The Sorceress' Legacy Chapter 1
Seifer Almasy walked up to the front gate silently, with Fujin an Raijin in tow, as always. He smiled slightly as he gazed up and down the structure, and thought "Im home, finally. I just hope they will take me back."
"It's good to be back, Ya know. Wonder what they will say?" Raijin's comment almost mirrored Seifers thoughts.
"AGREE." Fujin added.
As they walked through Balamb Garden's hallways to a conference room on the second floor, they were given looks of disbelief, while comments about how Cid and Squall had lost their minds followed in their wake
They entered the small waiting room, adjacent to the meeting room and took a seat as the SeeD on secretary duty instructed. Then, they waited.
Squall Leonheart looked around the oval shaped table he now stood at, wondering what each individual seated there would say when he told them what he wanted to do, and how they would try to stop him. He looked at each member of the newly formed SeeD council, his personal cabinet as commander of SeeD, and tried to size up what they would say. To his left at the table was Xu, level headed and logical, she was the senior person in SeeD and had excellent leadership skills. Formerly Headmaster (soon to be Gardenmaster) Cid's assistant and right hand. She would be reasonable and support him, though hesitantly. She had the utmost confidence in Squall and his leadership.
Next to her, was Quistis, Instructor and veteran SeeD. She had played a major role in the defeat of Ultimecia and had a reputation for being reasonable and straight forward. She hated evil, though, and those who wrought it, so it was possible that she could wind up his biggest opponent.
To his right, was Zell, another member of the party that destroyed Ultimeca. He had played a major role in her defeat as a member of the party who carried out the attack. A passionate and emotional fighter, he was known for feeling before thinking, and talking with his fists, both of which have landed him in trouble before. Though those same fists have saved his own life and the lives of those around him several times. He hated evil and all that was wrong in the world, and would be hard to convince that a person could change. He would be the most vocal opponent to Squalls proposal, though he would have little factual argument, and could be reasonable.
To the far right, next to Zell, was the light-hearted, devoted, and almost always happy Selphie, she would be a tough one to please with this, but he felt confident that the provisions in this proposal would satisfy her. She was still upset about Trabia, however, and may be a formidable opponent. She had also played a major supporting roll in the battle against Ultimecia.
"OK, everyone is here, let's get started," he looked around the room again. "There is an important matter before the council."
Selphie jumped up, "Irvy and Rinoa being put on the council!"
"No, we went through that," Xu started before Squall could respond, "First off, Rinoa and Irvine are not full SeeD's, and second, we can't have members of this council being influenced by other members, and being that Rinoa and Squall are romantically involved, as are you and Kinneas, the risk is too great-
"Irvy couldn't influence my thinking." She glared, "I'm not that weak minded."
"I wasn't worried about that, more the other way around." Squall countered, "I know Rinoa has that effect on me from time to time."
"Oh, yeah, I guess your right," She chuckled. "You men are so easily manipulated."
"Hey!" Zell jumped up, "watch it, those two may be, but I don't let any girl get me."
"Oh really," this was Quistis, "What about the girl from the library, she has you reading her romance novels, doesn't she? For tips on how to be more romantic, no less."
"I DO NOT!!"
"That's enough. we have more important matters at hand." Squall said, "you have a re-admittance request in the folder I gave each of you, it comes from Seifer, Fujin, and Raijin. The were accompanied by a letter from Gardenmaster Cid, instructing me to admit them, as per the specifications and requirements agreed upon by this council. I fully agree and give my support to this matter.
The others in the room stared in disbelief at him, unable to speak. Zell was the first to find his voice. Are you both mad! he yelled as he pounded his fist into the table. You would just let everything Seifer did slide, and let that, that monster back in here! You hated him! You should kill him if he tries to get near this place!
Zell, I assure you, I thought this through. Squall looked around the room, catching each persons eye, and that was my first reaction, but, if we hold Seifer responsible, we have to condemn Rinoa and Matron as well, for all three did evil under the control of Ultimecia. I dont propose just letting him waltz back in here to cause trouble either.
You have the nerve to group that, that thing with Matron and Rinoa? Quistis stood, pointing an accusing finger. I agree with Zell, you are out of your mind.
Quistis, Xu started before anyone else could object. He is right to a point. Seifer was being controlled by Ultimecia.
What? Zell jumped in again, I distinctly remember him talking about his romantic dream. Sounds pretty voluntary to me.
That was only because the sorceress was planting those dreams in his head from the time he was a boy. Squall finally responded. Which means he was brain-washed into thinking thats what he wanted.
Maybe, but he even after Adel was freed, and Ultimecia had left him alone, he still tried to kill us, and then he practically fed Rinoa to that beast of a sorceress as a, oh what did he call himself, a young revolutionary. Selphie commented.
Calm down, Xu came to Squalls rescue. At least hear out his proposal on what to do with Seifer when he does get re-admitted. After all, Cid told us to let him back, not asked us. The only thing we have to decide is what he has to do to get back in.
Squall waited for the grumbles to die off before he continued. As you know, Seifer aided the Sorceress Edea in destroying Trabia Garden. Matron will be leaving next week to assist in the rebuilding of Trabia, and I think that it would be fitting for Seifer and his posse to join her. They broke it, they can fix it as far as Im concerned. He would not be re-admitted until after the repairs are complete.
The group was silent for several minutes before Selphie spoke. I guess we can give him another chance, and we would be making him fix Trabia Garden.
Ok, one more chance, but if he blows it, he is gone. Quistis sat back with her arms crossed.
Squall pushed the call button in the small com panel in front of him. Send them in please. he said to his secretary in the office out front.
Seifer walked into the room with his posse, though the council could tell that the shell of a man who stood before them was not the same man who had left Garden for Timber, and later fought them as the sorceress' knight. His clothes were in tatters, his hair ruffled, and his unshaven face looked like he hadn't slept in weeks.
"I...." He paused, unsure of what to say, "I just want to thank you for giving me this chance to come before you and......try to make up for what I've done. Whatever you decide, it is fine with me, I just don't want to fight anymore. Thank you." He bowed his head slightly and heaved a sigh.
"Yeah, me and Fujin agree, its up to you." Raijin agreed as Fujin remained silent.
Squall stood and addressed them, "Seifer, the pain and misery you caused will leave scars on all of us for some time to come, however, we feel that your actions were not entirely of your own. It is therefore the decision of this body, that you will be reinstated just as you left, and that before this is finalized, you will accompany Edea Kramer to Trabia Garden to help with its reconstruction. Since you had a hand in destroying it, you can lend a hand repairing it. You are not to return until the reconstruction is complete. Then and only then, will we allow you to attend this school." He sad back down, "That is all"
"I thank you for this opportunity to repair the damage I have done. I will not let you down." Seifer bowed politely before he spun on his heal and walked out the door with his posse close behind.
"Now, about Irvy being on the council," Selphie began as everyone else groaned and fled the room.
Seifer walked down the hallway's of Balamb Garden, ignoring the stares of those around him. He was looking for someone. Someone who he owed more than a simple apology; someone he hoped could find it in her heart to forgive him.
He walked into the Quad, and saw her, standing with Selphie and Irvine, looking over the repairs that had been made to the floor there. He had hurt Rinoa more than he could know, caused her so much pain, he could scarcely bring himself to her like this, to think of what he'd done. He neared them without being noticed, and he over heard Selphie telling Rinoa about the SeeD council meeting, and how Seifer had been re-admitted into Garden. Ignoring him, Selphie turned and left, while Irvine, apparently aware of Seifer's presence, hung back by the new stage that Selphie was trying to build.
"R-....Rinoa?" He walked towards her, "Can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Haven't you had enough sorceress' for one lifetime Seifer?" Irvine quipped.
"This doesn't concern you cowboy," Seifer snapped.
"Please! Irvine, I can handle this," She turned toward Seifer, "What do you want?"
"I just....wanted to apologize for what I've done. I hope that one day you can at least forgive me?"
"Seifer, I understand that you were under Ultimecia's control. I was too, and so was Edea. But I also remember being sacrificed to Adel by you, and your trying to kill me and my friends. I can't easily forget that.....but I will try."
"That is all I ask," He kneeled, "if you ever need, I shall be your Knight. Feel free to call on my any time."
"Seifer, I have a Knight," she said sternly, "and while I will try to forgive, I don't need another one. Especially not one who will do anything I say, even if it is to harm your friends. Squall at least has the gumption to tell me when I'm wrong, and I know he will do anything he needs to protect me, both from any enemies and especially from myself. Now please leave."
Seifer stood and began to walk towards her as she turned to walk away, "But what is a Knight without a sorceress to serve??"
Rinoa turned to face him, an odd red flashing in her eyes. She raised one hand, and held it out, palm facing the would be Knight, "I said leave me!"
A gust of wind came whistling across the open Quad, picking Seifer up and tossing him into some potted bushes along the main wall. Rinoa looked at him, and then at her outstretched hand with disbelief.
"Seifer, I'm sorry, I don't know what made me do that, honest." Shaken by what she had just done, she hesitantly took two steps toward him." Are you OK?"
Seifer just looked at her for a moment, a touch of fear visible in his eyes. He turned and walked wordlessly out of the Quad. Irvine pushed himself off the wall and ran out after him.
"Seifer, " he called, "If I may make a suggestion."
"You may not." Seifer growled as he continued walking, "The last thing I need is advice from some sissy cowboy."
"Whoa, whoa there, just hear me out here, thats all I ask." Seifer stopped and faced Irvine. "You know, what you said in there about a knight needing someone so serve wasn't all that bad, though if you really feel that way about the whole knight thing, you could try a different approach."
"How so?" Seifer snorted, annoyed by Irvine's meddling
"Who said a knight needs to serve a sorceress? You could become a 'people's knight', and defend the weak and poor. Be like the true knights of old, who fought dragons and rescued fair damsels from the clutches of evil vilians. Become a SeeD, and wander the world over, protecting the innocent, and helping the needy. A task worthy of a true knight.
"Yeah.....I like the sound of that," Seifer chuckled, " I am the people's knight, the defender of all that is just and good..." He laughed out loud at the thought, "I sound like the hero from an old adventure novel."
Irvine joined in on the laughter and they began walking, discussing the prospect of Seifer's new calling in life.
Laguna Loire set the Ragnorok down on the beach near Balamb, where Garden was currently parked. He flipped a few switches, and powered down. He had flown from Esthar to visit his son Squall, after making a short stop in Winhill. Now he had to face the task of telling Squall who he was, and why he wasn't there to raise his own son.
"Elle, I can't do this, I can't tell Squall I'm his father after I left him and his mother. How can he accept me as a father when I left his mother to die, and him in an orphanage." He said, looking over toward the copilot seat where Ellone sat, tears forming in the corners of his eyes.
Uncle Laguna, you did what you had to. Ellone answered, trying to console him. If not for you, Adel would still rule Esthar, and she probably would have come for me again, this time killing us all. There was no way for you to know Raine was pregnant or that she wouldnt survive Squalls birth. Besides, I know that she wouldnt want you to blame yourself like that.
Still, how do I tell him that Im is long lost dad? Laguna responded. Im sorry I couldnt tell you sooner, but you were too busy with the whole sorceress thing. That would really work.
"You don't have to tell him, he knows." Elle put her hand to her head, "I wish I could control these powers at night."
"You showed him? Now what, now he definitely thinks that I deserted him. How can I face him now."
"Laguna!" Ellone snapped, "look at you, hero of the sorceress wars, president of the most technologically advanced country in the world, and you are too afraid to talk to your own son. I showed him by accident, but I wonder if it isn't better this way. Because I don't know if you would have told him yourself!" She took a deep breath to calm herself before continuing. She loved Laguna like a father, but sometimes, even she got exasperated with him. Look, all you have to do is talk to him about it and tell him whats on your mind.
Laguna sat quiet, he had very seldom heard her use his name like that, and it stung a bit. "I guess your right," He sighed. "Your right, I am being a bit cowardly about this. Lets go."
Squall and Rinoa met them as they descended the ramp. Squall and Laguna shook hands politely in greeting, and Laguna suggested that he and Squall take a walk along the beach while the ladies got to know each other better. They walked a ways down the beach, before saying anything
"The beach here is lovely," Laguna commented in an effort to break the ice. The walked for another few moments in an uncomfortable silence before Laguna finally spoke. "Elle told me on the way here that she showed you how Raine died. I wish I had known that she was pregnant when I left. I would have been there to take care of you and Elle, but, she didn't tell me. I came home to Winhill to find that Elle was gone and that your mother was dead. They wouldn't even tell me why or how. It hurt a lot, I knew they didn't like me all that much, but to take everything that was important in my life from me? I couldn't believe they could be that cold."
"I'm sorry, I can only imagine what that would be like." Squall said, as they stopped walking. "What was Raine, err, my mother like?"
"She was kind, and caring, always trying to be a help to those around her. If not for that, I'd be dead, that's for sure. She was strong, devoted......" He trailed off, as he fought back tears, "She was allot like you are now. I can almost picture her helping you in your fight against Ultimecia, caring for injured SeeD's, or anything else she could do. I know how she was when Odine took Ellone. She took two of them with a frying pan before they knocked her out. When I came back from a patrol and found her on the floor in the tavern, nearly scared me to death. She came to a short time later, and told us what happened. I knew I had to leave and find Elle, but when I told her of my plans, she insisted on going. If not for the fact that many of the people in town counted on her for various things, she probably would have gone with me to Esthar.
"I thought Adel had Sis kidnapped? You said Odine did it." Squall, seeing how it pained his father to remember his deceased wife, changed the subject.
"Well, Adel didn't order it as much as she approved it when she heard Odine's tales of how much power Elle had. He had a gizmo of some sort that showed Adel that Ellone could have been a powerful sorceress. Adel, wanting someone who had the sorceress powers to control, decided it would be best to let Odine find her, and bring her to Esthar. She just didn't count on me."
He reached in his pocket and fished around a bit, "Not to change the subject, but I have something for you. I had these made in a small silversmith shop just outside of Winhill years ago." He removed his hand and held out two rings. "One was for me, the other for your mother, but I have no need for them now. You on the other hand, might. Rinoa is a good girl, and the two of you make a good couple. Whatever the two of you do, you have my blessing." He placed the rings in Squall's hand, and turned back toward Garden and the Ragnarok. come on, lets get back, you do have a Garden to run after all.
I guess we should Father.
No, no, father makes me feel old, just Laguna, He said as they walked back together laughing.
Squall leaned on the railing of the second floor balcony late that night, staring at the sea. He had one of the rings his father, had given in one hand, turning it over and over deep in thought. He had been pondering the future ever since Laguna had given him the two rings and his blessing. SeeD was created to fight and defeat the sorceress is what Cid had said. True he had meant Ultimecia specifically, but that could be applied to any evil sorceress. He thought. Any sorceress could easily become corrupt and evil, meaning I could easily have to face Rinoa in battle, and maybe even kill her .. The thought of that terrified him. How could he possibly kill her? She was the only one who could break through the shell he had placed around himself after Ellone left. If he married her, like his father had suggested, and like he wanted, he could someday be faced with that decision. If he didnt, he may still be faced with that decision, but maybe it would be easier to bear. He could leave SeeD, but then what? SeeD was all he knew. Zell, Quistis, Selphie, and even Irvine were like family to him and he couldnt leave them.
He was so lost in thought that he hardly heard the door behind him, nor did the footsteps register in his mind. It wasnt until she was standing right beside him that he noticed, more like felt her presence. He turned his head and looked at her face, into her eyes. He noticed how they sparkled in the moon light, as they had so many times before.
He remembered waking up to go on his first SeeD mission to Timber. He was alone and he liked it that way. No one else to care for, no one else to worry about, and no one to worry about him. He thought he was happy, but Rinoa made him realize that he wasnt. He remembered saving her from the Edeas Iguanadons, from falling off Balamb Garden during the battle with Galbadia Garden, from dying in space, from being imprisoned in the Sorceress Memorial, and finally from the clutches of the released Sorceress Adel. He remembered how he felt when she was comatose after receiving her sorceress powers, when he realized he had fallen for her for the first time. There were so many other memories they shared. How could he give it up? How could he not spend the rest of his life with her?
He looked back to the sea for a moment. He couldnt live with out her, but the fact still remained that he was the Commander of all SeeD forces and headmaster of Balamb Garden. Now he knew what Cid must have gone through.
He looked back at Rinoa, who was standing silently by his side, gazing out at the moons reflection on the water. The pale light sparkled in her eyes and added a shine to her black hair, making it almost seem as if it were glowing. She looked angelic, and he knew deep in his heart what he had to do.
He turned and placed a hand on her shoulder, and as she turned to face him, he took his hand from her shoulder and took her hand in it. He took the ring in his other hand and slid it onto her finger. She gazed down at it for a moment, almost not believing what she was seeing. Tears began to form at the corners of her eyes as she looked up and met his gaze. Squall brushed a hand across her cheek as he leaned forward. Rinoa tilted her head up slightly and they met in a kiss.
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