Final Fantasy VIII: Orlor Palam Deus


[i]Forgiveness is such an overrated word. It is so common for the common mass to say that forgiveness brings strength, and they could never be more wrong. Never have I seen compassion give ME strength! Not once was I strengthened, my soul refined, my psyche mended by…forgiveness. Nay, I say forgiveness brings weakness! It prevents you from taking what is yours! Forgiveness gives you nothing!

Only vengeance, I say gives you strength. Only vengeance, and vengeance alone, gives you the will to push onward on your path that They have deemed. Only vengeance can aid you in that, and nothing less will settle your lust. Nothing else can please that addiction in your psyche and soul. Nothing can bring it out from you.

Dare I say love as well?

Yes…not even love is safe from vengeance. Nothing is safe from it, for vengeance is friend to no one.

Where was love when everything I cared for was destroyed by betrayers? Where was I love when I needed care and support? Where was love when I alone, and needed someone to aid me, to speak to me?

The answer: love was never there. And I know it never will. Only vengeance was there, and by His will I will settle my vengeance. Those who betrayed Balamb will not be safe from my vengeance! Edea Kramer is not safe from my vengeance! Seifer Almasy is not safe from my blade!

I am their Judge, Jury, and Executioner! And no one, not even the Heroes of Balamb, not even the great Squall Leonhart, nor his love Rinoa will stop my vengeance, and settle my blade.

The ground cries for vengeance! Those killed in the Clash of the Gardens beg for the tribunal to settle the dark deeds that the Betrayers had done to them!

The Children…they call to me. They say “Ferin! We were murdered by our Brothers! We cannot rest! Aid us!”

And I shall answer the call. For I am Ferin the Wolf, the Judge.[/i]

-Ferin “the Wolf” Alengar

Chapter I

The ballroom was in a frenzy. If you were to look down one side, you’d see SeeD graduates laughing and hollering as they drank some alcohol. Go down the other you’d see some of them dancing.

And those in the middle? Well, you’d see some of them kissing lightly on their lover’s lips as they danced slowly to the music. Kind of odd if you would go and think about it.: every year they, at the same ballroom to celebrate the same graduation, they did the same exact thing. Drink, dance, kiss, have fun, go to bed drunk and dizzy.

But, that’s the keyword. ‘Go and think about it’. That’s the big one…you actually have to think about it. Thing is, no one IS going to think about it. They’re not going to think about why every year it’s the same thing year after year…if you’re an instructor, you’ll just be filled with pride that you’re students reached the status of SeeD. And if you’re a student, you’ll be too caught up in the moment to even start to think.

Squall was the same way…well, in his own way. Instead of dancing of wooing other ladies in short dresses like most guys at these graduation ceremonies tended to do, he just stood against the wall, and got himself half drunk, not really caring about the moment. But, there’s always one at these parties that was like him; always one that didn’t like to socialize, who was a gray feather in a pile of golden ones.

Squall just shrugged it of. He really didn’t like to think about what happened three years ago. He didn’t want to remember how deep in a depression he was three years ago. Before the way over-excited Zell, the naïve Selphie, the constantly flirting cowboy Irvine…and her. The person he vowed so long ago to himself that he would spend the rest of his days with, the only person who would feel the way his hand touched her black hair, the only person who would feel the rush of emotions when they kissed.

Rinoa would be the only person to carry the title of Mrs. Leonhart.

Squall chuckled softly, trying not to make Rinoa think she was doing something wrong when she was pouring some drinks into two glasses for her and Squall. He was getting to ahead of himself. It was another six months before they would officially exchange vows, before they’d have the rings slipped onto each others fingers.

But then again, how wasn’t it funny? A year ago, the only thing that mattered to him was, well him. He didn’t form relationships with no one. Oh sure, he had crushes here and there, but that was as close to anything as he was going to get. But it wasn’t because he was some careless low life caught over his head in a deep depression.
Certain…circumstances, or events rather, put him in that position. He was happy as a child, but when someone important to him left, he felt horrible.

And he didn’t know if he could take another blow to his soul as when ‘Sis’, or Ellone, or whoever you want to call her, left the orphanage. He thought he would die if that happened. And maybe he was right…if someone close to him did leave him, he may of died in spirit. He may have become a walking corpse…but, then he found Rinoa.

It was three years ago, under the same glass roof they were under now, wearing the same attire they were wearing now, just as tired and exhausted as he is now. They laid eyes on each other by mere chance…Rinoa turned her head behind her, saw a lonely guy up against the wall, and as the curious person she was, she went over to him and despite his dark attitude, she convinced him (if dragging him over onto the dancing floor could be considered ‘convincing’) to dance with her.

And hell, he couldn’t even dance. Well, that’s not entirely true. All SeeDs know how to dance; they learn the formal art of dancing in their third or fourth year. After all, if a SeeD has to go to a formal party as part of a contracted mission, they’re going to need to dance.

But teenagers aren’t actually one to live for the future. They live for the moment. And for Squall’s entire career as a SeeD student, his only priority was becoming a SeeD. Not making friendships or dancing.

That didn’t mean he wasn’t a good dancer once they got on the dancing floor. Sure the first few moments were, err, hazy at best. But once he got used to it, he turned out to be quite the dancer. They danced for only a minute. But it was a good minute, especially for Squall. But for the first time since Ellone, he actually did something with someone that didn’t include nearly killing each other in a duel!

When the minute was over, Rinoa patted Squall’s shoulder lightly, whispered something nice and calm into his ear, and walked off from the ballroom.

At that moment years ago, Squall said something to himself about that black haired beauty that is so different, so foreign of him now that it’s almost funny.

Bitch. Squall, who now is as romantic as a twenty year old can get, called his love a bitch. Of course, they weren’t in love at the time, but it’s still kind of a shock. Then again, she did kind of just walk away right when they were getting in the mood. And I don’t mean the romantic mood…just the enjoying the moment type of mood.

Squall shrugged again. That was then, and this is now. Then, he was a lonely grunt who had no friends to give him support and love. Now, he has six friends who had seen him thought thick and thin, and Squall has been happier than he has ever been in a long, long time.

Especially when he noticed that Rinoa was wearing the same short dress that she wore the first time they met.

Squall chuckled, and quickly ended it when Rinao started to walk towards him again with two glasses full of fruit punch (Squall is somewhat of a drinker, and the pair have had a good many fights over it, and Rinoa’s father, General Caraway of Galbadia, being something of a drinker himself didn’t help Squall in his favor too much).

“What’s so funny”? she asked Squall when she noticed that he had a bigger grin on his face than he usually does. He told her nothing, but she didn’t buy it. Squall never was a good liar. Rinoa put her free hand on her hip, and tapped her foot with a slow, but steady, pace of speed. Squall knew he had less than a second before he’s be put on death row.

“It’s just that, well, this is kinda funny.”

“What is?”

“This. I mean, this is the same place where we met three years ago, remember? I mean, we’re not even that far off from the wall you dragged me from.”

“Dragged you? Squall, if I remember correctly, you asked me if I wanted to dance.”

“Then you’re memory must be as bad as you’re card skills.”

“Whatever.” That brought a grin to both of their faces. “Let’s just enjoy the moment, all right?”

“Sounds good to me.” Squall sipped on some of his glass, and would have let the drink stay in his mouth if he forgot about something. “Hey, where’s Zell?”

“Scrambling for the hot dogs what else?”

Suddenly, they heard the sounds of iron plates smacking against each other acting as an after choir to the symphony of screams and protests along with the beating of shoes along the floor. The odd (and that’s being kind, mind you) musical ended with Zell diving towards them with a hot dog clasped in his hand. “Yes!” cheered with obvious excitement.

“Zell, it’s only a hot dog.” Rinoa noted, trying to scold Zell, but that got her only shocked looks from her two friends.

“First of all…” Zell said as he got himself to his feet, doing his best not to at all damage the all-mighty-lo-and-behold hot dog, “It’s not just ANY hot dog. THIS hot dog brand was given an award by the Esthar National Food Committee™! It has to be…”

“Fattening” Rinoa spurted out quickly.


“The Esthar National Food Committe™ named it the ‘Most Fattening Beef Food Product of the Year’.

No one said anything for a few moments. Squall wasn’t going to get involved into the debate, Rinoa was waiting for Zell to say something…anything…and Zell was kind of speech less. How could the best thing about being a SeeD at Balamb Garden, besides being paid kick people’s butts, is actually…bad!

In the end, he just gulped the hot dog down, and licked his lips in eager satisfaction.

“Congratulations Zell, you’ve just gained a pound.”

“A pound that’s going to become two! I’ll be right back!” With that Zell dashed off to once again brave the crowd of people surrounding the hot dog table. Yes, the hot dogs are that popular to get a whole table deemed to them. The two lovers just shrugged it off, Rinao admitting to herself that nothing less of divine intervention will separate Zell from his hotdogs, and returned to drinking.

It wasn’t long until Zell returned with not one, but two hotdogs, one of which was already bitten in half. Zell was already chewing when Squall remembered something he was supposed to ask Zell.

“Hey Zell.”

“Vivebro salla va?”


“Vivebro salla va?”

“Squall” Rinoa started to point out “After two years of Zell’s lack of manners when it comes to hot dogs, I believe he is trying to say ‘What the hell is it Squall? I’m trying to eat a freaking hot dog here!’”

Zell swallowed the hot dog in a big gulp, and licked his lips to respond. “Actually, it’s ‘“What is it Squall?’” That got a big grin from Squall. He always loved it whenever Rinoa was wrong, since she always seemed be so right all the time. Well, at least when it comes to stuff people could give half of a rat’s ass about.

“Anywaaays” Squall said, trying to get off the topic of Zell’s hot dog language, “Where’s Selphie and Irvine?”

“Oh, err, I think they called when you guys were, well, you know. They said they weren’t goanna make it. Something about ‘a clue to the creation of humanity’ or some crap like that.”

“I really wish they were here” Rinoa complained. “I kind of miss Irvine’s look on everything.”

“You mean him always flirting with you to make Squall madder than a bull that just saw red?”

Rinoa chuckled. “Exactly Zell.”

“Well, that’s the one thing about Irvine I am not going to miss.”

“Yeah” Zell agreed as he brought a hot dog to his mouth and devoured it. But everyone else stayed quiet. Zell even stopped eating his hot dog so loud. Everyone started to miss those two. Well, they missed Quistis as well, but Selphie and Irvine they missed the most right then. It’s just weird. The three of the thought everyone was going to stick together, but everyone just separated. Irvine and Selphie retired from SeeD and became explorers, and Quistis became a wanderer. She never gave a reason why. She told Rinoa she wanted to see the world, but if that was true she would of have gone with Selphie and Irvine.

Squall broke the silence. He noticed a man in a trench coat sitting at table by his lonesome, holding some type of suit case. Squall found it kind of odd that someone was wearing something as unformal as a trench coat to a party like this, but he came to the conclusion that he was probably a SeeD who fell on some rough times, and there were no official rules as to what veteran SeeDs had to wear to gatherings like this.

“He looks familiar.”

“Who?” Zell asked at the question. He turned around to the man Squall was staring at. Zell recognized him at once. “Hey! It’s Ferin!”

“Ferin? Who was Ferin?” Squall asked, giving him a strange look.

“You know. Ferin! He did that…and err this…and that! Oh, and that one time he did, uh…”

“You don’t have a clue who he is, do you Zell?” Rinoa butted in. Zell only looked down in disappointment. “Well Squall go talk to him.”

“Why me?”

“Because if Zell goes he’ll probably get his ass kicked. And if I go you’ll think he’s flirting with me.”

“I wouldn’t think he was flirting per say.”

“Fine. You’d think he was stalking me.” She put both of her hands on her hips. “Get going Mr. Leonhart.” Zell gave Squall a ghastly look. When Rinoa starts calling people Mr. and Mrs., you’ve had damn best do what she wants. After two years of living in a dorm together, Squall knew that all too well.

Squall put his drink on a nearby table, and walked over to the stranger. Surprisingly enough, he recognized Squall at once. “Mr.Leonhart! I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Squall scratched the back of his neck, somewhat taken off guard that the man remembered him when Squall didn’t at all. If anything, it was more out of embarrassment than anything. “Well, good to see you as well. To be honest man, I just came over to say hello, since all my friends seem to remember you but I don’t remember a damn thing of you.”

“I’m surprised at that, Mr. Leonhart. Well, I really shouldn’t. As the slayer of Ultimecia, I’m sure everyone comes up to you, saying ‘Hey! I know you!’ and ‘Remember me?’

“Well, actually no.”

“Oh, well good think for you then. I wouldn’t want that myself. Anyways, back on track, I was Ferin.” Squall gave a dead stare, telling him that he didn’t remember anything about him. “The Judge? The Wolf?”

“Ferin the wolf? Now I remember you. You were of Seifer’s Disciplinary Committee or something, right? Right?”

Ferin nodded. “Yeah, that’s right Mr. Leonhart.”

“Now, weren’t you the one that suspended all those guys that were caught doing drugs or something.”

“Actually, it was more along the lines of expulsion, but that’s right Mr. Leonhart.”

“It’s nice to meet you again Ferin, but don’t call me Mr. Leonhart. Just Squall.”

“Of course…Squall.”

“Well, why are you here Ferin? If I remember you kind of disappeared at the Crash.”

“Yeah. I was wounded in the hand. Still got a scar.” Ferin unwrapped some bandages around his left hand, and showed him a scar that looked too much like an X.

“Ouch. That had to suck.”

“Yeah, it hurt a lot. Could barely move my fingers for a month, and when it did, it killed.”

“And I guess you specializing in a buster sword didn’t help.”

“And katana. But yeah, I mainly use the buster sword.”

“Well, what happened to you Ferin?”

“I’ve just been traveling.”


“Everywhere, I guess. Well, nah it’s more of a definite.”

“Where’ve you been?”


Squall chuckled a little bit at Ferin’s refusal to be specific on his journey“A little broad, don’t you think?”

“From one side of the world to the next.”

Squall shrugged it off. Apparently, Ferin never was one to talk much about anything, maybe that’s why he joined the Committee…so people knew something about him, even if it didn’t make him the most popular guy at Balamb Garden.

“So, what brings you back to Balamb Ferin?”

“Matron.” Squall gave him a confused look. ‘How does he know about Edea? He couldn’t of been at the orphanage…the GFs makes you forget memories…so how does he know what we called Edea?’ “Headmistress Edea?”

“Huh?” Squall snorted out, Ferin’s interruption bringing him back to reality. “Oh yeah, yeah, she and Headmaster Cid run Balamb. But what do you need Edea for?”

“I need to talk to her. She contacted me, and wanted me to come back.”

“Contacted you? How did she know where you where? Hell, everyone thought you were dead.” ‘And why didn’t she tell us that she was going to invite someone everybody thought was dead to Balamb? This is just too weird…maybe it’s her way of saying the Gardens have recovered now…by bringing someone dead to life…’

“Anyways Squall, where is Edea?”

“Probably with Headmaster Cid.”

“In his office?”


“Do you know who Head of Defense is now? I want to talk to Edea as soon as I can.”
“Yeah, but I’ll do you one better. I’ll bring you to her myself. Being the savior of the Gardens has its perks.”

“I’m sure” Ferin said with a chuckle as they got up.

Squall led the way, leading the man in the trench coat down the room, right towards the nearest exit which was where Rinoa and Zell had seated themselves. When Squall was about to walk past her, Rinoa grabbed his shoulder.

“Where are you taking him Squall?” she whispered to his lowered ear.

“He says that Matron contacted him. She obviously wants to see him.”

“Yo, Squall” Zell butted in, as he usually did. “I know you hate it when I butt in like this, but don’t you think Matron would have had told us if she was bringing someone?”

“Yeah” Squall muttered, forcing the words. “But maybe this was going to be a secret, ya know? Don’t worry guys, I’ll be fine.” With that Squall quickly kissed Rinoa on the cheek and led Ferin down the hall to the first floor elevator.

“It’s not you I’m worried about Squall” Rinoa muttered to herself when Squall was out of sight.

“This place sure has gotten bigger since I was here. Hey, if I remember we didn’t have any halls. Just one big circle!” Ferin announced while he and Squall were walking down the halls.

“Yeah, it’s changed since Ultimecia.”

“Feels kind of weird being here and all.”

“Yeah, it’s changed a little too much.”

“Not that. I mean, after the battle…I didn’t think I’d be back.”

“Neither did I. But look now, here I am. Come on, the elevator is down the corner.”

When they reached the elevator, the doors slid open when it detected their presence. Once inside, Squall showed his keycard to a scanner and a picture of Cid’s office showed on a screen above the door. The sound of the elevator moving smoothly against the gravity’s weight echoed in their ears.

Once they reached the third floor, Squall noticed that Fenrin looked a bit…colder if that’s the best choice of words. “What’s up?”

“Yes. Lead the way, Squall.” Squall left the elevator, and opened the wide wooden doors that led to Cid and Edea’s office. The two gave the SeeD salute when they entered. Cid raised his head from his work on his desk, and turned his face towards Squall. But when he turned towards Ferin, he had a confused look,

“Squall, who is this?”

Squall gave his headmaster a quick response. “Edea summoned him here Headmaster.” Edea had walked in from the side entrance right when Squall explained himself.

Edea have Squall a confused expression. “Squall, who is this?” Squall turned to Ferin.

“I don’t know” Squall asked, more of a statement than a question. “Ferin, who are you?” Immediately, Ferin dropped his suitcase, and a blinding light covered the room. The sound of a blade being released bounced off the room in rhythm with hard boots pressed against the polished floor.

“Who are you!” Squall commanded, not being able to see anything.

“Don’t you know, Squall? I am Ferin! I am the Judge, Jury and Executioner of the Betrayers of SeeD!”

“What?” Squall asked, but he already knew the answer by the time he asked the question.
“Ferin, wait! It wasn’t Matron! She was possessed by Ultimecia! Please, forgive her!”

“There is no such thing as forgiveness: only vengeance. There is only the sounds of children screaming, only the cries of the Betrayed crying from the stained ground. And there is only the sound of the Executioner’s Blade slicing the head of the Convicted! And Matron Edea Kramer is convicted of treason and murder on her children! And this act of betrayal must be paid in blood!” Then the blade sliced through the crisp air, and sliced through Edea’s chest. Ferin quickly leaped towards Headmaster Cid and sent the katana crashing onto him. Both were dead the instant the blinding light glowed dark.

The scene was an unbearable one for Squall, and it wasn’t because of the massacre that Ferin had just unleashed. It was because of the two closest things that Squall and all of his friends had to a mother and a father…who raised them as both a child and young adult…who taught them so much…was murdered by a confused madman…no, in Squall’s eyes Ferin was no madman.

He was a lunatic.

Strange enough, Squall did nothing as Ferin leaped out the glass window of Balamb Garden that reined three stories over the soft green plains of Balamb. Squall did nothing as Ferin landed on the grass softly and unharmed with his steel-toed boots and his katana in hand. Squall did nothing to stop Ferin as he climbed down a small cliff to a motorcycle he hid under the bushes several hours before, and raced off towards his next victim.
The only thing that Squall did, that anyone could have done, was kneel down beside Edea’s lifeless body, slowly and cautiously bring her lifeless head to his chest, and cry.

For the first time in so many years, he cried like a child who had lost something very dear to him. And indeed he had.

Chapter Two

It was around three in the morning when one of the parties of SeeD scouts Squall sent out to locate Ferin returned empty handed to a tired, growling and confused Commander.

Once they had given him the customary SeeD salute, Squall’s tired and angered eyes told them at once that they had best give him some good news – any type of news, even remotely good ones, or else they may get their asses handed back to them on a silver platter. Alas for them, there was no good news that could please Squall.

Squall in his angered, not nearly as kind state, ordered that same search party that had been out searching for three hours to search for another three. Squall was angered beyond what any of them could ever understand, and they got off lucky. Other search parties had seen worst sides of Squall that night – mostly his fist. After sending that search party off, Squall drowsily went to his chambers, where a sleeping Rinoa waited.

Squall, in all of his rage and drowsiness and sadness, among all of the emotions and memories that flooded his mind as he began to think more and more of his Matron and Headmaster, managed to notice one tiny detail of his love as she slumbered, a tiny one, but an important one nevertheless. A visual one: she had cried herself to sleep that night. Squall could easily see that her pillow was stained with tears. It would dry by morning, but for now he began to learn so much more of Rinoa that if he hadn’t.

She cared. Despite the fact she barely know Matron, she cared.

Squall sighed deeply and muttered a swear to himself as he headed for the bed. He hated it whenever he allowed his emotions to get the better of him, especially when it concerned Rinoa, and even more so when he should be focused on the task at hand, whatever they could be.

Squall undressed and got into his sleeping attire, and lazily got into his bed along with Rinoa, trying his best not to wake her.

Squall couldn’t get to sleep right then and there, not after tonight. Not after how he saw a SeeD kill Cid and Matron.

No, Ferin was a SeeD anymore, not in Squall’s eyes or anyone else’s at Balamb. Ferin was a murderer…a true betrayer in every sense of the word. It was funny, almost ironic, in Squall’s eyes how a man who accused people of betrayal was a betrayer in his own right.

And Squall hated the man, almost as much as he hated…still hates Seifer. He didn’t understand why he hated the two characters so much. It’s been three years since Ultimecia, Squall should have been peace with Seifer, but Squall never thought much of it. At least not until Ferin returned to Balamb. And now, Squall seemed to hate Ferin more than Seifer.

But Squall didn’t hate the man just because he murdered the closest thing to a mom and dad he and his friends had ever known…the only thing he and his friends had ever known. They were always in their lives; as far back as he could remember. Cid and Matron were always there. And now, they were gone.

But the reason Squall hated the man most of all was because Ferin used him. Squall believed him. Squall truly thought that Ferin was back by Matron’s will. Ferin made Squall used his card key to bring the elevator to Headmaster Cid’s office.

Squall actually began to feel a little bit of sympathy for Seifer, although he didn’t even seem to know why since there was nothing in his thoughts that could have made Seifer redeemable to Squall. But that moment of sympathy for his rival was just that: a moment.

But, was Squall beginning to forgive Seifer? After all these years of rivalry, of betrayal and hate and mocking Squall’s every action, was Squall actually beginning to forgive Seifer? After all, it took Squall only a second to be fascinated by Rinoa in that ballroom three years ago.

…No, that was different. Love and hate are two totally different things. After all that Seifer had done to Squall, and Rinoa, and Balamb, there was probably nothing he could that could make Squall forgive all of his trespasses.

Squall went to sleep dreaming an utmost dark and horrible dream, a dream that was not at all Squall the Lover. It was Squall the Warrior that demanded it…the Hater dreamed of killing Seifer and Ferin. And perhaps worst of all, Squall was glad when he had the dream.

The next day was no better than the night following Cid and Edea’s murder. The news media, being the vultures that they are, used the tragedy as a way to get some more viewers (and the all powerful Gil) in their grasp. The Balamb Garden Administration directed them into the auditorium where they (and they being the Administration mind you, not the news media) unanimously decided that Squall, despite him losing two parent figures and barely got any sleep the night before, was the best person to inform the press of what had occurred.

“Shit!” Squall swore when a SeeD student informed him of the news at the eerily empty cafeteria, which odd enough also remained totally unchanged in the reconstruction period of Balamb Garden between the Crash of the Gardens during the Ultimecia Incident and now. “They should damn know that I’m not ready for this.” The SeeD student, not wanting to see Squall’s ugly side walked off.

“No one would be Squall” Rinoa began, trying to make him realize from the administration’s point of view, “But you were kind of there.” Squall only frowned as he stuffed another spoonful of oatmeal down his mouth. “Look Squall” continued sternly but with a hint of care in her voice “I…we know you lost a lot last night. And I’m not referring to just your dignity. It’s really personal; Cid was the only dad that I’ve really known.”

“What about Caraway? Or did you just forget all about him?” Squall muttered not thinking but when he muttered the words, he knew he hit a spot that he shouldn’t of have touched. Hell, he already knew the answer so why did he ask?

Rinoa answered him anyway, even though she was pissed at Squall for the needless comment. “Caraway was not a father but not a dad. Cid…well, he gave me love. Caraway gave me knowledge. Not to say Caraway didn’t love me Squall. We, well we just didn’t get along like me and Cid did.” Rinoa sighed; this topic may just be hurting her as much as it did Squall. “Makes me wonder why Cid didn’t come down last night.”

“What you mean?”

“I didn’t think that Cid was one to stray away from wild celebrations like yesterday’s graduation. He always loved festivities. That’s probably why he threw so many of them for his students. I think that ‘raising student morale’ crap was just a big excuse to have the students in one place to have fun.” Rinoa sighed again, and leaned back on the chair. She probably wasn’t showing it, but this talk about Cid wasn’t exactly soothing. But she knew that Squall needed support now.

“He was staying in his office a bit too much. When I was a student, he was never like that.” Squall sighed as he ate some more oatmeal. “Now, whenever I tried to get him to take a break, he’d say something like ‘I’ve got too much work Squall. Now, why don’t you just get going to Rinoa? Or will I have to order you to get to her?’ His words sounded like Cid, but his tone didn’t. He sounded almost sad.”

“Well, regardless of what his feelings, the advice sounded good to me Squall.”

Squall just growled a whatever as he finished his oatmeal. For the next couple of hours, before the big press meeting, Squall and Rinoa just talked. The subject didn’t matter to them, just as long as it wasn’t Cid or Edea or death or anything else that made them uncomfortable, they were just content with being with each other. They really just needed to get their minds off the events that have been happening.

They finally got talking about how Irvine would always flirt with Rinoa just to get Squall to go on and on about ‘SeeDs not allowed to show relationships with other SeeDs while in presence of commanding officer’ which everyone knew was total crap. Then Rinoa would usually go of to Irvine, give him a kiss on the cheek, and say something along the lines of ‘Well Squall, that’s nice and all, but I’m not a SeeD’. Squall would just stare at her, and throw out a whatever as he walked off.

Then, Zell ran into the cafeteria towards his two friends. “Guys, we’ve got a problem! Some kid committed suicide.”

“What the hell are you talking about Zell?” Squall blurted out, the bad news so off topic of what he and Rinoa were just talking about.

“It was some fifteen year old. He hung himself from some duct tape, although no one knows how the tape managed to hold his weight. From what his roommate told me, the kid was pretty hysterical when he heard the news about Cid and Matron. The thing is, he and Cid and Matron were never that close. Hell, I don’t think Matron and Cid even knew the poor kid even existed.”

“God, it makes no sense” Rinoa muttered under her breath. She always was one to get all quiet and sensitive when suicide became a sudden topic.

“Yeah” Zell agreed”. “He came from some really prestigious family in Galbadia or something like that. Transferred here from a military school down there.”

“Damn” Squall whispered to himself, but it was loud enough for Rinoa to hear him.

“Yeah, Squall. Damn.” Rinoa frowned a little bit. She always was the one out of the group that was the most uneasy when it came to death. When they thought that Seifer was executed for kidnapping the Galbadian president (although dictator was a far more accurate term), Rinoa was quick to show her feelings about the blonde haired gunblade user, her and Seifer’s short relationship from the year before one of the first topics of discussion. “It doesn’t make sense Zell. Why would a kid who had so much going for him hang himself when Edea and Cid were killed by Ferin when the Cid and Edea didn’t even know the poor kid? It can’t just be coincidence: something else has to be up.”

“Yeah, but what?” Zell asked out loud. Squall nodded in agreement. To him, something just didn’t seem right. There was more to his than meets the eye. Then again, to Squall almost everything had more behind the scenes than the public knew about.

“Guys I’m heading for the showers” Squall announced after a few moments of pondering on the matter.

“I’ll join you Squall” Rinoa announced just as Squall got up from his seat.

Squall turned around, a surprised expression on his face. ‘Since when does Rinoa want to have sex in the shower?’ “Rinoa this is so, err, sudden.”

Rinoa gave an equally surprised look. “Shower? Squall, I mean to the dorm.” That resulted in a laugh from Zell, which Squall deemed reason enough to for a hit on the head.

The press conference was three hours later, at almost precisely twelve ‘o clock in the afternoon. One of the reporters was running late and Squall refused to start the conference until all of the reporters were present. He was in no mood to repeat anything, even in the form of an answer to a lagging reporter. It was obvious that he was agitated, and that was part of the report relayed back to the stations.

Squall told them in no pleasant terms everything that he knew of the matter … which was pretty much nothing. The reporters were, to be blunt, pissed. They had assumed that when they heard that the founders of SeeD were murdered, it was some government conspiracy, not a calculated assault by some madman. These days, conspiracies proved far more fascinating than murders.

However, Squall managed to let out the tiny detail that Ferin was an ex-SeeD. He didn’t want the want the investigation of Ferin and his connections with Balamb to get too much publicity, but by the sounds of the murmuring reporters as they left the auditorium, the investigation wasn’t going to get publicity from anyone.

It was roughly eight at night when a tired and frustrated Squall returned to his dorm after yet another meeting with the Garden Administration. It was the last in a marathon of other similar meetings, if one can consider an unorganized debate by a group of power-hungry instructors a meeting.

The moment the door slid behind him, Squall got on the floor, got his back against the wall, and took a breather. Squall would of rather faced Ultimecia a thousand times over than have to attend another meeting with the Administration again.

Politics. He hated it, if only because he didn’t know how to play this type of game and those that did may be playing him…and Garden.

If something was to happen soon, Squall would want it to happen soon. If not, he’d have to learn quickly how to play the game. And if there was one game he did not want to play, it was politics.

Rinoa turned her head to Squall; her body nestled nicely enough on a couch that was placed in front of a T.V. “Bad day Squall?”

“No shit” Squall grumbled. He knew that Rinoa was trying to help him out, but right now he didn’t need someone feeling sorry for him. What he needed then was some peace and quiet. Then again, a backrub wouldn’t of have hurt either.

“Squall, don’t you dare even think of talking to me like that. I don’t want anyone talking to me like that.” Rinoa sighed. “My gosh Squall, I know this is rough on you, but -” She was cut short by Squall.

“Rinoa, listen to me. I’ve had the closest thing to a mom and dad killed in front of me. I mean, oh just forget it!”

“No Squall, I’m not just going to forget it. I’m not here just for you and me to kiss and talk about things that don’t really matter! I’m here for you when you need me. If you ever feel down, I’m going to be there for you.” She looked at him, waiting for a response. Squall didn’t say anything to her. He just closed his eyes and looked up.

After a few moments, Squall looked back at Rinoa. “Come here Rinoa” he said almost commanding, but with a dash of love. Rinoa complied, getting on top of his lap as he sat there. Squall softly placed his heavy head on her shoulder, and she in response put her soft light hand on his cheek. “I feel so angry now Rinoa.”

“At Ferin?”

“Yeah. I mean, now I really understand how you felt when Ultimecia possessed you. That bastard used me Rinoa. I feel so much hate towards him now. I mean, I don’t even think I hated as much as I hate Ferin now.

“And what do you want to do to him?” Squall closed his eyes, putting his head against the wall trying to think. He had to know what he was feeling, not what he wanted to feel. What was he really feeling? He had to know. Then, it hit him like a brick.

“I want to kill him.”

“Why do you want to kill him Squall?”

“Vengeance” Squall muttered as he returned his head to Rinoa’s shoulder.

“Squall, I don’t care if you kill him or not. But I do care for the reason. Squall, kill him if you must. But don’t become a murderer like he did. Show him the judgment that he was seeking.”

“Does he deserve it?”

“No, but then again I probably don’t deserve you.”

“I thought it was the other way around?”

“Whatever” she said with a grin. That forced a chuckle from Squall. He seemed to be rubbing off her after all. It was good to have his woman by his side.

“What’s on TV?”

“Since when do you watch TV?”

“Since I started to get really tired of my own drama.” So Rinoa led him to him to the couch, and then they did some channel surfing. When they didn’t find anything good on TV (Rinoa always did say there was nothing good on Tuesdays) the two decided to just talk, and it was the type they hadn’t have for a long time.

At nine Zell began to franticly pound on the dorm door. “Squall, Squall!” The Commander rushed from the couch, caught off guard by the martial artists’ tone.

“What is it man?” Squall asked as he opened the door. “Has there been another -”

“No suicides but its Dr. Kadowaki! She just told me after bringing in some medial shipment that she knows Ferin.”

“She knows Ferin?” Squall asked in a shocked tone. “How good?”

“Enough to know his birthday was January eleventh and he came from Galbadia. The first one makes sense, but we usually don’t tell anybody where we came from, especially if it’s from a bad family like Ferin.”

Squall quickly turned to Rinao, but she was already dressed. She wanted to get involved in this, and Squall knew that there was nothing he could of done to convince her otherwise.

In ten minutes they were already in front of the doctor’s desk. It was a well known fact around Balamb Garden that the Doctor’s stress level could be calculated by how much empty coffee cups were laid about her desk. There were about a dozen or so on her desk.

“She’s my grandson Squall” was the first thing she said.

“But Doc, you’ve always told us that you had no kids.”

“Zell, everyone at Balamb are my children. But Ferin was…closer. I was the closest thing he ever had to a grand mother, and him the closest to any true child.” She paused, taking another sip of coffee. “He always was an err, um, troubled child. Yes, that’s the best word for it I suppose.”

“Doctor” Rinoa butted in, “If talking about Ferin is too much for you, you don’t have to.”

“Thank you sweetheart” the old doctor smiled. “But you have to know about my cub. He got it from his father, who I unfortunately DID know. His father was Vaan Alengar, and he was a gangster before a poor boxer. Vaan was always a fighter, always fighting for what he and no one else believed in. That included Darwinism.” She sighed again. “That’s how he justified raping Ferin’s mother, who even Vaan apparently knew but would never tell anyone who it was. But Ferin’s mother couldn’t support him, and Vaan took him in, so that’s at least one good thing among a list of atrocities. But if there’s one good thing about Vaan’s character, it was he had some family values. He instilled in his boy the will to survive, the will to fight for what he believes in. That includes justice. You see Vaan was part of a minority class in Galbadia, and they were always third class citizens in Galbadia.”

“That would explain why he called himself the Judge” Squall reasoned.

“Yes, Ferin always told me that if no one else was going to be a rightful judge, then he was. That explained why he joined Seifer’s Disciplinary Committee. When everyone else in the Committee was a bunch of power abusing bullies, he acted as justly as he could. But, he was never liked and appreciated by most of the students. And if he was, it was usually a short term relationship by some trouble makers to use him to avoid getting into trouble. And that never lasted long.”

“Did you appreciate his work?” Rinoa asked curiously.

“I would tell him at times he was a tad harsh, but he knew, or at least I think he knew, that I was proud of what he did. Someone had to, and by God I was going to be the one if no one else. But, he was alone. Thus the consequences of being a good person in a crowd of bad, I suppose. Or, at least until he met her.”

Her?” Squall blurted out. “What do you mean her?”

“Alladra Hemingway. What a kind soul she was. They met on a training mission. I think it was, forgive me if I’m wrong, Timber or something of the sort. Yes, it was Timber, some big forest country. Anyways, it wasn’t love at first sight like you’d read in books. They became acquaintances, and didn’t get along very well at all at first. They had something of a little war between the two of them. One day, he sentenced her to a weeks long detention, and on the second day he came to sit next to her, after just getting in an argument with me about not telling him who his Ma was, when he knew that I didn’t know either but he didn’t want to accept that I suppose.

I don’t know what they talked about, but what I do know is that by the next day they were holding hands in her detention session. I think she said it was the only good detention she really ever got. I thought it was so sweet. But despite that relationship Ferin didn’t change as much as I would have had like Squall. He was still that freedom fighter that acted first and thought second of the consequences on himself. But, at least she convinced him to cut his hair. Her hair was, oh lets say here.” She patted her shoulder. “All light blonde and nicely done. His went down to my arse, and all messy and horrid. What a mess, I tell you.” She sighed again. “But this relationship, like all the others, didn’t last.”

“What happened?” asked Zell quickly. All the others were shocked that the relationship ended: it sounded so good, so sweet. So much like Squall’s and Rinoa’s.

“She left him for some other boy. I think his name was Mavrick or something, doesn’t matter now the boy died in his initiation mission. When she left him, Ferin was devastated. He blamed himself, for not being strong enough for her. That’s where his father’s Darwinism ideals came into play.
He started to spiral downward after that. He left the Disciplinary Committee, buried the ring his mother had given his father to give to him when Vaan took him in. He stopped calling himself by his last name, and named himself the Wolf. When I asked him why, he said ‘A wolf is cunning, wise, deceiving his enemies.’ I think he wanted to deceive himself, so that he could in his own eyes be strong enough to take Alladra back.” The doctor took another sip of her coffee. “During the Crash of the Gardens, when you finally faced Edea and freed her of Ultimecia’s possessing of her, he told me he was leaving, that he was joining the pack. I think he wanted to find himself. He was seventeen then. He’s as old as you Squall. That was the last I ever saw of my Ferin.” Dr. Kadowaki looked down and started to do some more paperwork. “Squall, just know that my Ferin is no heartless killer. He’s lost, and I think you can find him at the old Galbadian Missile Base.”

“Why there?” the Commander questioned.

“He sees to you as heroes…no, legends, like those of ancient myth. If there was a place for him to rest, it would be where his legends did what would seem suicide in desperate times. He wants to be filled with your aura, I think.”

“Thank you Doctor” Squall said, thanking the old advisor. Zell said he was sorry about all this, and followed his Commander as he left the Infirmary. But Rinoa remained behind. She still had something to ask of the Doctor.

“Doctor? Why did she leave him? It sounded so perfect…how could she just leave like that?”

“I think it was because of her father.”

“Her father?”

“Yes darlin’. You see, Mr. Hemingway was a politician in Dellot, and he didn’t think it looked good if his daughter was dating some soldier.”

“Sounds a lot like my Dad, Doctor.”

“Maybe you could talk to her sometime Rinoa. She must be in a fit. She truly did love him, Rinoa, and she and I both know this isn’t the Wolf we loved. This is the Judge.”

“Thank you Doctor, I’ll see what I can do. Goodbye Doctor.”

“Goodbye Rinoa.”

Chapter Three

“Hold on, hold on…let me find it…here it is! Okay, its 3-0-7-5…7-5. Yeah, that’s right, 7-5. Anyways, the last numbers are 4-V-6-9. I’ll say them again: 4-V-6-9. Yeah, that’s all. Thanks. So I just put my credit card in front of the scanner and the doors will open? Okay, thanks.”

“What’s up Squall?” Rinoa asked as she came into the dorm with some groceries. It was three hours since they visited Dr. Kadowaki, and Squall was putting his credit card away and hanging up the phone.

“Just bought the train tickets.”

“So, we’re all going huh?”

“Yeah Rinoa. You, me and Zell. It’s not just me now…everyone was affected, and if I could I would have everyone go.”

“You mean Quistis, Selphie and Irvine?”

“Yeah, but we can’t even contact Quistis, and by the time Selphie and Irvine got here, Ferin might have been long gone to his next target. So, it will be just the three of us.”

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Rinoa put the groceries down on the kitchen table, and opened it. In front of the door was a woman in her twenties…twenty one or two at the most, with light blonde hair that went down to her shoulders. She had on a white linen shirt, and blue shorts to along with it. Over the shirt she had a green sweater than could accurately be described better as a cape than a sweater.

“Who are you?” Squall asked the female the moment she stepped in.

“Don’t you get it Squall? It’s Alladra.”

Alladra nodded in approval. “Alladra Hemingway. And I’ll be quick to the point. I’m coming with you.”

“Whoa whoa!” Squall protested while waving his arms in disapproval. “What makes you think I’m letting you come?”

“Squall, I expected better from you” Rinoa scolded. “You, the person who carried me on your back from Fisherman’s Horizon all the way to Esthar, should know why she’s coming.”

“Not exactly love…” Alladra corrected. “I feel responsible for what has happened… I need to make amends with him. I can’t let any more blood be spilled because I wouldn’t intervene.”

“She’s coming Squall” Rinoa said interrupting Squall before he could say another word.

“She’s paying for her own ticket” Squall noted bitterly.

“I’ve already had.”

“She needs a weapon.”

“I have a pistol…and I know magic.”

Magic?” Rinoa butted in, knowing that only Sorceresses can cast true magic.

“Para-magic Ms.Heartily, excuse me.”

“It’s Rinoa” the Sorceress corrected. “Well Squall, what else do you plan to say to try to keep her from coming?”

“I’m not. She’s coming, but I know I’m not going to like it.”

Zell came in the dorm an hour later, three before they heading for Balamb, and four until the train Squall bought tickets for was leaving for Timber, where he would buy another set of tickets for Galbadia’s capitol city, Deling. From there they would rent a car, and drive east to the old missile site.

“So she’s coming huh?” Zell asked as he took a bite of some pizza from the refrigerator.

“Yeah, she’s coming. And how many times did I tell you not to pig out on my food!”

“Whatever man” Zell chuckled. He was never one to listen to anybody about his old habit, especially when it came to food. “So why is she?”

“She wants to make amends.”

“With a pistol?” Zell said raising his eyebrow.

“What are you getting at Zell?” Squall asked as he sat at the table.

“It just seems a little bit too fishy to me…”

“What seems so fishy? An old lover wants to make amends so that they won’t get hurt.”

“How the hell would she get hurt Squall?”

“I thought it would be pretty obvious Zell. Emotional hurt. I mean Zell, look at it like this: how would you feel if you left a lover –“

“But I’ve never been in love!”

Focus! Anyways, how would you feel if the lover you left sorta went you berserk?”

“Uh…can I call a friend?”

“Damnit, you’d feel responsible. And Alladra probably is. That’s why she’s coming.”

“Whatever man. I’ll see you at two.”

“Yeah whatever.”

They left earlier than Squall had anticipated, at roughly one forty that afternoon. Squall went to the garage early to check up on the car that Balamb had assigned to him as part of his employment as a SeeD. When he got there, everybody else was already there; they’re bag of luggage by their feet. So, they decided to just leave right at that moment.

In the half hour ride to Balamb, no one said a word. Everyone remained quiet – nothing was to be said, all part of training. Even though they would most likely not face Ferin for another twelve hours, they had to mentally prepare themselves. If you constantly remained alert in the hours before a mission, you would have more time to complete the mission than if you were getting mentally prepared the minutes before. Even Rinoa, who herself was not a SeeD, remained quiet in the ride to Balamb: after the countless missions she attended with Squall she began to learn the tricks of the trade. Everyone at Balamb had by now treated her as if she was of the same rank as a newly graduated SeeD, if but an unofficial one.

When they arrived at Balamb at two twenty-three, Zell didn’t go off to see any of his adoptive family. After three years of knowing that he had been adopted, he was still bitter. Did he still love them? Yes he did, or at least that’s what he hoped. Could he stand being close to them, after all the lies Ma Dincht told him of Zell being her true son, and the fact that his grandfather, who was the inspirational reason Zell became a SeeD, wasn’t his grandfather after all? No.

They got on the train to Timber at roughly three, and even then the four were all quiet. They constantly had to focus on the upcoming mission.

They arrived at Timber around five in the afternoon, and the entire team was getting exhausted, no thanks to the time frame of the forest country: at Balamb it was bright as day, in Timber it looked like it was almost eleven at night. They remained at the train station for another half hour, hundreds of thoughts going through each of their heads as they awaited the train to bring them to Deling.

Confusion was the best word that could best describe Zell’s train of thought. Zell loved his Ma, but three years ago Irvine, a few days before the Crash of the Gardens, that they had all lived together at Edea and Cid Kramer’s Orphanage before the two founded SeeD and Edea was possessed by Ultimecia. Everyone was shocked…but Zell was hurt even more so. His whole life, which pretty much started at five since he couldn’t remember anything before that due to SeeD’s teaching of using Guardian Forces which caused memory loss, he thought he was truly Ma’s son. He truly thought that his grand father was a great soldier in Dollet before he moved to Balamb to live life as a fisherman. He truly thought he was part of a great bloodline of proud Dollet soldiers and heroes dating back to the splitting of the Centra Empire thousands of years ago.

And then, three years ago, it turned out his whole life was a lie. One big, horrible lie. Squall and Rinoa both knew that Zell was hurt by the revelations, but not so much that he can’t even look to himself with the pride that he did feel before the revelations. Squall would many times just let Rinoa do all the emotional talking to Zell, since Squall really didn’t know the right words to say to the martial artist. But whenever Rinoa would get on the topic, Zell would throw on a grin to his face, say it was nothing important and quickly move on to another subject. If Rinoa would refuse to change the subject, Zell would just leave the room.

Zell asked himself again and again, was he hiding from himself?

Zell just shrugged it off, lying to himself that it was nothing. He knew that in his heart he would have to face the problem, but right now was not that time. Now, he had to focus on Ferin. Then after all that was done and dealt with, he could worry about the Dinchts.

If he was still alive…

Damn, why am I thinking like this? I’ve fought things that were tougher than any guy along with Rinoa and Squall and the others! Why am I thinking I’m going to be dead after all this? Why am I so scared of some guy with just a buster sword? How is he any different from Seifer? Squall? Me? Hell, why is any different than Ultimecia even! He’s bad and we’re good! There’s nothing else to it!

But…’ Zell said to himself, continuing his train of thoughts, ‘If he’s so different, then why do I feel so…dirty even thinking about him? Why do I feel bad when I come to the conclusion that he’s going to be either a) dead or b) executed? Why do I feel…guilty? I mean, I didn’t kill Matron and Headmaster Cid!

Maybe it’s because he’s one of us? Ultimecia wasn’t a SeeD…Seifer was almost a SeeD, and that justified things I guess whenever we fought him. But with Ferin, he WAS a SeeD. I could say he still is. Yeah, he still is. He’s fighting for a prize, just like every SeeD. Except, it’s not money. It’s vengeance…if not a different type. It’s not blood thirsty vengeance…or at least I think it’s not. It’s not like anyone he knew got killed, or at least not personally. It was other SeeDs that got shot in the head…

When I saw the dead kids, I wanted to tear Seifer and Ultimecia’s eyes out…yeah, it makes sense now. That feeling of hate…I had for only a couple of minutes. But he…he had it for years. Years of so much loathing and dread. And now he’s getting rid of it.

I guess what they say is true. There is no such thing as good or evil, black or white. There’s only a point of view.

Zell was shaken from his train of thought by Rinoa, whose hand was on his shoulder.

“Hey, the train’s here.” Zell only nodded as a reply, and followed the others onto the train and into their cabin. They wouldn’t talk much on the four hour ride to Deling City, right in the heart of Galbadia.

The ruins of the missile site loomed off in the distance as Ferin rode his motorcycle on the undedicated shrine of the Six, as Ferin referred to the party led by Squall during the Ultimecia Encounter. It was the perfect place for him, no other place in the world was as filled with the evidence of the Six’s deeds than here, the ruined missile site.

It was this very missile site where Sorceress Edea, after she took control of Galbadia from President Deling (even though Dictator would be a far more appropriate term), commanded the launching of nuclear missiles against Balamb and Trabia Garden. Although it was too late for them to act to save Trabia, the Six managed to save Balamb by utilizing ancient Centra technology that laid in the deep chasms of the Garden, turning Balamb into a mobile structure.

Ferin tugged on his scarlet red trench coat as he made a sharp turn around a group of boulders surrounding the entrance of the ruins, trying to keep it from covering his face due to the direction and strength of the blowing wind. He parked the motor cycle near the inner courtyard of the missile site, and strolled off towards the place where he preferred to think to himself.

That place was a nearly destroyed church which was part of the missile site, and Ferin most of all found it an ironic place for a church to be built, in a place that operated machines of death and destruction.

But even soldiers have to pray to their gods, or depending on whom you asked, God.

The church was nearly destroyed: two of its three floors had either been destroyed in the blast or collapsed. Piles of limestone and destroyed wood surrounded all but the front of the offering table and the cross. The back and western wall was none existent, there was no divider between the church’s floor and the desert dirt. Ferin didn’t mind it though…if anything, it could of acted as an acronym of how life and religion could meld together so beautifully.

Or disastrous, depending on how you looked at it. Ferin noticed that the desert winds were slowly eroding the stone floor of the church. Could religion do the same thing to life? Does religion make you nothing more than a tool?

Ferin shook the thoughts from his head: he had more important things to worry about than if deities that more likely than not probably didn’t even exist cared about his existence. He had to make his mark.

Ferin strolled past the pews, which were filled with the photos of the soldiers that died in the blast. Ferin managed to collect these photos after hours of printing from the sole existing computer within the whole ruined complex. Ferin was as surprised as anyone else would have been at the discovery of anything electronic in what would appear as a place ruled and maintained by the dead.

Ferin allowed his gloved hand to slide along the dirtied altar, just wanting to get as much dirt off of it as possible. In a quick motion, he took out from the insides of the altar two pictures, of Edea and Cid Kramer. While in one hand holding the pictures, he poured cheap red wine into an offering plate with the other. When the plate was filled with the red wine, he pushed the pictures into alcoholic liquid.

Ferin’s left hand dripped red as he watched as the pictures slowly became permanently stained with the wine. After he was satisfied, he left the church to salvage the cabinets of the nearly destroyed soldiers’ quarters for some can of beans for him to eat for dinner.

The giant clock tower in the center of Deling had just moved its massive iron hand to EIGHT when the train carrying the SeeDs had made its stop. All but Zell was wide awake. Rinoa shook his shoulders lightly to wake him, and the party made their way out of the train.

As always, the city that controlled the country of Galbadia was basically a large mass of pedestrians. Every type of profession – lawyers, engineers, chefs, businessmen, priests and rabbis – you could think of walked the busy streets of Deling. The city was the one place where people of all kinds could come together to live in relative peace and unlikely prosperity. It was a known fact that even the most successful of people will struggle financially for the rest of their lives in Deling. And by the time their well established in Deling, they’ll be caught up in too much financial errors to move out. Even the President of Galbadia, who resides within Deling, has financial debts to pay.

Squall couldn’t perceive as to why anyone would want to come to Deling if they knew that Deling would just catch them in a giant loop.

Maybe it was just human determination that had so many people immigrating into Deling. People will probably say ‘Well, I’LL make it no matter what happens. I’ll get through, and no one can stop me!’, and that’s probably their biggest mistake. Stubbornness can prove many times to be Humanity’s biggest downfall.

Squall instructed the others to stick together as they made their way through the large mass of pedestrians, and just as cautious crossing the busy Deling streets. They made good use of the bus system, and reached the car rental station within a little under a half hour.

After paying the over priced fee of three thousand Gil, the four climbed into their car and drove southward towards the old missile site. En route, Rinoa contacted the Deling Police Department, to make their way to the missile site within the hour. They did not want the officers’ lives to be jeopardized in the coming battle.

They arrived at the missile site over an hour later, with the light of moon reflecting over them, making a cooling atmosphere, a welcomed change from the muggy air of the afternoon. They parked the car behind a hill, so as to not alert Ferin to their presence. They left the car quietly and quickly, so they wouldn’t make more noise than was they needed. Squall quickly assigned the squad behaviors: Squall and Zell would be in the front and be the main offensive fighters, while Rinoa and Alladra would back up the rear, giving them whatever support was required.

Alladra prayed that it wouldn’t have to come to that.

“Weapons ready?” Squall asked as they crouched down, preparing to move into the ruins silently but swiftly. He rolled his eyes when he realized what he had said: he was the only one with a real weapon, the revolver modeled gunblade. Zell had always just relied on his fists, and Rinoa and Alladra used Magic and Para-magic respectively.

He was too used to regulations, too much of a commander.

“Let’s get going guys” Squall said with a smirk. The others got less tense when he said it.

When they entered the ruins, with them barely making a sound, they were all expecting a trap. They had expected a string of bullets and marathon of explosions being let off all around them. They had expected the sound of boots hitting the desert sand as Ferin charged them, buster sword in hand.

But there was none of that. There was no traps, no land mines, no explosions, no flying shrapnel, none of it. There was only an eerie silence. Squall looked around the ruins; the silence was making him uneasy. It reminded him of one of his later missions, where guerrilla fighters ambushed him and his squad after moments of silence.

Squall gave it another moment: he was sure that Ferin would reveal himself. He was certain of it. There was not a single moment of doubt in his mind. In just a few more moments, the Wolf would reveal his trap.

Ferin, however, never did reveal himself then. Squall quickly realized that traps were not who Ferin was. He was a fighter, not a manipulator. He would show himself when they most expected it.

Or they would find him. One way or the other, but it wouldn’t start in the shadows.

“Loosen up guys. We’re goanna find him, not the other way around.” Everyone straightened up, and Zell sighed. Zell never was one to be all stealthy and such, and when he would it would get him all nervous. “Let’s head into that church” Squall ordered, referring to a nearly destroyed church that seemed all alone in the courtyard.

“It’s so like him” Alladra muttered, referring to all the burial mounds that was scattered throughout the base. Every single corpse that didn’t get burned into atoms was buried by Ferin’s own hands. After making that mental note to herself, Alladra quickened her pace and followed the others into the church.

“Look at this guys!” Alladra heard Zell announce to the party when she got into the church. Squall promptly went over to Zell and slapped him across the head, telling him to shut up. After shaking his head like a dog caught in a rain storm, he raised what he was hollering about. “Photos!” Alladra gave Zell a confused look, not exactly sure what he was getting at. “They look soldiers, by their uniforms and the whole patriotic banner behind them.”

“Let me see that” Rinoa said ripping the photograph from Zell’s hand. “He’s right. It’s pretty new too, like it was just printed.” She flipped the picture over to see if the date verified it. “Yup, it was just printed a couple of weeks ago.”

“So” Alladra said softly “He made a shrine to soldiers.”

“Any reason why?” Squall questioned.

“Not really. He always looked down on regular soldiers, saying how they so blindly follow a leader one minute, and a revolutionary the next. He says soldiers can’t be trusted.”

“Doesn’t explain why he made a shrine to them though” Squall noted as he sat on the wooden floor. He stared back at the photo-filled pews, somewhat in awe of the dedication of it. It was simple, just a bunch of photos stacked side by side each other on pews. But to Squall, and maybe even Ferin, it had a much deeper meaning.

To Squall, it almost looked like as if the photos were staring at the cross, the way they were placed. And perhaps even more importantly, perhaps Ferin was trying to tell himself that there was peace after death.

It didn’t fit though. Why would Ferin, a fighter who seems so intent on bringing death, know that there was peace after death? If there was even peace after death? Squall shrugged it off, saying to himself that it wasn’t the right answer.

Then Squall began to hear voices. It was Ferin! He was close, but he wasn’t getting any closer or further away.

“Quiet!” Squall whispered, and everyone got lower.

They stayed crouched for about a minute before they heard Ferin speak again. It was at the same volume as before – Ferin hadn’t moved an inch. Even more importantly, he was talking to somebody.

“So” Ferin said with a chuckle “Mr. Leonhart has sent another SeeD to bring me to his prison?”

The man whom Ferin was speaking too chuckled. “Don’t you remember Brother?” Ferin didn’t respond. Either he didn’t know what the Stranger meant, or he knew and it was something horrible. “Of the chasm? Remember of the tasks they gave us? Remember how we bonded -”

“Leave this place, stranger” Ferin interjected coldly.

The stranger didn’t respond to Ferin. The two just remained quiet for a long period of time, to Squall it almost seemed like an infinite period of time. Then there was the sound of Ferin drawing his buster sword.

“There are more like us brother, tortured by those whom trust they had freely given. They were manipulated, tortured, caught in a game of politics and power. Some of them like us brother, are free but lost. Others are still trapped, their body asleep but their minds awake. Both are living weapons, like you and me brother, and they don’t know where to go, who to turn to.”

“And are you saying you can give them guidance, brother, and if so what makes you so different than everyone us that you can offer them guidance?”

The stranger chuckled. “Notice that I said like ‘us’, not like ‘you’. I too am lost, freed from the abyss but not knowing who to turn to for the answers that I seek. But…there is someone who can help us.


“The author” the Stranger said proudly.

“The author?” Ferin said, obviously confused by the title.

“Yes brother, the author. He, the one who created the great art of destruction, He, the one who wrote the book of life and death, doom and enlightenment. He is the one who we seek.”

“If you mean God, you won’t find him here.”

“God?” the Stranger chuckled. “We don’t seek him. We seek the author. He is going to decide everything now, for he was part of the past.”

“We were all part of the past at one point.”

“True…but he is the past…he decided everything then, and he wants to decide everything now. But, he needs the reads of his works to decide everything now, and we need the writer of those works to come.”

“I don’t need anyone, stranger.”

“But he needs you.”

“Then he is weak.”

“He created the Thing.” There was only silence then…then there were the sounds of someone breathing heavily, Ferin was breathing heavily. The Thing obviously made him uneasy.

“The he is a monster” Ferin said at last. “And I will NOT help a monster!”

“You’ve already did, brother.”

“How!” was Ferin’s immediate reaction.

“By killing the Boss, by killing the one who started GAIA, by killing the one that made us and all your brothers living weapons, you’ve helped free your brothers.”

“How many of us are there?”


“Thirteen…what a coincidence” Ferin chuckled.

“Superstitious, are we brother?”

“No, far from it.” Ferin paused, chuckling and laughing at himself. For one reason or another, there being thirteen people caught in this Project GAIA, whatever it was, made him laugh. “Who is the author?”

“He wrote the Black Book.”

“No, his name!” Ferin exclaimed, almost shouting. “What is his name?”


“Varloth. His son?”

“Yes, His son.”

“You rely on an old myth. You don’t even know if Varloth and His father even existed.”

“And yet the old predictions are coming to pass. ‘And a Dictator from the Future would be slain by Warriors of the Past, Bounded by Love and fellowship.’”

“You think Ultimecia was -”


“And Squall and the Six were -”

The Stranger chuckled. “Precisely.” There was a long pause as Ferin drew back his blade. “Will you meet with us again brother?”

“After Commander Leonhart leaves my home.”

“You’re certain he is here brother?”

“Him and others…”

Squall’s heart started to beat faster. ‘How did Ferin know we were here? Oh come on, that’s a stupid question! How could he NOT know, with us talking openly in the church and separating…Damn it, I got too careless. Damnit!’ “Guys, get down!” Squall whispered, but before they could say anything Ferin’s began to echo louder and louder off the church wall.” Guys, forget a surprise attack. We’ll just have to charge at him when he comes through the other side.”

“Squall, why did you bring Alladra if not to-”

“Damnit Rinoa there’s no time for that!” Alladra wiped a tear from her eye, knowing what Squall said was truth. Ferin wasn’t going to go down without a fight, that’s the way he’s always been. Always a fighter, just like his father. Always trying to be stronger than everyone else, always trying to win, and most importantly, doing what he thought was right, even when everyone else was against it. Her stomach flipped over, almost making her puke: she didn’t want to fight him.

When Ferin finally came through the front door of the church, for whatever reason ignoring the open wall, everyone was in formation, Squall and Zell up front, Rinoa and Alladra in back.

“Hello Commander” Ferin grinned devilishly as he brought his buster sword to a fighting position. “I didn’t expect for you to come after a Judge.”

“You’re no Judge Ferin” Squall responded quickly.

“Zell is here too. I remember fondly of how he always got in trouble with that H-Board of his, gliding with it on campus like some crazy teenager. How did he serve you Commander?”

“Good enough, Ferin.”

“That is all that is needed then.” Ferin paused, for whatever reason. “Is she here?”

“I am here” Ferin’s old lover replied.

“So…you’ve…come to hunt me? Like as if I never once cared for you?”

“It’s not like that!” Alladra reasoned.

“Don’t lie to me!”

There was only a silence then. Neither had the capability to talk much right then. Ferin took a deep breath, preparing for the battle.

“Let’s get this over with Ferin” Squall said at last.


That was the signal, it was time to begin. Zell darted towards the Wolf at an incredible speed, his fists glowing a golden yellow due to the velocity. Ferin never knew the martial artists to move so quickly, and when Zell slammed his fist into Ferin’s chest, the Wolf flew out of the church’s double doors, sending the doors off their hinges.

With a flip, Ferin was on his feet. Zell struck at him again, but Ferin was ready. Ferin moved his massive sword to block the blow, and swung it at Zell, but the energetic fighter was too quick for such a big weapon, ducking under it,

Realizing that the buster sword was too slow for Zell, Ferin leaped backwards to give him some breathing room, sent the buster sword into the ground, and drew his katana. Gunshots echoed into the air as Squall exited the church. Ferin swiped at the bullets, sending them away from him. A fireball came flying at him immediately afterwards, and Ferin rolled out of the way long before it came.

Ferin tumbled forwards, a sudden result of Zell kicking him in the back; Ferin turned to face the martial artists, and blocked another strike with his katana. A series of punches and kicks quickly followed, and Ferin was just as quick to block them before he swiped at Zell. The blonde ducked under the swipe, and rolled out of the way of a stab.

Ferin would have struck Zell down if he didn’t sense Squall coming to his friend’s rescue. Ferin turned to face the new opponent, letting their blades strike at each other. Ferin pushed the Commander out of the way to horizontally strike at him, but Squall was just as fast, parrying his gunblade with the katana.

“Quite the fighter” Ferin complimented with a grin. But Squall was all business.

“What is GAIA?”

“He never told you?” Ferin questioned as he elbowed Squall in the face.

“What is it?” Squall demanded as he ducked under a slash and aimed the gunblade.

Before answering the demand, Ferin rolled under the shots, sliding his blade with Squall’s. “Genetically Altered Intellectual Assault!” the Wolf answered between strikes.

“Super soldiers?”

Ferin’s grin gave a resounding yes, but Squall didn’t have enough time to think before Ferin leaped towards the Commander, intent on giving a lethal blow. Squall sidestepped out of the way in time, and countered another strike a second later.

A lightning bolt nearly hit Ferin’s shoulders, and turned to see who the caster was. The Sorceress’ hands glowed a bright orange, indicating a fireball was coming up to support the bolt. The fireball came at Ferin at a resounding speed, and Ferin never rolled or jumped out of the way. Rather he pointed his katana as if to pierce the giant ball of fire, and in response the fireball was split into two, going around the Wolf.

Ferin griped the katana with both of his gloved hands as he leaped towards the sorceress, landing with a flip. He swung at her, but the Sorceress dodged under the blade. She rolled out of a stab, and threw a storm of winds at Ferin, sending him flying onto the Church’s roof.

When Ferin got to his feet, Squall was already charging at him. He sidestepped the slash, countering it with his own, which Squall equally blocked. Ferin broke the quarry, leaping backwards not allowing Zell his much wanted surprise assault.

Knowing that the roof could not support their weight, Ferin leaped over the edge, landed on his feet, and prepared for the Lion’s assault. Zell and Squall landed on each of Ferin’s opposite side, slowly closing the gap as they approached him. They believed him trapped.

They would believe wrong.

Ferin flipped his katana over; its edge pointed towards the desert ground, and sent it downward. A result was a shockwave that sent the two flying. Ferin took advantage of the situation to finish off Zell, leaping towards the martial artist as he lay there dazed. He sent the katana into the ground, but it was all a clever trick on Zell’s part. He rolled out of the way, and the katana was too deep in the soil to be pulled out with ease in time to block Zell’s assault.

Ferin was sent flying a few feet by a punch in the ribs, but he quickly landed on his feet to block with his arms a few strikes from the martial artist. Zell attempted a roundhouse kick, in an attempt to knock out the Wolf, but he grabbed Zell’s foot, and twisted it sending him spiraling to the ground. Ferin got atop of Zell and pummeled him with four punches to the head, creating a nasty bruise and broken nose. Ferin would of landed a fifth if Squall hadn’t tackled him.

Ferin kicked the Commander off after dodging a punch. When he realized Squall was weaponless, he leaped for a strike, but a group of magic missiles from Alladra would prove otherwise, sending Ferin flying. He landed right next to his trusty buster sword, so one could look at Alladra’s action with a different point of view.

Regardless, Ferin got right up and drew his buster sword, flipping it twice over to face the direction another pair of missiles were charging at him. Ferin swung his sword like one would a baseball bat sending them flying right towards his old lover. But Alladra knew this game, and casted a protective shell over her, absorbing the missiles.

Alladra brought her hands over her head as a boxer would, expecting a series of strikes from Ferin. But he never went for her, instead charging right for Squall, gunblade in hand. Ferin slashed downward with the blade but fell short, and Squall took advantage of the recovery time to leap towards Ferin, gunblade over his head.

But Ferin’s recovered faster than Squall predicted, and blocked the strike with ease. Squall kicked Ferin in the stomach, sending him back, and blasted away. Ferin quickly swung at the bullets, sending them away from him harmlessly.

There was a silence in the air, as neither warriors chose to not do any actions. Rather, they just stared at each other, waiting for the other to make the first move. Ferin moved the buster sword’s handle over his shoulder so it would be easier for him to deflect another strike, and Squall just kept the gunblade pointed at his opponent.

Ferin never expected what would occur next, however: Squall’s gunblade began to glow an eerie glow, and next thing Ferin knew Squall was slashing at him at speeds that were inhuman like.

He knew what it was…renzokuken, the result of ten years of duels in the harshest of environment and years of training. It was Squall’s ultimate technique, and it was this very assault that downed Ultimecia all those years in the future.

The gunblade slashed across Ferin’s chest, but it caused no physical wounds: rather it was wounds of the spirit. Again and again Ferin was slashed at, and again and again Ferin felt weaker and weaker. Finally, Squall leaped into the air, gunblade glowing, and struck down at Ferin. Ferin raised his buster sword in defense, to block the assault, and block it did. The gunblade cleaved the massive weapon in half. When the ruin returned to darkness again, Ferin was holding only a shattered piece of metal, a useless weapon.

And when Ferin laid eyes on his prized weapon, he fell to his knees, his eyes staring at the Commander, filled with sorrow. A warrior’s weapon is their lives, and when their weapon is destroyed, in a way they are equally destroyed.

And then, Ferin collapsed to the ground.

Chapter Four

B1: He’s been captured.

B2: You couldn’t have foreseen it.

B3: You gain some, you lose some Siegfred. We have to move on.

B1: It was MY fault Vargos. I choose to not stay with him -

B2: At HIS request.

B1: Nevertheless, I should have stayed.

B3: There are others –

B1: We’re going.

B2: What of Red?

B1: Don’t worry Yuri: he isn’t going anywhere. Meet me at the old missile site…

B2 and B3: Understood.

<End Caller Log>

C1: This is a SeeD matter sir. In no way does it concern the nation of Galbadia whatsoever.

C2: You enlisted the aid of the Galabdian Police, Commander. Thus, the individual in question is to be trialed in our court.

C1: If I recall Sir, the Garden-Nation Agreement that was established nine years ago –

C2: Became invalid with the death of Mr. and Mrs. Kramer, the original founders of the SeeD program. Good Night Commander.

<End Caller Log>

Ferin awoke from the dream, his prison bed (which was really just a thin suspended mattress) wet with sweat. He was breathing hard, his heart racing anxiously,

He swore under his breath as he tumbled to the jail cell’s sink, the mirror hanging over it filled with smudges and dirt. The Galbadian Government obviously didn’t care for the shape of the prisoner’s quarters – then again, who would? The broken tiles, the filthy windows bringing little light into the dark-as-night rooms, more likely than not they were all part of some type of strategy to mentally break down the hundreds of rapists and serial killers that called prison home.

Ferin turned on the sink, letting the water fill the sink, the Wolf staring into the stained window. His eyes were a scarlet red, half a dozen grayed circles under the red orbs. Ferin griped his hands on the edge of the sink, swallowing hard as he looked at his reflection.

“This is the end then” the would-be Judge noted to himself.

“Perhaps you can do something to make up for your crimes then” the familiar Commander’s voice filled the small room.

“What would the Lion require of the Wolf then?”

“I wish to know more of this project GAIA you were supposedly a part of.”


“What?” Squall raised his eyebrow out of confusion.

“4-8-15-16-23-42” Ferin repeated, turning his head to Squall. “Enter the code into Cid’s computer. It will tell you everything you need to know.”

“Cid was not involved.”

“One can be wrong.”

Squall didn’t say anything to Ferin after that. He just turned and left. But the look in Squall’s eyes told Ferin everything he needed to know.

Squall was as stubborn as an ass.

Ferin didn’t say anything for a long time after that. He didn’t even move for a long time after that. He just stood there, his naked chest against the cold iron bars, staring at the ruined wall. It was a few hours later when Ferin final said something. “Some people just never accept things” Ferin muttered to himself as he headed for his ‘bed’ to rest before the next day’s trial.

“All too true brother” another familiar voice filled the room, but one much more reassuring. Ferin turned his gaze to lay his eyes on the Stranger from two days earlier, and beside him were two new individuals. On the Stranger’s left was a giant of a man, filled with muscles. His brown hair was cut short and spiked up using a somewhat excessive amount of hair gel, and his sleeve-less leather jacket just added to his brute like appearance.

If the brute could be called a bull, to his right was a snake. He wore a simple T-shirt with black cargo jeans. To his side were two modified gunblades, more of a gun than blade. His white hair was uncut, flowing half way down his back like waves against the beach shore.

The Stranger’s appearance didn’t change much from their meeting at the missile site two days prior: black hair long but not nearly as the snake’s, a brown trench coat hiding his t-shirt and jeans.

“The brute here is Vargos, the one with the gunblades is Yuri, and I am Siegfred.” Ferin nodded in agreement, walking towards the cell bars. “You seem to be in quite a predicament.”

“How did you get in here?” Ferin questioned, wanting to get the thought out of his mind. The D-Prison was the infamous political prison of Galbadia, (thus from that simple fact, his capture must of caused some type of political problem, although with whom was anyone’s guess) and so it was highly secured. How these three men managed to penetrate the prison’s defenses unscathed –and most likely unseen- was probably the newest wonder of the world.

“Para-Magic has its uses” Yuri chuckled, raising his hand covered in a shadow-like substance.

“I didn’t think you three the type to use Para-Magic.”

“And we didn’t think you to get locked up so easily” the brute Vargos countered, grinning thinking himself quite clever at the remark. But a scowl from Ferin proved otherwise.

“Shall you be coming with us?” Siegfred asked the imprisoned Wolf, hoping to leave with or without him before a prison guard would show. The three were powerful SeeDs that much was true, but even Squall and his friends had difficulty escaping from the D-Prison that many years ago.

“Do I have a choice?”

“It would seem no, but you actually have two” Yuri suggested. “One, you can stay here and die, or two, come with us and be wanted as a fugitive, a hated man, a criminal. And yet, you will have a chance to find out what you really need.”

“Vengeance?” Ferin suggested, not knowing the right answer anymore.

“That, or something else” Yuri continued. “That is up to you.”

“Will you be coming or not brother?” Siegfred interjected, trying to end the conversation as quickly as possible. “We don’t have much time to be idle here. I don’t want to be imprisoned as you are now.”

“I’m coming. But I need a weapon…and some clothes.” Siegfred nodded to Vargos, who in response turned a corner, going out of Ferin’s limited sight, opened a gym bag by the sounds of it, and returned with a long, thin item wrapped in cloth. It was small enough for the brute to slip through the jail cell bars.

Ferin unwrapped it quickly, a sense of enthusiasm rushing over him. He had a good idea what it was, and a fear inside of him that he would never be able to hold something like it again was perhaps worse than that of death. His eyes glowed when the poorly wrapped gift touched his skin.

The cloth wrapping the blade fell to the cold floor in shreds. Ferin raised the blade, admiring its artistic beauty. The blade itself was a silvery color, while its inner core was a light purple. It began at the hilt with half the width of Ferin’s old buster sword, but quickly thinned to being somewhat bigger of a standard blade. The hilt was perhaps what captured Ferin’s eyes most of all: it was shaped like that of an angel’s wings, and the angel’s hands clasped around the blade, giving it the appearance that the blade was a light of energy emerging from the angel. The hilt was a mixture of a light blue and black metals.

“Not nearly as large as you’re buster sword” Siegfred commented as Ferin observed the blade “but I think you will get used to its weight quickly enough.”

“It’s a wonderful feeling holding a weapon after being so certain that you would never hold it again. It’s a better feeling than birth” Ferin noted, perhaps so caught in the blade’s wonder that he didn’t realize there were others there. Or perhaps he just didn’t care.

“Or a first kiss?” Yuri joked, but Ferin didn’t laugh.

“Not as much. Close though.” Ferin responded plainly, still admiring the blade.

“A blade of such beauty needs a name” Siegfred reminded the Wolf.

“Edomfray” Ferin said, almost as if he had been waiting to say the word for his entire life.

“Edomfray? Freedom?” Vargos asked curiously, knowing some Latin.

Ferin nodded. “This blade will grant me freedom when Irvine and Seifer’s blood drips from its edge. I will finally be free of this burden…” When Ferin turned his back to wander the room, admiring the blade, Yuri and Vargos gave Siegfred a ‘What-are-you-doing?’ stare, but Siegfred’s look equally assured them.

“We need to get going Ferin” Siegfred reminded him, and when the last words were spoken, the jail bars opened up, and Yuri had in his hands Ferin’s old trench coat, as well as a pair of jeans and socks slipped in between his fingers.

“You look like we’ll have to fight” Ferin noticed. “Why not use the Para-magic that you used to get in?”

“We can only do so much, Wolf. Our Guardian Forces depleted much of their energy when we used the spells. We’ll just have to fight our way out.”

Ferin didn’t respond to the answer. He just simply put his trench coat over his bare form and slipped on a pair of boots from a nearby locker. “Are we near?” Ferin asked, referring to the top exit of the prison.

“Yes” Yuri answered. “Two floors away.”

“That’s all for the good news, right?”

The three nodded, and when Ferin showed that he was ready to leave, they headed for the elevator, and then the fun would begin.

This is how it feels to be Ferin the Wolf:

You remembered everything in that moment you gripped your calloused hands around that magnificent blade, Edomfray. The wings, the angel, the glow of it, every aspect of the blade reminded you of your shady past, of everything that brought you to this moment.

You remember your life in Deling as a child, of ten years as a servant to that brute, that poor excuse of a man, blaming everything on the weaker ones, using Darwinism as a horrible excuse to make himself not the cause of his poor state.

That man, so weak, so attached to physical objects that gave him so little pleasure at the cost of so much. You knew even then, as a child, that the man was a weak minded fool, only caring for himself. The fact that he took you in from a mother who couldn’t afford you didn’t erase the that fact that it was because of him that you had to beg on the streets for just a few measly Gil so that he could inject some substance into his body, or drink some horrible smelling drink. And what did YOU get for the effort?

A savage beating nearly every time.

But, it was when you were beaten mercilessly that the Wolf began to claw at you, that it began to speak to you, to mend your soul and spirit, to train you, to make you the Wolf when the time would come.

When that man slammed his fist at your chin, the Wolf said “You are stronger than he is Ferin. Hold on! Hold to yourself! Find your strength!”

When the man would throw a shattered beer bottle at you, the Wolf would say: “Resist the urge; you will know when to attack. That is what it means to be a Wolf, Ferin. Not to charge in alone and mindlessly, but together and with purpose.”

When you would be kicked mercilessly, the Wolf implored to you. “Have you failed?”


“Who are you?”

“I am the Wolf”

“And what does the Wolf do?”

“He learns when to strike back at his oppressors, together with his brothers as a pack.”

“Good pup, you’re learning quickly.”

And learn you did: for ten years you slowly learned how to survive in a harsh world, learned what it meant to be a wolf. You quickly formed a pack with other pups, and you survived the harsh streets of Deling by day, and endured countless strikes by your ‘father’ by night. You and your pack would strike at other packs, surrounding them, taking from them what you’re pack needed to survive.

You remember well when you ran from that poor excuse of a father, you and your pack. You left Deling far behind, nearly erasing it from your thoughts, and choose a destination to settle your dark lives, and to create golden ones of opportunity and success.

You choose Balamb, and as a pack you traveled slowly, but with purpose. You would board trains when needed, stole from small villagers when the need arose itself. You did whatever it took to make it to your destination.

And when you laid eyes on that silver structure, a great warmth filled your heart. The Wolf told you that your ultimate test was to begin.

That is what it is like to be Ferin the Wolf, a man who even as a child was oppressed.

But there is more to tell, and now you leave the past, for the present.

The Wolf speaks to the Man. Prepare yourself, Wolf. You have found a pack. Now you must strike.

“Yes” you say, agreeing with your friend.

Become one with the Pack.

“I will.”

Strike with the Pack.

“No other way.”

Don’t be a hero, Wolf, or you will be dead.

“There are no heroes in battle. Only victors.”

The elevator doors slam open, a guard yells something at you, and more come to his call.

They too are a pack. Whose is stronger?


Prove it. Stay as one, strike as one, be one! Go Wolf!

You obey your old friend, sending Edomfray into the ground, forcing a wave of energy to split the opposing Pack apart. Their yells are silenced by gunfire by one of your pack-members, the yells of another and the encouragement of a third.

More are coming Wolf. What now?

“One must know when to retreat.”

You direct the pack up a flight of stairs, and when the last one crosses it you summon a wall of fire to protect them, preventing more packs from chasing you down. But that does not prevent them from being attacked on the floor above, and you realize that when an explosion from a set of magical missiles sends a few guard flying down the chasm.


You obey, leaping to aid your pack, sending Edomfray into a fool’s gut, and with your free hand throwing another down the chasm. A brother says something to you, laying his warm hand on your shoulder. You acknowledge the warm gesture, and follow him up another flight of stairs, towards the dessert sky.

Many more packs are in pursuit, not wanting you to escape. They want you dead. But, you have faced far too many packs before to be allowed to be downed now. You must escape this soaring prison.
The prison is suspended, practically a giant drill dug into the desert earth. The great desert wind almost tears at you’re flesh; they make your skin crawl. They make you want to leap off the very structure to your death just to escape the pain.

A brother says ‘It was nearer to the ground before!’ You agree with him, believing him. Trust is like life or death in a pack – if you don’t trust your pack, how can you trust yourself?

Decide quickly what to do. There isn’t much time.

You scan the surrounding area quickly, wishing to find something…anything to bring you to solid ground. Then you realize a horrible truth.

There’s nothing. There’s no way down, except by some mechanism inside the prison. And there is no turning back now. Now, you can only move onward.

You know what you must do. It sounds insane, it sounds suicidal, it sounds like the end, but it’s the only path besides certain death.

You jump.