Part Nine: The Dark Moogle Part Nine: The Dark Moogle

Bacca, Jaana and Lady Paladin go out and ride across the hills and forests and eventually reach their goal. After dismounting and hiding their mounts, the three set off for a walk through the forest.
"So you see," said Bacca to Lady Paladin, she looked away a little annoyed, "there I was surrounded by five dragons, and all of them were mad as hell. Luckily, I had my Dragon Spear with me, and a couple of potions. "So I drank all the potions that could help me. When finished, I was literally glowingand vibrating with power. The dragons couldn't seem to figure out what was up with me. But they did attack. "The first one made a lunge at me and I stabbed it in the eye with my spear. The beast let loose a flaming wail that engulfed everything thatcould burn there, and this swamp had some dry spots. But I managed to avoid it all with my flame cloak wrapped tightly about me. "Then the second dragon, I think it was a gas dragon because its breath smelled like-"
"Shhhhh," said Jaana. She motioned to the two and they followed her. Lady Paladin looking relieved for Bacca to finally shut his mouth. The three moved silently through the forest.

Upon exiting the town, the three are suddenly waylaid by a band of moogles on miniature chickens brandishing large rubber knives. The Lady Paladin yells "At 'em boys." There is a general rout.

The moogles begin a retreat into the woods. The party follows them. Suddenly, Jaana stops. Bacca notices a glossy look in her eyes.

"What's wrong?"

"Someone is in trouble over there. It seems the moogs are attacking a traveler."

"We need to help him." says Lady Paladin.

All: "Agreed."

They run through the woods, and come upon a clearing. On entering the clearing, they see a man, hiryuu, and parrot being crushed by hundreds of moogles. The three rushes in to help.

Bacca begins firing away at the fuzz balls while Jaana begins a spell. Suddenly, 4 giant Moogle-eating eagles appear above the clearing, and begin to dine. Lady Paladin starts attempting to heal the man while incinerating the moogles. Eventually, the moogles are destroyed, and the party rests in the shade of the trees.

"Thanks," says the man, "I would have been Kupo'd to death. That would have been terrible. My name is Lorinan."

Lady Paladin replies, "Nice to meet you. What were you doing out here in the middle of nowhere?"

I was tracking moogles. I'm a professional moogle hunter. I'm also a learner of their attacks. The only one I don't dare learn is Kupo. Believe me, it's not pretty. I'm hunting a batch of moogs that destroyed a town near here. Maybe you know something."

Bacca: "Not really, but you're welcome to join us if you want. We're at war with the moogles, and could use all the help possible. What do you say?"

Lorinan: "Sure. Nothing like dying in honor than being kupo'd in defeat.

The four set off.

"Here you go," said Bacca. "Talk to The Northern Paladin in that fortress." Bacca indicated a wall at a distance away. "We are right in the middle of a mission right now and so just talk to him and he'll give you a job."

Lorinan looks a little upset at not being in the action right off, but is comforted by being wanted. He sets off for the fortress while the adventurers continue on their mission.

Lorinan heads for the distant wall, his trusty Hiryuu and parrot following.

"This is taking too long. Hiryuu, let's fly."

Lorinan jumps on the dragon's back, and they soar over the landscape towards the wall. In about a half-hour, they reach the gate.

"I'll just ring the doorbell. I hope someone's home."

---RING, RING---

It's only then he notices he's surrounded by a bunch of black moogles.

Dark Moogle: "State your name, or ye shalt be destroyed!"

Dark Moogle: "Crippled by magic, do your worst! Paralyze!" ::Me casts Paralyze on Lorinan::


After Lorinan sets off on his own, Lady Paladin turns to study the map. "OK, we are here," she says, pointing to the main road near the HQ. "The best path for us to take is probably to go off the road -- after all, if an enemy patrol was sent this way, the road would be their most likely path."

Jaana nods. "And isn't that destroyed village to the north? The moogles would probably come down the road from there. It's a straight path. It would be difficult for a large force of moogles to trying hacking their way through the forest."

"OK, then, let's go off road to the north and see what we find, ladies," Bacca says with a smile. "Hopefully we'll run directly into them so we don't have to carry on this sniper nonsense. I'm in the mood for a good melee right now."

Lady Paladin gives him a frown. "Be careful what you ask for," she grumbles, remembering the circumstances that led to her brief stay in the dungeon.

The three warriors enter the dense woods, but keep the road in sight. Everything is extremely quiet. Jaana covers the party's tracks, and they slowly work their way a few miles to the north.

"Hold it," whispers Lady Paladin. "We need to take a breather. I also need to establish radio contact...we haven't done so since we left base, and the Northern Paladin told us to stay in constant contact." She pulls out the long range sat-scram radio from her pack, and turns it on.

"Northern Paladin, this is Lady Paladin, do you copy?" The radio buzzes slightly.

"Northern Paladin here. How is your mission proceeding, my Lady?"

Lady Paladin smiles. "Everything has been quiet so far, except for Bacca." Bacca's jaw drops, and he attempts to look as innocent as possible. Jaana snickers. "We came across a traveler that volunteered to help our cause, and we directed him back to HQ. We've come about 10 miles north into the forest, staying parallel to the main road. No sign of the Dark Moogle."

"That's because the Dark Moogle is here."

The three warriors gasp. Lady Paladin quickly asks, "Should we head back to base then?" Bacca pushes forward to speak. "If headquarters is under siege, then --"

Northern Paladin quietly states, "Continue your mission. We are NOT under siege. As a matter of fact, the Dark Moogle has joined us and is being briefed."

Jaana's face is covered with doubts. "Are you sure he can be trusted? He destroyed a whole village!"

"That remains to be seen. For now, patrol in the forest there. If nothing is found, head back here in a few hours. Continue to keep steady radio contact -- that is your responsibility!"

Lady Paladin nods. "I understand. I accept your judgment regarding the Dark Moogle, and I think the others agree with me. Take care of yourself there."

"I will," the Northern Paladin replies gruffly. "And if you do encounter the enemy, conserve your magic power, got it? Don't take any risks. Over and out."

Bacca turns to Lady Paladin. "You're the white wiz here. What did he mean by that last comment?"

She frowns and explains, "My specialty, of course, is healing magic. I have dabbled in a few others areas, though. If we really get into a bad situation, I can teleport us out in necessary, but the effort would be very... damaging. I would pull us to some safe dimension, but then I'd be out cold for a few hours."

Jaana looks at her in alarm. "You mean we'd be trapped in some random place without a healer for that long? Or we could get stuck there?"

"I would leave a magical trace that only the Northern Paladin could detect. As for the dimension that we would land in..." Lady Paladin shrugs," I would take us to a basically safe one -- one that I've charted before -- but I would have to be under careful guard. Some mages have fallen into comas or been killed, like the great Tellah, when they have overcast themselves."

Bacca lets out a long, low whistle. "Well, that's definitely a last resort then."

Suddenly, the SatScram bleeps..

NP: "You guys do realize that you are looking for one of Mog's advance bases. right?"

Bacca, in the middle of bragging about another story to Jaana, looks at the radio annoyed.

Jaana takes up the radio and says, "We copy that, over."

Bacca looks upset. "Why are we chasing the small fry here?" He grabs the hilt of his dagger and grips it, thinking. "Let's take this base out. It will weaken the enemy and reinforcements will undoubtedly be sent out, and from them we can figure what we need to know."

Bacca flashes his ever present simle at his companions.

Suddenly, on the road about a fireball's throw away, voices can be heard.....

And then the Dark Lord and T'kra burst from the bush. Everyone lets out a sigh of relief. T'kra pulls a cowering woman with a sack on her head out after him.

Dark Lord: Ugh, this woman's more trouble than she's worth. We should've just let Mog have her and kept Ra'nar...

Aerith: Let me go! I just wanna be with my king!

The group of three then notice the other band.

Dark Lord: Oh, you you're the group that let your radio message blare all over the network.

Jaana: What?

Dark Lord: The moogles packed up and left the ruins of Jidoor when they picked up your multiple radio signals. You really need to learn about radio silence.

T'kra: I guess, instead of letting any possible information loose, they decided you can have what's left of the town, which isn't much.

The two nod, then head off again, dragging the captive Aerith behind them.

Baaca: Hey, wait! Why don't you come with us?

T'kra: We have our own priorities right now. When we can avenge our fallen comrade, we will.

And so the three leave, leaving Jaana's little band to figure out what the do since the moogles abandoned Jidoor.


After 3 rejections, Slay decides indeed to visit the HQ of NP. He awaits his instructions...

Slay: I await my orders faithful ally(?)...