunnels. I don't know what they're doing, and I didn't stop to ask."
"How far have they traveled?" asked Ku-Sam, speaking up for the first time.
"I passed them just yesterday. They're not too far from here. It's tough to make your way through this labyrinth if you don't know where you're going."
"Uh oh," Bacca said. "That doesn't sound good."
"If the Dark Moogle is going to Crystal Peak, then we must go after him," Ku-Sam said resolutely. "He cannot be allowed to reach the Peak."
"Then we must go," Bacca said. "Siran, do you know the way through these caves?"
"Yeah, I can show you the way if you'd like," Siran said pleasantly. A second later, however, a look of fear covered his face. "Say, we aren't gonna fight that Moogle army, are we?"
"Yes," Bacca said matter-of-factly, "we are. You don't need to, if you can't fight."
"No way!" Siran said, looking insulted. "I can fight with the best of them!" Seeing Bacca's expression of disbelief, and Ku-Sam's uncomplimentary snort, Siran's back arched. "What? You think I can't? Come on, punk! Let's go!" After saying this, Siran put up his fists and fell into a ready position. Bacca sheathed his sword and assumed a similar pose, but Ku-Sam
intervened, seeing the senselessness of the situation.
"We have no time for this!" Ku-Sam said in as forceful a voice as he could muster. "We must stop the Dark Moogle, as well as Mog. Neither must make it to the Peak. Siran, will you lead us through the caves?"
"Sure, no problem," Siran said, dropping his fists. "Sorry about that..."
"Bacca," the swordsman said, "High Lord of All That Kicks Ass."
"Even the Marx Brothers?" Siran asked incredulously.
"Never mind. What about--"
"Could we?" Ku-Sam interjected. With a stern look at Bacca, and an even sterner one for the young martial artist, the three of them assumed a last minute council before entering the tunnel.
"Now Ku-Sam, what can we expect to find in this cave?"

Sky H Ainsworth

[Bacca's account of what "really" happened]

As the army of Lance Henriksens busily prepared themselves, Bacca and the rest of the heroes gathered before the entrance.
A line of soldiers stood on duty before the tunnel, ready in case anything came out. Behind them, soldiers began digging a trench and forming a palisade.
A strong wind blew out of the tunnel. It was cool, yet did not smell of anything.
"This wind blows throughout the whole tunnel?" inquired Bacca.
"Yes," said Ku-Sam. "Like I have said before, I was injured and unconscious for half the trip through the tunnel. But what I remember and what I remember others telling me supports what I have said.
"There are creatures in there. And anyone going through there would have to fight them."
"Okay," said Bacca. "Now, as for traveling, we will ...."
A man stepped out of the darkness of the tunnel. The soldiers readied themselves with swords and spears drawn. The man was dressed in light armor, yet had his sword sheathed and his hands out in peace.
The soldiers relaxed a little. Bacca called out.
"Who are you?"
The man squinted from the light in the afternoon sun. He looked over at Bacca.
"I am Siran," said the man, "a master at sword and fist."
Bacca gauged the man.
"Very well," answered Bacca. "I am Bacca, High Lord of All That Kicks Ass.
"Tell me, Siran, what are you doing in the tunnel?"
"I was trying to hide from the dark moogle army that came by. But they ended up coming into the tunnel as well."
Bacca furrowed his brow. He turned to Ku-Sam.
"Ku-Sam, you never fully explained why we should come here." The warriors tone was serious again.
Ku-Sam stammered. "This is a place of great power and I was certain that we could get some power from here to help us in our war."
Bacca looked at Ku-sam, then to Siran, then to the mountains overhead. He took a deep breath.
"From now on, I want everyone to tell me everything," said Bacca, his voice was very serious. "No more of this mystic stuff. I am a general and I deal with stuff I know and understand. If you give me full understanding and knowledge of what is going on, then I can act
Turning to Siran, Bacca spoke up.
"So, what can we do for you, Siran?"
"Oh well," began the young warrior, "I just wondered if you guys were going to attack me or not. But seeing that you were all human, I figured you might be friends."
"Well, you are right," said Bacca. "Come, join us." Bacca beckoned and the warrior walked through the sentry line.
When gathered together, the heroes spoke to Siran.
"So, are you familiar with this area and this tunnel?" asked Bacca.
"Yeah," said Siran. "I've been here for quite a while now. I have pretty much figured out the tunnel and it's little side paths all the way to the valley of the Crystal Peak."
"Really?" asked Bacca. "Care to join us and lead us to the Peak?"
Siran thought a moment. "Well, I am not doing anything better. Plus, you guys are fighting for mankind, so I guess I should help you out. Okay, you got it."
Bacca exchanged a quick glance with Lorinan, surprised.
"Ah, thank you, Siran," said Bacca. He looked up at the sky. It was the middle of the afternoon. "By the way, when should we leave and start going towards Crystal Peak?"
"Definitely in the morning. It takes a while to get through the tunnel and to the peak."
"Okay," said Bacca. "We will camp for the night and prepare. Lorinan, start mixing up some bottles of Greek Fire. Get the engineers to help. Also, see about making some sort of light that will work in this windy tunnel."
"Yes, sir," said the chemist. He hurried off.
"Well Siran, you can join us tonight for dinner," said Bacca, turning to the young warrior. "You can tell us a little bit about yourself."
Bacca, Ku-Sam, and Siran walked off to where the general's tent was being erected.

The three warriors entered the tent once it was set up, and dinner was served shortly afterwards. Though it was plain food, Siran attacked it with gusto, as if he had not eaten in days. For a few minutes no one said anything, but Siran soon realized that Bacca and Ku-Sam were watching him expectantly, and he stopped eating and began to talk.
"Well, I'm a martial artist of common birth," began Siran. "I specialize in most common forms of martial arts, and I'm not bad with this sword either, but usually I'd rather just avoid fighting all together. I lived with my master and a few of his other students until recently. I left and was just wandering the countryside when I saw an army of moogles. I fled into the
tunnels, but they went into the tunnels as well, so I had a tough time avoiding them. When I was certain that they had all moved on, I hung around the tunnel, exploring a bit. It really is an interesting labyrinth of tunnels. But you'll see soon enough." When he was done speaking, Siran quickly returned to his meal. Bacca and Ku-Sam were not satisfied with this explanation, however.
"Why did you leave your master?" Bacca asked. Siran stopped eating for a second, and looked a bit anxious, but he quickly composed himself.
"Well, I've spent most of my life living with my master and my fellow students. I've learned a lot, but I wanted to go out and see a bit of the countryside. Y'know, to learn some of life's lessons." Siran quickly went back to eating after saying this, but Bacca was still not satisfied.
"So, when you saw the moogle army, you fled into the tunnels because you thought they wouldn't find you there?"
"Right," replied Siran. "It seemed like such a strange place, I figured that no one would look for me in there. Turns out I was wrong."
"Why did you assume the moogles were after you?" Ku-Sam asked, staring directly at Siran. Siran squirmed under the moogle-wizard's scrutiny, but he eventually managed to stammer a reply.
"I--I didn't think they were coming to get ME, necessarily. But Moogles, at least in these parts, have a reputation for horniness and violence. And I don't go for moogles, so I figured I had better get away from them before I got kupo-ed to death," Siran did not go back to eating this time. He simply glanced from Ku-Sam, who stared at Siran as if he were judging him to Bacca, whose face showed that he did not believe the story at all. Siran gulped and quickly finished his meal. Bacca and Ku-Sam exchanged glances and stood up.
"A most interesting story," Bacca remarked. "If you'll excuse us?"
"Of course," Siran said, sighing with relief. Bacca and Ku-Sam stepped over to a far corner of the tent so that Siran would not hear their conversation.
"I don't trust him," Bacca said.
"He is not telling the truth," Ku-Sam replied, "I can sense it. However, his intentions are in no way harmful to us or anyone else. He could be a valuable ally."
"Hmm...I suppose we should accept any help we can get, especially if it means we can get through the caves, but--"

Sky H Ainsworth

A messenger rushed into Bacca's tent.
"Sir! Sir!" gasped the messenger. "There are strange sounds coming from the tunnel."
Bacca leaped to his feat from the chair he had been sitting at and rushed out of the tent, followed by the other warriors. Nearing the tunnel entrance, they too could hear noises. Growling and snarls issued forth.
"Get a battalion over here," yelled Bacca. He readied his weapons.
Men rushed over. The tension increased.
Bacca waited for what kind of creatures the cave had in store. Taking his place before his men, Bacca readied himself. The troops behind him had fallen back past the trench and mound of earth that had been dug.

His Dark Lordship

The small moogle detachment looks over the plain from the mountains above.

"Yeap, they're going for the materia." muttered the head. "I remember that place. Had to run through it once. Full of nasty spikey things." he put down the binoculars. "All the good guys seem to be focusing on this spot. I was told by our scouts that the orks ruined the dark lord's keep. I assume lord Bacca hasn't focused his troops elsewhere. We got ourselves at least two cities to sack each." He motioned to the scouts on their skybeasts. "Head back to main. Tell Mog he's home free for a little while. We'll make our way back on our own."

The moogle army turned about, and headed home.

Sky H Ainsworth

It was late afternoon, the sun was disappearing behind the mountains. The area Bacca and the soldiers stood was covered in shadow.
Bacca tried to peer into the depths of the darkness, but his vision would not work with the light behind him. Bacca stood there with his swords ready, his dark, short sword glowing faintly red. Bacca took notice of this. The white, long sword also glowed brighter. His swords had done this once before, but he could not be certain. He tried to remember.
As the first figure stepped out of the darkness, the memory came back to Bacca and he turned yelled out,
"Medic! Get all the magic users over here now."
Men ran around the camp and several with white arm bands came up.
Unsure of why they were called, the medics soon understood.
Coming of the darkness of the tunnel were undead creatures.
Skeletons and zombies either walked or dragged themselves out of the tunnel.
"But sir," yelled a medic, "did not Ku-Sam say that magic was nullified here?"
"If magic does not work, then who animated those undead?" retorted Bacca.
The High Lord backed away and joined his comrades behind the line.
Ku-Sam stepped up and prepared to cast some spells.
"Wait," said Bacca.
"But I am going to cast flare on those creatures," said Ku-Sam.
"Into the wind like this?" asked Bacca. "What are you trying to do? Fry us in the process? Let the white magic work for a moment."
Healers began casting their magic. Some of the faster skeletons in front began falling apart and dropping from the infusion of the magic. Both zombies and skeletons would spasm when struck by the magic, the zombies giving off moans from their decrepit lungs.
The healers were doing a good job, but the undead continued coming.
"That group of skeletons earlier was a diversion," said Bacca, gritting his teeth. "Why did I send my two best white magic users out? Where is Lady Paladin?"
The undead creatures continued to drop, but some continued to come. Bacca had to take some initiative.
Stepping back over the mound and trench, Bacca sheathed his swords and readied himself.
Readying himself, Bacca drew back his hands and unleashed a large fireball straight into the undead ranks.
"Ahd-yukin!!!" yelled Bacca. The fireball flew through the air, setting a couple zombies on fire. It struck a large group in the middle and the exploded. Flames shot everywhere, especially down wind. The soldiers, though, had enough warning that they ducked down. The fire swept over everything, setting every undead creature on fire.
"Ah jeez," said Bacca. He was glad to see that none of his men had caught fire or got burned from his tactic, but he should have taken his own advice and not thrown fire into the wind.
Returning back over the mound, Bacca faced the tunnel again and continued to see undead coming forth out of the darkness.
The healers were tiring. They were not used to extended use of their magic abilities, especially against undead creatures. Bacca looked about in consternation.
Bacca knew that once the undead came up to the trench and mound, they would have to be engaged in hand to hand. That would be very difficult. Undead creatures did not fall easily and they often got fallen soldiers to join their ranks.
A vision of white caught Bacca's eye. He saw an angel descend from the heavens and fly to him. The angel's golden hair flying out in streams from her scalp.
Lady Paladin arrived and hopped off of her chocobo. She came up to Bacca and was about ready to check on Bacca and hold his hand, to be sure he was okay, but the warrior instead yelled at her.
"Go, get to the line," he urged, directing her to the tunnel. "The healers need help. They need you."
Lady was a little upset at this welcome, but accepted it.
The master healer came up to the mound of earth and faced the undead coming forth. Raising her hands above her head, she brought them down and a wave of energy of sparkling energy flew out. Striking all the undead, and a few of the human soldiers alike, reactions happened
everywhere. The soldiers felt better.
The zombies and skeletons jerked and spasmed from the healing magic. The necromantic power that held them together began falling apart and away. Limbs fell from the rest of the body. Bodies dropped to the ground. Moans and sounds of struggle were heard everywhere.


Suddenly, a giant flying tuna on fire swallows half of the attacking undead.

Lorinan: "I thought something didn't feel right. I wanted a whale. not a tuna. Anyway, Let's try that again. Fireroot oil, whale fat, and a potion. I think that works."

Out of nowhere, Moby Dick appears, bursts into flames, and swallows another section of undead.

L: "I hope that helps some."

Sky H Ainsworth

A few more undead could be seen coming forth, but the healers were able to defeat them.
When all was over, and no more undead came from the tunnel, Bacca took command.
"Scotts, drag those corpses out and away and burn them all. Tell the men to beware the smoke and do not inhale it. Tonight, keep a fire going inside the entrance to the cave and a couple healers on hand as well."
"Sir," responded the general. He followed his orders.
Bacca and the rest, tired, returned to the command tent to meet the strange trio that had appeared earlier. He faced the impending interview with suspicion.

The One and Only Shadow

"Follow me. Bacca will be waiting for you." said the woman who was called Kaitlin.
"All right. Let's go." Raziel shouted to Nico and Boof, who were trying desperately to grab apples off of a nearby tree. "I'm sure they'll have rations of some sort for the two of you. Stop wasting our time."
"Why are you always in such a hurry Raz? Jeez."
"I'm a busy man."
The trio followed the Druidess to the camp. As they entered it, they were immediately met with stares by some of the soldiers.
"There's nothing here for you. Turn around and get back to work with those trenches." said the Druidess rather harshly to the men.
The trio were led to a tent in the middle of the camp. It was rather large.
"Boof hungry."
"Boof, quiet down. We don't want to act like beggars."
"That's only you two."
"I didn't ask for any comments from you, old man!"
"Are you trying to cut me down boy?"
"All three of you stop!" said Kaitlin. "Stop arguing with each other!"
"I'm sorry Madame. It's the boy's nature to argue. Besides, he started it."
Still arguing, the trio walked into a large room with a desk at the center. Sitting at the desk was the High Lord Bacca himself. He seemed to be arguing with the black moogle, Ku-Sam about something concerning magic.
"Once again, is all magic nullified in the tunnel?"
"Yes, I told you already."
"Then where did those undead come from?!"
"I don't know that!"
"High Lord Bacca, I have brought the travelers here to see you as you commanded."
"Yes. Thank you Kaitlin. You may leave now."
Kaitlin left the room.
"Take a seat...I'm sorry, I don't know your names."
"Ah, yes. My name is Raziel." As Raziel said this Ku-Sam looked Raziel straight in the face.
"My name is Nico. This is Boof."
"Interesting names you have there. Anyways, "Raziel", tell me, what brings you here to Crystal Peak?"
"I'm here searching for a tomb that is said to be inside the mountain." Raziel answered. Ku-Sam's eyes widened.
"A tomb? What is the importance of this tomb?"
"'s supposed to lead to an ancient "treasure" of sorts. It is linked to a legend."
"A legend? Interesting. Raziel, are you aware that there is a full blown war about to happen around this area?"
"Well, yes. That was made known to me by this moogle here."
"Yes, the moogle. Boof. I was just getting to you. Why is he with you?"
"He is a companion of the boy's."
"Okay, then. Of what importance is the boy?"
"The my apprentice." Raziel said. Nico looked up at Raziel in disbelief. He was no apprentice.
"Interesting. My master healer, you have already met her, informs me that you have a desire to join our army for the time being?"
"Yes, until you arrive at the site of the tomb inside the caves."
"All right then. Let me think this decision over. I will send for you within two hours time. For the time being, follow this servant here. She will show you to your quarters."
"Thank you High Lord."
"Nice talking to you."
The trio were led out of the tent.
"Raz, since when was I your apprentice?!"
"Since 5 minutes ago. They won't for one minute buy a story that you are just a normal boy. I had to make something up."
"Well, I guess I'm better off being an apprentice anyways."
"Of course, I wasn't really saying that you were my apprentice."
"I know...I know..."
"Now we just have to wait to see if he'll let us join his army."