The Return The Return
'Tis another typical day in the life of FFMLers. Intelligent debates, heated flames, asinine comments.....all mark this, another common day in the world of FFML. Yet, something seems to be oddly remiss....
The citizens of FFML begin to feel a strange chill. This chill soon engulfs the land and plunges it into the deepest of winters. The chill is not unlike that of an Ice spell....
As the chill slowly wears off, it's replaced by a searing heat which feels like it burns to the very core of their existence. Every citizen desperately searches for relief from the intense heat. Although it isn't actually damaging them, something is making it's presence known.....
Visibly shaken by these events, the FFML cautiously carries on with the day's chores of flaming and debating and senseless attempts at suicide in order to exit the FFML world (Aye Kupek, some of us do pay attention to the remove mailer :). The day wears on, and light quickly changes into dark....a very eerie darkness.....
The wise Jaana senses that something seems oddly familiar about all of this, yet she doesn't quite know what to make of it. She takes to watching the sky in an attempt to clear her mind and figure this enigma out. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning shoots from the sky! Quickly, the entire sky fills with the presence of these ominous bolts. The Druidess Kaitlin, one of the more scholarly members of the world of FFML despite her age, begins to rifle through her collection of ancient scrolls. Finally, she finds the one she seeks. It simply states:
When the elements of hot, cold, and electricity come together, the return of the tri-elemental esper is at hand.
Kaitlin ponders this for a moment, and then begins to alert the rest of the FFML citizens. The return of the tri-elemental esper Tritoch is upon ye......
Kaitlin runs toward Jaana's tent. She makes her way through the troops at the mouth of the cave. Bacca is standing at the mouth of the cave, ranting and raving about glory and honor. He seems oblivious to the recent changes in weather, choosing to focus instead on rallying his troops. Kaitlin shakes her head.
Jaana sits on a stool next to her bed. Lying in it is the wounded, unconscious Sephiroth. Jaana is deep in concentration, trying to cast a high level Cure spell. Her efforts seem to be failing. Suddenly, the door flaps of the tent part and Kaitlin stands in the doorway, her hair and robes fluttering in the wind. She is out of breath.
"Jaana! It's Tritoch!"
Jaana leaps up. "What??"
"Tritoch! He's returned!!!!"
"He's here! In the camp!"
"Yes! I knew something was happening!! Kaitlin, this will change everything! His return will change the balance!"
"Wait, Jaana, we don't know his intentions."
"Oh, come on, it's TRITOCH! Do you really think he'll side with the Moogles??"
"I don't know. He's been gone for so long. He may have......changed."
"I don't care if he's been kupoed by Mog himself! He will join us!"
Jaana runs out of the tent to find Tritoch.
As Tritoch wearily walks into the camp, he senses disarray. Something *big* has been happening in his absence. Suddenly, he sees Jaana running toward him...
Jaana: "Tritoch, you've come back!" (Jaana and Tritoch exchange a heartfelt embrace) "Where in the world have you been! We're fighting another Moogle War here!"
Tritoch: "Alas, I know all too well! Word of the war has spread throughout the land."
Jaana: "So, where exactly have you been Tritoch?"
Tritoch: "Well, I had to take a little trip to find myself. A personal spiritual awakening of sorts."
(Kaitlin then runs up, and her and Tritoch exchange a hug)
Kaitlin: "Welcome back stranger!"
Tritoch then precedes to tell Jaana and Kaitlin that he decided to leave soon after he learned of the rumors of another possible Moogle War, and also fills her in on a few of the events which happened during his absence....
Tritoch: "If you'll remember, originally the Moogles protected me and allowed me to stay in their caves for thousands of years....that is, until I was found by Terra on that fateful day....."
Jaana: "I get it. So basically you needed to have some time alone, to determine where your loyalties lied in case of another war?"
Tritoch: "Exactly Jaana. Although the Moogles did care for me for such a long time, these moogles are not the same as their ancestors. Their ancestors were a kind and loving race, but today's Moogles are nothing more than bloodthirsty killers."
Kaitlin: "So you'll join up with us and help us battle this scourge?"
Tritoch: "Yes, I will. My time alone has allowed me to sort some things out, and I'm now ready to join the side of good and do battle against evil."
Jaana and Kaitlin in unison: "Great!"
(Jaana calls forth the whole camp)
Jaana: "Listen up men! Today is a great day, for we have gained an ally. Tritoch, master esper of the three elements, has joined us in our fight!"
(A cheer runs throughout the crowd, and they have a feast that evening...)
Later that night in Jaana's tent......
Jaana: "It doesn't look good for Sephiroth right now. His wounds are becoming worse, and he seems to have lost his will to survive...."
Tritoch: "Here, lemme show you something that I learned during my trip from a chocobo breeder way up in the hills"
(Tritoch precedes to cast "Consciousness" on Sephiroth--Sephiroth slowly awakens...)
Jaana: "Tritoch, you did it! You saved him!"
(Jaana gives Tritoch another hug, which he REALLY enjoys :)
Tritoch: "Not quite Jaana. His wounds are still pretty bad. I only gave him the consciousness to know what he's doing. It's up to him now. If he wants to live, he shall. But only if he fights...."
"Of course he'll fight!" Jaana exclaimed. She turned to Sephiroth and brushed his hair away from his face. "Sephiroth....." she whispered, "Can you hear me?" There was no reply.
"Maybe you should call for Kaitlin," Tritoch suggested, "You have to admit that her white magic skills are a little better than yours."
"Tritoch, none of our white magic skills are that good anymore...."
He looked at Jaana, puzzled. "What are you saying?"
She sighed. "A lot has happened since you've been gone."
"Well, I think you have a little explaining to do, then."
"You might want to sit down, this might take a while....."
Jaana began to relate to Tritoch the entire story of her involvement in the war. She told him how, months before any of this started, her dreams had been plagued with dark beings, beckoning to her. She explained how the dark beings had shown her Sephiroth, before Mog assimilated him, and told her that she must retrieve him.
She winked. "I didn't mind that, of course. I think it might have been a reward of some sort" She looked at Sephiroth, who seemed to be following the story. She thought she saw the glimmer of a smile cross his face. She continued with her story, telling how the Dark Lord had offered his assistance, how she came to discover that the Dark Gods of the Lizars were the same beings who had been guiding her, and how they had reached Kaitlin as well.
"The three of us knew we would have to contact them.....in person. But we didn't know how, or when."
"And that's when the Dark Lord was wounded."
"Yes. He was the last link to them, you see. With him passed all contact to them. I don't think they liked that. I don't know....." she paused. "Their motivations are so unclear to me."
Tritoch smiled. "Well, you can't presume to know the minds of the gods..."
"I know. It's just that.....the Dark Lord said that they had sided against the humans. That they had already determined we would lose. Somehow, that's not the feeling I get from them. I think there is something more at stake here.....something we don't know, and they're not telling."
"Perhaps.....things aren't always what they seem."
"So you contacted them?"
"Yes, we did. They appeared to us and .......*extended* our powers......beyond what I had dreamed possible. It's quite strange really. I never imagined things like this even existed. It's so......different......"
"And now you can't use white magic?"
"No, it's not that. We can, it's just very difficult now. I was never much of a white magician, but the higher level spells are next to impossible for me now. It's like the dark powers have eaten away at that energy. I just can't access it anymore."
"She appears to have retained more than I have. But I'm worried about her....she doesn't seem to be handling things well...."
"What about you, Jaana......"
"Me? Oh, I'm fine." she smiled.
"Why don't I believe you?" asked Tritoch, sternly.
Jaana sighed in resignation. "I never could pull one over on you, could I?"
"No, and you still can't. What's wrong?"
"I don't know. Somehow, I don't think humans were meant to wield powers like this. They seem to....eat away at me. Sometimes I think my stomach is about to burst into flames. I can feel it inside me.....searing....." She grimaced.
"Have you told anyone else about this?"
"No! Definitely not! It would worry Kaitlin, although I have the feeling she's experiencing something similar. Sephiroth knows, but it doesn't really concern him. He's not having any problems like this.....I think it's the Jenova in him....it somehow inhibits the reaction."
"It's a good thing, too. He's in no shape to be dealing with adverse reactions to magic."
"I know....the queens really tore him up....."
"Well, you know how upset horny queens can get." Tritoch winked.
Jaana laughed. "Yeah. I had a little run-in with Aerith.....she was *not* pleased with Sephiroth."
"What can you expect? He kills her, then takes all her sex...."
Jaana shuddered. "That's something I don't want to think about."
Tritoch smiled. "Sorry...." He contained a snicker, then changed the subject. "Well, if neither you or Kaitlin are up on your curative spells, you might want to consider bringing in some outside help."
"I know....I think I'll go find Lady Paladin....she may have changed her class, but she's still the best healer we've got."
"Good idea....but you stay here with Sephiroth.....I'll find Lady Paladin." Tritoch turned to leave. "We'll talk more about this later...."
Jaana nodded gravely. "Yes....we will...."